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Carolynn Carolynn is offline
 
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film?
Old 07-03-2008, 09:56 AM
 
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Anyone have ideas for teaching film/cinema to middle school kids?


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maryteach maryteach is offline
 
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I teach film rhetoric
Old 07-06-2008, 04:48 PM
 
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to sixth graders. It's really fun. We watch films, and clips of films, comparing filmmaker's craft to author's craft (they're remarkably similar). This is just as much a writing class as it is a film class; the students are constantly asked to discuss, for example, how the cinematography of a film advances the film's rhetoric (extreme closeups, closeups, zooms, extreme zooms), character evolution, that sort of thing. I have used:

The first five minutes (opening credits) of Hunt For Red October
Elf
Ice Age
Time Bandits
Back to the Future
Jaws
Cast Away
The Lion King
The first 8 minutes of Oliver Twist (the Polanski one)
The Haunting (from 1964--scary!)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (both 1950s and 1970s--good compare and contrast)
The Gold Rush--Charlie Chaplin--silent--talk about an inference lesson

There were more, but I'm not remembering them all now. I send home permission slips at the beginning of the semester for the PG 13 ones (like Cast Away). Hunt For Red October is R rated, but I only show the opening credits, (GREAT visual metaphor) so I don't worry about it.

Last edited by maryteach; 07-06-2008 at 04:58 PM..
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film scores
Old 09-01-2008, 02:45 PM
 
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I've taught about music in films this way:

Play a very specific sequence of a movie without sound.
Ask what the music should sound like.
Play the same clip with different music in the background.
Ask students to write a 5-sentence description of each "new" scene.
Play the scene with the correct music. Another paragraph.
Ask how it changed the scene.

I used the big battle scene with the ewoks and storm troopers from Return of the Jedi. I played Barber's "Adagio for Strings" and the Overture to "The Fantasticks."

I also used the beginning of the ballet from "An American in Paris." The theme from "The Godfather" fit scarily well. As did "The Stars and Stripes Forever."
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ms.artteacher ms.artteacher is offline
 
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learning shots
Old 09-01-2008, 04:13 PM
 
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Its fun to go over different shots and what they convey. Ex: tilts = things are confusing, person shot from a low angle=power etc...

you can then show some clips and have the students name the shot and what in means
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Teaching film
Old 08-09-2009, 06:18 AM
 
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I love to teach film around OSCAR time. Oscar.org has some trivia and all the lists of past winners in every category.
I copy a class set of Oscar ballots. I used to copy the previous years ballot, but now I use a a custom ballot I created that has the most famous winners in each category so that the kids are more likely to know what I'm talking about. We spend one class period (50 minutes) talking film. We talk about some of our favorite winners and what made the film great. Kids will ask about categorys they don't understand and I'll explain (like film editing, art direction, documentary.)
The next class the kids get to be a part of The Academy. I call this lesson 'And the Oscar Goes To..." We watch film clips of past Best Actor winners. The concept is: If all these actors were competing in the same year WHO would you pick to win? Since we are only watching Short clips of specific scenes I am able to show from films of all ratings, BUT you MUST preview scenes carefully and make sure what you show is TOTALLY PG!

Here are the clips I use:

Best Actor:
Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump
Russel Crow in Gladiator (Confronting the evil king on the field for the first time)
Dustin Hoffman in Rainman (bathroom screaming scene)
Denzel Washington in Ray
Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs (Lecter gets Starvling to tell story of the Lamb)

Best Actress:
Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs *same scene as above
Julia Roberts in Erin Brochovich (She 1st confronts her noisy neighbor)
Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice (ENd of film when she has to chose which kid to give up)
Shirley McClane in Terms of Endearment ("Give my daughter the shot" scene)
Nicole Kidman in the Hours

But you could use any of the other past winners...

Kids keep a ballot and vote on their favorite. After we finish all the watching and voting we discuss their choices and WHY. I stress to the kids that there is NO bad choice since they are ALL past winners, it's merely a matter of their opinion. It is really amazing to hear how they start to analyze details about the acting. Kids also pick up on the cinematography, editing, sound, lighting, and directing of the scenes they observed. The kids come away with a much more advanced critical eye... it's awesome!

One of my all time favorite lessons!


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