Feb 16, 2016
Teaching and Doing Film
Teaching and Doing Film In a CCSS-Driven ClassroomNew Literacies and the CCSSThe Common Core State Standards recognize that to thrive in the newly wired world, students need to master new ways of reading and writing..
Example: Analyzing editing in North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)
Each time an edit occurs (when one shot switches to another), they clap their hands.
The students' claps become closer and closer together, and it becomes evident that as the scene picks up in intensity, Hitchcock and his film editor have also picked up the pace of the cuts.
North By Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)http://youtu.be/M5D1aeNB2Bc
Close Reading Prompts
1. Give Students Practice Reading Screen-Based Texts
Relevant Common Core Standards:Reading Standards for Literature, Integration of Knowledge and Ideas, Standard 7, Grade 7. Compare and contrast a written story, drama, or poem to its audio, filmed, staged, or multimedia version, analyzing the effects of techniques unique to each medium (for example, lighting, sound, color, or camera focus and angles in a film).Reading Standards for Informational Text, Integration of Knowledge and Ideas, Standard 7, Grades 1112. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums (for example, print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea.Example: Show the first few minutes of Alice in Wonderland, Easy A, The Hunger Games, or Food, Inc. without providing any introductory comments. Then students break into small groups, and each group is provided with a description of a film element to examine in the segment.
Food, Inc. as Adaptation of Omnivores Dilemma
Pre-Assessment for Film UnitsWatch short clips from a variety of films, such as The Color Purple (Spielberg, 1985), Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989), or Clueless (Amy Heckerling, 1995).Have students take out 2 blank pieces of paper and label one as Notes and the second as ResponsePlay a clip one time, giving students only enough background of the film so that they can understand its context. Direct them to watch carefully without writing.Play the clip a second time, asking students to take notes on whatever the director is doing to create meaning or to create a feeling. Prompt them to consider the music, lighting, and what the camera does or shows.Then ask them to take their second sheet of paper to respond to the prompt, What effect is the director of the film trying to achieve or create within the clip? How does he or she achieve or create this effect? Direct them to write a topic sentence and to include support for it.Do the Right Thing Clip: http://youtu.be/ZUbvT6YKPzk
Do the Right Thing
Help Students Understand Film TermsTo understand how a camera works, they will manipulate a paper camera to gain a kinesthetic context for film termsRoll a sheet of construction paper into a tube and hold it up to the eye like a telescope. Then manipulate it as if it were a real camera.To get a long shot, students will have to unroll the pages to create a large lens to get a shot of the whole body.They must decrease the size of the lens to get a medium shot (from the waist up)To get a close up shot (the face) they must decrease the size even furtherTo get an extreme close up (one aspect like an eye), they must roll the paper even tighter.They can demonstrate a pan by turning the head from left to right, and a low angle by sitting on the floor and filming a clock on the wall, etc. Students should talk about the effects these shots provide.
Work with Film Terms: Advanced InquiriesStudents will close read a short clip from a film, such as Meet Joe Black or Selma: http://youtu.be/zvYZoqFCX_8 .View with the sound off once and respond to the text by noting which shots the director uses using a graphic organizer Ask students to generate three questions that they would like to ask the director if he were in the class and share in small groups.Discuss the hints the director gives in the scene and then ask students to watch the scene again with the sound on. Again students should take notes, this time noting how sound (both diegetic and nondiegetic) is used to enhance the scene.Students should think-pair-share about the use of sound and editing (fading out to a black scene and then fading in again slowly).Then students should craft an analytical statement about the scene.
Meet Joe Black
2. Give Students Practice in Digital WritingRelevant Common Core Standard:
Reading Standards, Craft and Structure, Standard 5, Grade 8. Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style.
Example: A Digital Narrative assignment will require students to contrast photographs and interviews and analyze how they contribute to the immigrant story they and their family members relate (see packet).
3. Give Students Practice in Collaborative WritingRelevant Common Core Standard:Writing Standards, Production and Distribution of Writing, Standard 6, Grade 8. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
Example: One classroom, for example, may provide raw video footage that students have shot related to an assigned topic. Another classroom half a world away may then take that raw footage and edit it into a meaningful video.
Relevant Common Core Standard:Reading Standards for Informational Text, Integration of Knowledge and Ideas, Standard 7, Grades 1112. Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (for example, visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.
Example: Students can critically view documentary video on sites such as the Library of Congress or National Geographic that provide multiple viewpoints on a topic to answer a question about history or science. See also New Deal videos such as The River: http://youtu.be/nVapYrkT0rQ4. Give Students Practice Working with Informational Texts
The River (1938, Pare Lorentz)
Working with Film AdaptationsCCSS Explicitly Addressed:7th grade: CC.7.R.L.7 Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: Compare and contrast a written story, drama, or poem to its audio, filmed, staged, or multimedia version, analyzing the effects of techniques unique to each medium (e.g., lighting, sound, color, or camera focus and angles in a film).8th grade: CC.8.R.L.7 Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: Analyze the extent to which a filmed or live production of a story or drama stays faithful to or departs from the text or script, evaluating the choices made by the director or actors.CC.9-10.R.I.7 Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a persons life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.
Adaptation DefinitionAn interpretation, involving at least one persons reading of a text, choices about what elements to transfer, and decisions about how to actualize these elements in a medium of image and sound. Because it is such a popular approach to film-making (and a category for the Academy Awards) film adaptations deserve study not only because of their quantity but also because of their quality.
1. The Fidelity Issue2. Classifying Adaptations3. Advanced Inquiries
The Hunger Games (Dir. Gary Ross, 2012)
Easy A (Dir. Will Gluck, 2010)
Turning Film Genres into WritingCCSS:
CC.7.SL.2 Comprehension and Collaboration: Analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how the ideas clarify a topic, text, or issue under study.CC.8.SL.2 Comprehension and Collaboration: Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.CC.11-12.R.ST.7 Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.CC.11-12.SL.2 Comprehension and Collaboration: Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.
Context:This activity is meant to introduce the idea of genres, a seemingly difficult concept that students actually understand more than they know. This activity will serve as grounding for writing about film (including reviews and evaluations), but also serves as a stepping off place for reading and writing genres from memoir to editorials.Students from elementary through college should benefit from this activity. Please see Heather Lattimers Thinking Through Genre: Units of Study in Reading and Writing Workshops, Grades 4-12 for reading and writing units that are applicable in a variety of classes with a variety of age groups.
Procedures:Think of favorite movie and consider where it would be placed on Netflix (the genre).Then individually or in groups, outline characteristics of the films genre (s)a) What is the setting (time and place) of the film like?b) What is the plot like? Is there a happy ending? Is there an indication that a sequel might be possible? Are there recurring storylines?c) What are the characters like?