Mrs. Juster's Virtual Classroom


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Viewing Journal Responses

What is a viewing journal response?

A viewing journal response is recorded in your Reader's & Writer's Digital Notebook. It is a critical thinking tool which offers a student viewing a film the opportunity to:

  • develop visual literacy 
  • articulate and develop an understanding of the text of a film 

Answers to the following questions (organized by category) will be explored in the context of a viewing journal response:


  • What kinds of images are you seeing? Are they soft and glowing with warmth or harsh and sharp? 
  • Does the camera move slowly from left to right or does it jump quickly? 
  • Does the film “feel” fast paced or relaxed?
  • What are the scene transitions like? Does the film fade to black between "chapters"?


  • What’s the soundtrack like? Could it be identified with an era? 
  • Are themes repeated – like the bass “da-dum da-dum da-dum dum dum da-dum da-dum da-dum” in Jaws?  When and why is a theme repeated?


  • Who are the main characters? 

  • What's the primary conflict? How is it resolved?

  • Are there any sub-plots?

  • What's the overall theme? 

Storyline  - Differences between Written Version and Film Version

  • How different from the novel is this film version? 

  • Are characters/scenes missing or added?

  • Is the sequence of events the same as the novel?

  • Is the ending the same? 

  • Is the overall message the same? 

  • Do the actors interpret the characters in the same way you envisioned the characters when you read the book? How are they different than you imagined? How are they the same?  

Questions the viewer should keep in mind while watching a documentary are:

  • What is the main focus of this film?
  • What is the thesis of this film? What is it trying to prove or persuade the audience to believe?
  • What is the supporting evidence? How does the film prove the truth of the thesis?