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McFarland USA Movie Lesson Plan


  • This resource is a downloadable PDF
  • Ideal for Grades 6-12
  • Perfect for Sports Teams, Social Studies, Life Skills, Character Education, or Leadership classes
  • Aligned to Common Core State Standards
  • Activities designed to help students meet Social & Emotional Learning Competencies

McFarland USA Lesson Plan helps teachers address the issues of race, culture, and family in their classrooms.

After completing McFarland USA Lesson Plan, students will improve their knowledge and application of seeking excellence, overcoming obstacles, and living by principles.

Is your life already mapped out for you based on your environment and family?

Is it possible to do something unexpected and write your own story?

McFarland USA chronicles the inspiring true story of Jim White who arrived in California’s Central Valley with a checkered coaching past. He saw running potential in a group of boys who worked hard in the farm fields when they were not in school. White discovered he needed to mentor the boys to believe in themselves if they were ever going to reach their potential on the cross country course and take control of destiny in their own lives.

McFarland USA Movie Lesson Plan highlights the importance of compassion and understanding when learning about people from different cultures. It also reveals that, in the end, we all want and need the same things.

In order to complete these activities, students will need to watch the movie McFarland USA, which has a rating of PG and a run time of 2 hours and 9 minutes.


Each of our Leadership at the Movies lesson plans includes the following activities:

✅ Reflection: allows students to journal about one of the movie’s themes prior to watching.

✅ Analysis: questions and prompts to analyze the characters, plot, and climax of the movie.

✅ Practice & Discussion: a partner/group activity that takes the principles of the movie and asks students to take action and grow in their own lives.

✅ Extension: a RAFT (Role-Audience-Format-Topic) writing prompt to help students apply their new knowledge.

✅ Lead for Impact: challenges students to pinpoint how the hero of the story exhibited The 12 Fundamentals of Impact and then synthesize how they can apply the lessons to writing their own story.


WARNING: This is a DEEP LEARNING lesson plan to help students employ a LEADERSHIP approach to SOCIAL & EMOTIONAL LEARNING.

These activities are designed to help students meet the following Social & Emotional Learning Competencies as outlined by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL):

⭐ Develop SELF-AWARENESS and SELF-MANAGEMENT skills to achieve school and life success.

⭐ Use SOCIAL-AWARENESS and interpersonal skills to establish and maintain POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS.

⭐ Demonstrate DECISION-MAKING skills and responsible behaviors in personal, school, and community contexts.


The activities in McFarland USA Movie Lesson Plan will challenge students to move closer to mastery in the following skills: leadership, cooperation with others, creativity, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, problem solving, and judgment and decision making.


Related Products

Leadership at the Movies Bundle

With school-wide access to lesson plans and teaching resources for over 75 movies, you can help your students strive to reach their full potential!