Lights, Camera, Analysis: Studying Film as Literature
Deposit Due at Time of Registration:
$99.50 - includes Yellowdig user license - see below
Not everyone loves to read, but even people who do love to read should learn to be wise consumers of film. If you’re looking for an English class in which your student can learn critical thinking and literary analysis by studying movies instead of reading books, you’ve found it!
In this fun and engaging class, students will learn to analyze theme, character, plot, setting, point of view, conflict, mood, tone, irony, foreshadowing, flashback, symbolism, motif, and more; they will also analyze cinematic elements such as lighting, cinematography, sound, editing, etc. The required films represent a variety of genres, themes, and time periods.
Because students who have learned to analyze literary elements through film are usually more comfortable recognizing and evaluating those concepts in literary texts, this course will prepare students for more traditional literature courses in high school and/or college. Furthermore, learning to think critically about film makes students more mindful about—and less easily swayed by—media in general.
During class meetings, students will use guided notetaking as they explore each literary and cinematic element, and they will watch and discuss short films and clips to practice analyzing these elements. Between classes, they will watch and analyze full-length films and participate in lively discussions.
This class does not require formal papers, but students will complete three projects (one of which can be a paper if desired). Ideal for grades 8-12, this class counts as a half-year credit of English and pairs nicely with a semester-long writing class or another semester-long literature class for a full-year credit.
SPECIAL NOTE #1: Tuition includes a user license for Yellowdig. An internal communications platform for students to use within Canvas. Yellowdig promotes deeper discussion and critical thinking skills.
Please view prerequisites and required supplies below.
Date & Time
Yellowdig, an internal communications platform for students to use within Canvas (included in registration)
Students will need to watch the following films. You can find many of these films at your local library, or you can stream them from platforms such as Amazon or Disney Plus. Many of the older films are available for free on platforms like YouTube. Some of the films have been remade, so please check the dates carefully to be sure you watch the right ones.
Cast Away (2000)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
The General (1926)
The Greatest Showman (2017)
How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
I Heard the Bells (2022)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
North by Northwest (1959)
Remember the Titans (2000)
Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)
Dawn Burnette is truly excited to be part of the Excelsior family as an English teacher! Dawn holds a B.A. in English Education/Journalism from Lenoir-Rhyne University and an M.A. in English Education from Georgia State University. She has also earned National Board Certification and gifted endorsement. While teaching English at a public high school for 15 years, Dawn served as English department chair, coached a nationally ranked dance team, and won a few local, state, and national teaching awards. Dawn loves sharing her passion for reading and writing, and she works tirelessly to help students reach their academic potential and to glorify God in all pursuits. Soli Deo Gloria!
When it was time for their children to start school, Dawn and her husband Rod moved the family from an Atlanta suburb to the North Georgia mountains, acquired way too many animals, and spent the next 12 years homeschooling. Their daughter Ansley graduated from Samford University in 2022 and works at Sight & Sound Theater in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and their son Beck graduated from and played collegiate golf at Lee University and the University of Georgia and began playing professional golf in 2024.