Oh Christmas break, how I love you!! I had the luxury of catching up on some movies (and some sleep) that I missed this year including Maleficent, the retelling of Sleeping Beauty. It is told from the point of view of the “evil” queen, Maleficent, who cast a curse on poor Aurora (aka Sleeping Beauty or Brier-Rose). Of course it includes the tried and true plot point of killing off the mom, but it completely flipped the Disney version I watched as a child. It offers a great starting place to talk about point of view and perspective taking with my older students.
I would start the lesson by talking about the Grimm story and any background knowledge that my students have. If they have seen this movie, what were their thoughts? It would offer a great opportunity to compare and contrast (hello common core) the Disney animated version or the Grimm fairy tale with Maleficent or even the different versions of the evil queen (Aurora remains fairly consistent throughout the stories).
The lesson can continue with making inferences about the characters from movie clips such as this one with this one . I would talk about the change in mood, tone, the music, and the characters appearances as clues to make smart guesses about inferences and predictions. You can even compare the point of view of Aurora’s character before and after she understands who Maleficent is ( here and here ) using my free POV graphic organizer from TPT.
For older students (middle school on up), it would open up an interesting discussion on the concepts of good/evil and the motivations behind the character’s choices (for example, the king’s treatment of Maleficent). It is often the perspective of students with ASD that people and choices are “black and white”, but this movie really looks at the gray areas well, that people can struggle with good and evil. I might also include talking about my favorite fairy tale cliché’, that love conquers all, and how there are many different kinds of love(for example:true love’s kiss can be a prince vs. a mother’s love).
So there you go Beasties, a social language lesson plan to start the New Year!