Film for Learning

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Using Film in the Classroom

15 Nov 2017 | Reading time 3 Minutes

Image of teacher delivering a film liteacy lesson.

An article written by Key Stage 2 teacher, Joan Kennedy, about her experience taking part in Full STEAM Ahead. Joan discusses her film literacy lessons, in-school support with an arts practitioner, and getting started using curriuclar filmmaking. 

Year two of our Full Steam Ahead project and I am loving having my own class to work with! We have had a few ‘film' lessons this term. First one was an introduction to the 3Cs and the 3Ss and the general notion of film genre. 

We then started looking at sound and camera. I used The Girl and the Fox this time for a sound on, vision off activity, and then we followed that up with a piece of predictive writing. I stopped the film at the point where the girl was lying asleep/dead? In the snow. The children produced quite interesting ideas. I then introduced the idea of camera shots, we watched the whole film through identifying the camera shots. The children then have had the opportunity, over the last few weeks, to take still photographs with the ipad just around our classroom/corridor, trying to take each of the six different shots.

Today, Donna from the Nerve Centre came out to support the next stage. I wanted to use the idea of different camera shots to predict the structure of the writing. We used the familiar still from ‘The Girl and the Fox' and a sheet I had prepared (see gallery). This was the idea given in Into Film's Future Learn Online Course and I just adapted it slightly. We worked on this as a group so everyone pooled their ideas with one ‘scribe'.

And so to part two! We wanted the children to try some filming using the idea of camera shots. Sometimes they get hung up on overly dramatic plots, usually containing some form of zombie, so we steered away from that so they could concentrate on deciding which shot was most suitable. I set them the task of filming parts of our school to send to their penpal school in Spain. They brainstormed their ideas and tried to think of a least five different shots to film in e.g. the library. We despatched them around the school to their chosen location with a time limit of fifteen minutes. Donna and I circulated among the groups and we were very impressed with their ideas and their commitment to ‘getting the best view'.

"I used ‘The Girl and the Fox' this time for a sound on, vision off activity, and then we followed that up with a piece of predictive writing."

Joan Kennedy, KS2 Teacher

Each group managed to take a good amount of film clips. We had a quick look at them on return to the classroom and already they were suggesting improvements.

It was great having Donna out as support and also with the Nerve Centre iPads. We do not have the resources in our school to do this type of whole class lesson, so the ipads were invaluable to us. Also, Donna's expertise was great to show the children the best way of filming and give them ideas when they were working on the tasks. We are going to continue to give the children some opportunities to film short clips this term whilst continuing in class with the film education working with short films and film clip to tie in with our topics.

Full STEAM Ahead filmmaking 5

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What our Project Coordinator says

"It’s been amazing to see teachers grow in confidence and develop a creative approach to the curriculum using film. I’ve seen teachers begin this project with no prior experience in using film literacy or curricular filmmaking, to having just delivered their own CPD session to their staff in these areas."

- Nichola Clarke, Teacher Development Project Coordinator, Into Film, Belfast