Friday, April 1, 2011

Zeezok Publishing

Have you ever thought about using movies to enhance your studies but maybe weren't sure how to go about it? Zeezok Publishing offers an extensive array of "z-guides to the Movies." The z-guide is basically a unit study based on a movie that incorporates ten activities to help not only bring history alive but encourage students to think critically.

You can view a complete list of Zeezok's z-guides to the Movies on their website. We had the opportunity to review the z-guide for Les Miserables. Zeezok specifies the exact movie version that coordinates with their guides. In our case, the guide corresponded with the movie starring Liam Neeson (which we already owned):

The z-guides are sold as either an e-book or CD format and retail for $12.99 each. Each z-guide contains a topic overview, movie synopsis and ten learning activities. The activities in our particular guide included:
  1. Movie Review Questions
  2. Psychological analysis of a character
  3. Random Acts of Kindness (identify acts in movie and then plan your own)
  4. Analyzing Parental decisions/influence on character
  5. Historical Study on the city of Vigau in 19th Century France
  6. Activity about what you would have done if you were a particular character
  7. Crossword puzzle
  8. Art activity creating a "Wanted" poster
  9. Worldview examination
  10. Studying the Filmaker's Art (covering Theme, Foreshadowing and Irony)
The study guide finished off with a Family Discussion guide. Answers are provided for the applicable activities (answers were very helpful as my son had some questions that he wasn't certain of the answer). We viewed this study as an enrichment activity so I allowed him to just look up the answer when he was stumped. I wanted him to benefit from the insights he would gain.

Our Experience
My son said he enjoyed the study. His favorite activity was the psychological analysis. This was a very welcome break from his traditional text and workbook courses. The exercises really targeted every learning style so that every student should be able to find something they enjoy in the z-guide.

I really liked how the z-guide helped students evaluate a character's worldview and then understand how that affected his or her actions. Now that my son has watched the movie and spent time learning about its historical background, the book will make a lot more sense and I'll encourage him to round off our study of the Les Miserables z-guide by reading the book. Which then leads to a great discussion on how the book differs from the movie.

I think the z-guides are helpful on many levels. You could use the z-guides as a way to bring some meaty discussion to a family fun night watching a classic film. Let family members take turns selecting a z-guide each month and then read through the book as a family over the course of that month. The study could also be an independent study for a student who enjoys films. Use z-guides when life circumstances make traditional seat work impossible or inconvenient (e.g. take one along on a vacation or an extended visit helping a sick relative). Use z-guides over the summer to fend off student boredom. But don't think you have to be in school to enjoy the z-guides. These are great guides for any learner who wants to dig in and study some great films.

Overall we give this product 5 out of 5 stars and look forward to exploring other titles in the z-guide line. Zeezok sells some movie titles through their website; other titles may be found at your local library, through Netflix or Amazon Video on Demand.

You can read what others think about z-guides when you visit TOS Homeschool Crew Blog. Reviewers were able to select their preference of movie.

Other Available Products
There's a lot more to Zeezok Publishing than just z-guides. You may want to explore products in one of the following areas:
Contact Information
Phone: (800) 749-1681
Join Zeezok Publishing on Facebook.

Disclaimer: We received a free copy of the Les Miserables z-guide from Zeezok Publishing for the purpose of reviewing and blogging about our experience. No other compensation was received.

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