Documentary Lens Lesson Plan for “Just One Big Mess”: The Halifax Explosion, 1917


ACTIVITY 6: Writing a Movie Review



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ACTIVITY 6: Writing a Movie Review


Students may need to watch “Just One Big Mess” again for this activity. You may want to collect samples of movie reviews from the newspaper or from online sources to show to the class as preparation.

  • Distribute copies of the worksheet appended to this lesson: Movie Review Checklist. This sheet should help them write their review of “Just One Big Mess”: The Halifax Explosion, 1917.

Additional Activities

Oral, Written and Visual Literacy


You could use the following for small group or class activities.

  • Choose a scene in the film and write a script to represent more than one point of view, for example, a news reporter’s point of view and the personal story of a survivor.

  • Create a series of tableaux or vignettes to act out.

  • Sketch scenes of Halifax on overhead transparencies and present their work to classmates: for a discussion on the effects of geographic factors on the lifestyle of people in the community.

Worksheet for “Just One Big Mess”

Movie Review Checklist


Name: _______________________________ Date: ___________________________

_____ Have I included all the factual information I need for my review?

- Title of the movie

- Type of movie

- Producer’s and director’s names

_____ Did I consider the main ideas and the main stories in the film as I wrote my summary of the story?

_____ In my summary of the film, have I answered Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?

_____ Have I included my opinion about what is the main theme or lesson in the film?

_____ Have I used evidence from the film to support my opinion about the main theme or lesson?

_____ Did I include examples from the film to support my evaluation?

_____ Does my evaluation of the film focus on the techniques that the filmmaker used to make her story memorable?

_____ Did I make sure that my facts come from reliable sources?

_____ Have I organized my ideas so that readers will be able to follow them?

_____ Have I clearly communicated what I wanted to say?



Additional Notes:



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