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Women of Color in Film – Halle Berry & Rita Moreno

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Introduction:
Halle Berry was the first African American to win the prestigious Academy Award for Best Actress. Latina entertainer, Rita Moreno was the very first performer to win an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony and a Grammy. This activity introduces students to the amazing achievements of Berry and Moreno and then expands into an exploration of the accomplishments and hurdles faced by other women of color in Hollywood.

OBJECTIVE:
(aligned with Bloom’s Taxonomy)
ACTIVITIES:
(project-based assessment included)

Vision Settings

S.W.B.A.T. (Students Will Be Able To)Recognize the significance of Halle Berry’s Oscar win.
Acknowledge the achievements of Rita Moreno and other minority actresses.
Indentify the stereotypes and biases faced women of color in Hollywood.
Appreciate the advances made by minorities in the film industry.
Activity 1: Conduct web research on Berry’s life and work
Activity 2: Watch videos detailing Berry’s and Moreno’s accomplishments
Activity 3: Conduct further web research on the contributions of people of color in Hollywood
Activity 4: Explore the life and work of Rita Moreno and discuss bias in casting
Assessment: Conduct research on a minority actresses and present findings to the class
Materials:
Overhead Projector , Internet Accessibility, Computers, Writing Utensils and Notebooks, Web Resources.
Guiding Questions:
Who is Halle Berry? What is the significance of her Academy Award win for Best Actress? Who is Rita Moreno? How was Moreno a trailblazer for Latinos in Hollywood? How did other women of color contribute to development of the film industry? How did racial bias and stereotypes effect casting opportunities for women of color?

DorothyDandridge

Activity #1

Conduct Web Research
Students will conduct independent web research to become familiar with Halle Berry’s biography and gain basic knowledge of her background, upbringing and work.

ritamoreno

 

ACTIVITY #1

Students will access the Biography.com website to become familiar with the biographies of Halle Berry and Rita Moreno.

Students will then conduct independent web research to gain additional knowledge of the background, upbringing and accomplishments of both actresses.

MATERIALS

  • Overhead Projector
  • Internet Accessibility
  • Computers
  • Writing Utensils
  • Notebooks

Online Resource(s):
Biography.com –Halle Berry
Biography.com –Rita Moreno

TEACHER ACTIONS

The instructor will first direct student to the information contained on the Biography.com webpage via the attached hyperlinks in the materials column.Instructor will then allow students time to find and peruse additional information from various other websites.

The teacher will instruct the students to write down any important or interesting information they discover about Berry and Moreno.

After students have completed their exploration, the teacher will direct students as they share their information with the class. The instructor should ask directing questions to make sure they understand the relevance of Rita Moreno’s work and the significance of Halle Berry’s Academy Award win for Best Actress.

STUDENT ACTIONS

Students will research websites, take appropriate notes, and participate in group discussion.

COMMON CORE:
SL.9-10.1.a
Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.

 

hberry_award

Activity #2

Videos and Classroom Discussion

Halle Berry and Rita Moreno both broke racial barriers in Hollywood. However, other women of color, such as Hattie McDaniel and Dorothy Dandridge, paved the way for their accomplishments.

In this activity, Students will view videos on all four women and then explore the concept of Trailblazers and the phenomenon of Breaking Racial Barriers.

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ritamoreno_trophy hattie_award
ACTIVITY 2

Students will watch videos of Halle Berry’s and Hattie McDaniel’s Academy Award Acceptance speeches.Students will also view videos on how Rita Moreno and Dorothy Dandridge broke racial barriers in Hollywood.

Students will then explore the concept of breaking racial barriers and discuss the importance of trailblazers and their relationship to the opportunities available to today’s generation.

