Discover free films for watching, discussing and exploring filmmaking.
Our Leader of the Month for May 2017 is Zahra Bei, a teacher at Burnside Secondary Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) in the North of London. Burnside Secondary's club members have won numerous Review of the Week awards, and in running a film club at a PRU, Zahra has a unique insight into the benefits film and film club can have on young people.
The club has been running since 2012.
We run separate timetables and school days at KS3 and KS4, but we wanted to make sure all students benefited and had the chance to learn through and about film. It is great having two club leaders at the school for the first time, as we work collaboratively on schemes of work, film suggestions, trips, best activities, etc.
Film offers so much! It is very inclusive and egalitarian, pedagogically. What that means to us, is that both the teaching and learning that happen in lessons are equally accessible to students of all abilities, backgrounds and interests. Learning through film offers the opportunity to travel across historical periods, geographical areas, cultures, languages, and lifestyles - to mention but a few - so that students can engage with storytelling in a unique way. Each film covers such a range of themes and so it is truly a cross-curricular experience.
We have continued to allocate a two-week off-timetable slot in the Summer Term to filmmaking (which is set in the school calendar from the start of the academic year). The students attend a venue off-site and, with the help of a local film-making company, produce their own film - which is also awarded an Arts Award Bronze Level qualification (for those students who attend and complete the portfolios, along with the practical aspects of the project). We are about to start our sixth film, exploring British values.
We use a range of strategies and try to maintain a consistently familiar rhythm to the lessons, so the students become familiar with the expectation that we don't "just watch films and eat popcorn" (although we do do that too, of course!). We discuss the film or the genre, the theme, the director, or even the promotional posters, etc before, during and after viewing (we watch films over a number of lessons). We use the 3Cs and the 3Ss resources, as well as the many film review tips available on the Into Film website. We also read professional film critics' reviews sometimes, and/or reviews written by students from other schools, which our pupils really enjoy doing.
We make it fun; a little competitive. Students want to beat each other, so having one winning review has prompted the next, and so on. We constantly look at how progress has been made by students, by looking at their work over time as a class (most students are happy and proud to show their work on the projector, even those who previously wouldn't have been). It's a very open, collaborative and supportive approach, as students give each other constructive feedback. We have also produced a Film Student Gallery, which is on display in the school's main corridor. There are many other displays in the teaching classroom, with helpful materials aiding the whole process, including, key words, film review structure, prompts, banned words, etc.
This year the students have watched a wide range of films and not just in Literacy Through Film lessons. The films they enjoyed the most were:
Following Kidulthood and Adulthood, this is the third and final film in Noel Clarke’s trilogy centred on a group of troubled friends in London.
Age group16+ years
Against the backdrop of the World Cup in South Africa, this film celebrates the resilience of children in adversity.
Age group11+ years
Classic '80s teen comedy about two geeky teenagers who manage to create the woman of their dreams with the help of a strange electrical accident.
Age group14+ years
Don't delay - start one. You will not regret it. The resources provided are excellent; the support from the coordinator is first class; and it's all FREE!
Involve the students in the film ordering process. Invite students to critique different aspects of the films and ban certain words (ask them which ones - you'll be amazed at how critically they think), in order to extend and develop literacy. After watching a film, ask students to interview each other (there's a worksheet on the website for this) and get them to video it.
Above all, have fun!
Questions based around colour, camera, character and sound, setting, story to stimulate discussion and active film watching.
Introduce primary film club members to the art of reviewing and develop their critical thinking and literacy skills.
Introduce secondary film club members to the art of reviewing and develop their critical thinking and literacy skills.
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