I’m sharing my detailed notes on showing It’s a Wonderful Life in class. Once upon a time, I had four days of extra class days around the holidays and I planned to show It’s a Wonderful Life in class–it takes four classes to cover it since it’s a good two hours long and presumably you want to do some kind of discussion.
What happened is, I was working in Kazakhstan where Christmas isn’t celebrated but New Year’s is. So the students had their final exams during Christmastime, but I was teaching on a independent contract and so I was expected to teach X number of class-hours. To fulfill that contract, I was going to have to have classes while students were taking exams. I thought that there was no way students would want to learn anything. So I thought we could watch a long movie and discuss it and discuss American Christmas and have some fun.
In the end, the extra classes got cancelled. However I still have the notes on It’s a Wonderful Life and I thought someone might need to use them. It includes a summary of the film, a list of characters, and notes on the whole film broken down by scene with every scene including running time, elapsed time, brief summary of the action, and key vocabulary or cultural notes students may need.
There are no comprehension questions or discussion questions or anything of that matter. I don’t want anyone confused about what this is. It’s a detailed outline that you can use to select scenes to watch with your class, or help you guide students through the film.
I’d be curious if anyone ever does use this for any purpose at all.Liked this post? Check out some of my books on