MATERIALS

  • Overhead Projector
  • Internet Accessibility
  • Computers
  • Writing Utensils
  • Notebooks

Online Resource(s):
Halle Berry – Oscar Acceptance Speech

Hattie McDaniel Oscar Acceptance Speech

Rita Moreno – Breaking Barriers in Hollywood

Dorothy Dandridge Breaking Barriers

TEACHER ACTIONS

Instructor will set the stage for this lesson and garner student interest by having students watch videos of Halle Berry and Rita Moreno.Instructor will mediate all discussion and answer questions when necessary.

STUDENT ACTIONS

Students will watch video footage take appropriate notes, and participate in group discussion.

COMMON CORE:
SL.9-10.1
Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


 

hattie_movie
carmenmiranda

Activity #3

Explore African American Women and Latinas in Film

African American women and Latinas, have graced the silver screen since the early days of Hollywood. However the parts offered to them were once limited stereotypical and often demeaning roles. In this activity, students will watch videos and conduct web research to explore the different ways African American women and Latinas were portrayed in the early days of Hollywood.

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ACTIVITY 3

Students will conduct web research to explore the different ways African American women and Latinas have been portrayed in film.

MATERIALS

  • Overhead Projector
  • Internet Accessibility
  • Computers
  • Writing Utensils
  • Notebooks

Online Resource(s):
Lena Horne

Hattie McDaniel

Top Five Vintage Latina Stars

Early Latina Actresses

TEACHER ACTIONS

Teacher will supervise students as they conduct web research on African American women and Latinas in Film.Instructor will direct the students first to web sources listed in the Materials column and then instruct students to use the web to search out additional data.

Teacher will then guide the class as they share the information that they have just compiled.

Be sure to ask the students:

“In what various ways did the African American women and Latinas covered in this activity confront typecasting and bias during their careers?”

STUDENT ACTIONS

Students will conduct web research, take appropriate notes, and participate in group discussion.

COMMON CORE:
RI.11-12.7
Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.


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Activity #4

Discuss Bias and Stereotypes

African Americans, Asians, Latinas and women of various other minority groups have also often been typecast according to stereotypes. In this activity, students will read an article on Rita Moreno, explore the concept of ethnic and racial stereotypes in Hollywood and discover how these biases have limited roles for women of color.

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ACTIVITY 4

Students will investigate bias in casting by looking at the stereotypical ways that how women of color are portrayed in Hollywood.

MATERIALS

  • Overhead Projector
  • Internet Accessibility
  • Computers
  • Writing Utensils
  • Notebooks

Online Resource(s):
Rita Moreno – Latina Stereotypes

Mexican Spitfire Trailer

Black women Stereotypes

Lucy Liu on Asian Stereotypes

Native American Female Stereotypes

TEACHER ACTIONS

Teacher will have the class watch the video clips provided and instruct the students to read the information contained in the two web sources listed in the “Materials” column.Next, The instructor will lead the class in a discussion about the information they have just read.

STUDENT ACTIONS

Students will read information contained in web sources, take appropriate notes, and participate in group discussion on the subject matter.

COMMON CORE:
SL.11-12.1.a
Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.


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ASSESSMENT

Students will do research on a specific minority actress, either a current figure or one from history OR Students will research stereotypes in Hollywood. Students can choose to either conduct a class presentation or write a research paper on their findings.

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ASSESSMENT

Students will research an actress of color or research the role of racial and ethnic Stereotypes in Hollywood films. Students will then either and present their findings to the class.

OR

Students can write a research paper on their findings.

MATERIALS

  • Writing Utensils
  • Notebooks
  • Computers
  • Rubrics

(Oral Presentation Project)

(Research Project)

TEACHER ACTIONS

Teacher will guide students as they research a specific actress of color or Stereotypes in Hollywood and present their findings or write a research paper on the subject matter contained in the first four activities.Instructor may choose to break the class into groups for the presentations.

STUDENT ACTIONS

Students will compose a well-written research paper or conduct presentations to the class on their research.

COMMON CORE:
SL.11-12.4
Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks (standard SL.9-10.4 applies to grades 9 and 10).

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