Documenting the American South Logo
Classroom Resources  Header

Going to the Show: Lesson Plans

Exploring the early North Carolina moving picture theater experience in the early 1900s through the Bijou Theatre, Wilmington, North Carolina's first moving picture theater

Introduction  |   Day 1  |   Day 2  |   Day 3  |   Day 4  |   Final Project  |   Learn More

Day 4: Activity 4

Reading Bijou News Clippings (independently or in small groups)
As you went through the questions above, there should have been some questions that the students could not answer simply by looking at the picture, but should have piqued their historical interest, and even prompted some additional questions. This next activity will encourage the students to reference a different source to attempt to get answers that address more of their questions, and should likewise, prompt additional questions.

Read the following news clippings related to the Bijou Theatre:

Historical Perspective of the Bijou:
Motion Picture History in the Making in Story of Local Theatrical Moguls (Wilmington Dispatch - 4/13/1919)

Revisit the questions posed in Activity 2 above....

Student Interpretation In the last 5-10 minutes of class, ask the students to get out a piece of paper and pencil and freewrite about what they think the theater-going experience was like for people who attended the Bijou Theatre after its renovation in 1912, and to identify 3 key similarities and 3 key differences between moviegoing before and after the renovation.

Students' reflections could include anything they wish to speculate on - material factors (theater construction, theater amenities) , environment/climate and comfort considerations, who attended movies and what was their relationship (e.g. age, race, income level, parent/child, friends, boy friend-girl friend), relative cost (was 5 cents a lot of money?), when did they attend (consider people at work, children at school), purpose of visit to Wilmington (just to see movie or to do other things, errands, etc.), or whatever else pops into their heads. Feel free to write some of these topics on the board for students to turn to in case they get "stuck" while freewriting. Students can also freewrite on the computer if that is the easiest way for them to write and if you will have time for them to print copies of their work for tomorrow's activity (and/or save copies to disk or server space).

You can either collect students' freewriting and image analysis worksheets to hand back to them the next day, or you can allow them to keep their materials and bring it back with them - but it is important that they have their freewriting and worksheets available to them during the next sessions.

Introduction  |   Day 1  |   Day 2  |   Day 3  |   Day 4  |   Final Project  |   Learn More