So what do you really think of big smelly ogres?

Grade: Years 7- 8
KLA: English
Topic: A critical review of film.

People constantly rely on the opinions of others for information. In this lesson students will examine the process of writing a review, consider the effectiveness of reviews written by others, and compose their own review of the film ‘Shrek’.

Key Learning Area Outcomes:
  • English Outcomes:
    • Responds to and composes texts for understanding, interpretation, critical analysis and pleasure.
    • Responds to composes texts in different stories.
    • Makes informed language choices to shape meaning with accuracy, clarity and coherence.
    • Thinks critically and interpretively about information, ideas and arguments to respond to and compose texts.
  • Microsoft® Student 2006
  • Microsoft® Word 2003
Teacher Notes:
  1. Gather a collection of reviews from a variety of media, and covering a range of subjects. Video game, CD, movie and product reviews would all be suitable. Distribute these amongst the students and allow them some time to read and reflect on the nature of the review.
  2. Ask for opinions on the reviews? Did the students find any reviews particularly effective? Were any reviews lacking in anyway?
  3. Introduce the activity at this point. Direct students to read the project starter notes in the English section of Microsoft® Student 2006 on writing a review of a book, film or play:

Project Starters - Microsoft® Student 2006

  1. Once they have finished reading the notes, have them commence on their own review.
Student Activity:
  1. Having read some reviews, it is now your turn to write one of your own. You are to write a review of ‘Shrek’ in Microsoft® Word. You may like to use the templates in Microsoft® Student 2006 to assist you in writing your review.
  2. In your review, include the following:
  • factual information—who wrote/directed/acted in it?
  • an indication of content—what’s it about?
  • suggestions about its potential readership or audience
  • suggestions about how it compares with others of its type or genre
  • comments on any special features
  • comments about its strengths and weaknesses
  • an evaluation of the work’s overall success in doing the job it set out to do
  • the reviewer’s personal opinion and, possibly, a recommendation
  1. Having read the review, you should have learned something new, and be sufficiently well informed to decide whether or not you wish to read the book or see the film or play.

‘Shrek’ owes much to the classic fairy tales we have all grown up with. Research the terms ‘parody’ and ‘satire’. Once you have determined their meanings, write an essay comparing and contrasting ‘Shrek’ with the fairy tales it makes reference to, such as ‘Pinocchio’, ‘The Three Little Pigs’, and ‘Little Red Riding Hood’.

In writing this type of essay, the following notes from Microsoft® Student 2006 may be helpful:

Here are three ways to deal with developing the body of the essay. Remember that you are trying to write something more satisfying in shape than a list of similarities and a list of differences.

  • The simple division. In the first half of the body, describe all the similarities, and then use the second half to deal with the differences. This is suitable for straightforward tasks.
  • The alternating structure. Use the first paragraph of the body for similarities, and the second paragraph for differences. Repeat the pattern until the ground has been covered. This approach is more suitable for complex tasks, in particular those in which situations or characters change and develop within the texts.
  • The integrated approach. This is more complex, but likely to be more successful. It depends upon your finding a single, strong, unifying idea that will run through the whole essay, acting like the trunk of a tree, and on which you can place the branches—the examples of similarity and difference—which display your argument.


Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2006. © 1993-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved

You may like to use the following template for recording student achievement:

Tracking Sheet