How engagement with film is useful both in and out of the classroom

04 May 2016 BY Rebecca Harris in Into Film Club of the Month

3 mins
Waun Wen Primary School, Swansea
Waun Wen Primary School, Swansea

I have been running a film club since November 2014, after attending a Media and Literacy course with Into film. Our club happens every Wednesday afternoon and involves children from year 3 up to year 6. We try to do lots of different activities involved with film, and I also use film within the classroom. 

Recently we watched a short film called Once in a Lifetime, which opened up so many teaching opportunities, such as building sentences using interesting verbs and adverbs, or how to write a short paragraph explaining what happens next. The vocabulary that they learn from these activities I find helps them visualise what is happening in a fiction book. We have used green screen technology to make a short documentary when we wrote an information text about sharks, and recently the children have made adverts using just iMovie on the class iPad. The results were brilliant. I was especially proud to see one boy who is EAL (English as an additional language) student and who can be very quiet become alive and expressive in his advert. I have also recently used film to help children engage with the science topic of volcanoes. Film helps children visually engage with what is happening, instead of just reading words they may not understand in a book or information text.

In both club and class, we have also taken part in filmmaking activities. Filmmaking gives them a reason to write, as they know they will need a script to read from. It also helps with transferable skills for the future, such as taking responsibility for their role in groups and during team work. For my year 3s it teaches them to listen carefully to one another and to take turns in talking, rather than shouting at each other. I have seen children who do not usually talk or take part become natural leaders and confident enough to share their ideas. It has been a delight watching all children working with film develop in confidence.

The level of engagement when using film is fantastic. It helps all children take part, and all levels are able to input their ideas. I find it brilliant for helping with the understanding of topic vocabulary, and this has benefitted their writing. Our club have just finished writing a script for their debate around the question 'Were Dragons Real?' and I don't think I would have had such a good, balanced debate if we hadn't opened with watching a documentary film on the topic from Animal Planet.

We use a lot of group work when working with film and this helps with their oracy and their social skills. There are so many benefits using film within and outside the classroom, but as a teacher in year 3 watching all the children becoming excited about what they are going to watch next is priceless.

If you're looking to start a club, my advice would be to just go for it! There are loads of excellent resources on Into Film to help you. I tried to make sure I used film at least once each term and now I am using more and more in my lessons. With film club the children lead the way with what they want to watch and what film they want to make. The older children take charge and help new or younger children with their films. It's great for team work and developing social skills. After a while in club you become the supervisor as the children will lead the group.

It is such a pleasure to watch the same children coming back each week, enthused and eager to learn in time outside of school. Into Film teaches them so many transferable skills for their adult life.

April's Leader of the Month

Rebecca Harris , April's Leader of the Month

Rebecca has been running the Waun Wen Primary School film club for one and a half years, using film to improve pupil's literacy skills.

This Article is part of: Into Film Club of the Month

Each month we celebrate one Into Film Club's achievements and talk to the club leader about how they approach their sessions.

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