The strategy I will be using to teach Dr. Strangelove for my unit on Comedy comes from the New York Times website. In this lesson, students discuss different themes and create film festivals based on a topic. Since Dr. Strangelove is a comedy about the Cold War, the main topic of this exercise will be War. Students are to compose lists of relevant films to be screened in pamphlets and postcards publicizing their events.
In groups, students will organize movies around a common theme: War. This exercise will let the students learn about a variety of films that pertain to this topic. They will research films that relate to War and create pamphlets explaining how these films embody the concept. As the teacher, I will have to provide information on what a film festival is. I will use Cannes and Sundance as examples.
To me, this feels like a fully engaging activity that allows the students to be creative. They will have access to the internet and other resources so that they can research relevant films. The Internet Movie Database is one such resource.
I was also thinking of using a strategy described as Lights, Camera, Action… Music to teach Dr. Strangelove. This strategy allows for students to critique films using sight and sound. They are to compare and contrast images on the screen with the music used in the film score. This would be perfect for Dr. Strangelove considering that the opening title sequence shows an image of impending war–a B-52 bomber being fueled in the air–while romantic lounge music plays. I would be able to ask students why the director chose to use this music to play over this particular image. Why does it or doesn’t it work?
More will be explained on Tuesday. I look forward to hearing suggestions and comments.