Curriculum for a film class

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by ifightaliens, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. ifightaliens

    ifightaliens Rookie

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    Sep 8, 2008

    I just got placed as an LTI English teacher, and while most of my classes are regular English classes and done by the District's curriculum, I have a film class that I have pretty much free reign of. I've never even HAD a film class, so I'm looking for any tips on flicks to use, activities, testing, etc. Basically anything that you think would help would be great. Also, I never really learned how to make my own curriculum, so I would be most grateful for any tips on that as well.
     
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  3. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Sep 8, 2008

    I remember in my high school film class we watched that Orson Wells film "Citizen Kane".

    But for current students I think it could be meaningful to choose a film with a screenplay that was adapted from a book and study that.

    I live in Hollywood and had the occasion to meet the executive producer of "Forrest Gump". He said that book and it's screenplay were the perfect formula for a successful movie because the main character makes you want to cheer for him, etc. Another interesting thing about studying that book/film is that the book was not successful till after the movie came out. And it's a really short book to for your students to read and full of historical events ... I wonder if there is a sex scene, though.

    Perhaps you could do a comparison between a movie/book combo where the book was first a hit and one where the movie was first a hit (ie. Forrest Gump or one that's rated G). And in the process study the art of adapting a successful screenplay.
     
  4. Engteach13

    Engteach13 Rookie

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    Sep 8, 2008

    I do not teach this class but my friend does. She does everything by genre: Romance, comedy, western, film noir , horror...thats all i can think of. Students do projects where there are several options based on multiple intelligences. write a review, create a scene ( like a diorama), make a movie poster, etc.


    She also has them read some books that they discuss and then watch the movie. Angela's Ashes, Clockwork Orange and some others.

    The last marking period the kids do presentations for movies of their choice and that is their whole grade and final exam. All the kids really seem to like the class.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. dtrim

    dtrim Rookie

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    Sep 8, 2008

    When I taught Literature of the Mass Media, I had a unit on film. We talked about the film maker's tool box: light, color, sound, camera angles, text, subtext, and...whatever.

    I chose to show Amelie, the French movie with Audrey Tautou. It's in subtitles, which made them really focus on the nonverbal messages, I think. It's such a great film anyway, but there's a scene with I think 17 naughty bits all in a row. I totally censored that with a file folder. It's rated R and my seniors all had permission slips on file, but I'm so not showing that! They can rent it and watch the naughty bits. I assigned pairs different scenes to analyze and create a poster dissection of the filmmaker's toolbox. Great stuff. Then they made 2-minute shorts using all the tools, too.

    I also did a unit on documentaries and docudramas. Try Into Thin Air and Everest for that pair. Boys Don't Cry and The Brandon Teena Story also work, but you'll have to get permission for both of those and know when to use the file folder.

    Best wishes for success!

    Diane
     
  6. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Sep 8, 2008

    I've never taught the class, but I got this link at a journalism workshop: FILM JOURNALISM, THEORY, LOVE & CELEBRATION

    When you Google for ideas, type in "film journalism" and I think you'll find stuff to help you. Apparently, a lot of schools have the journalism teacher teach this class!
     
  7. kstar03

    kstar03 Companion

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    Sep 8, 2008

    I was a student teacher last semester in a class called Lit and Film. We read Dracula, The Color Purple, Shawshank Redemption, and The Princess Bride. Along with watching the films from those particular books we also watched different movies by the same director (EX. For TCP unit we watched Indiana Jones clips, AI, and then TCP to look for things like use of music, lighting, and characters). For Dracula, we watched the 1990'sand the 1930's version and compared them. Is that helpful?
     
  8. fargo21

    fargo21 Rookie

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    Sep 10, 2008

    A Street Car Named Desire with Brando is great. Amelie, Pride and Prejudice, Wives and Daughters and The Woman in White are all great too.
     
  9. EZLN1

    EZLN1 Companion

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    Sep 11, 2008

    I would love to have a film class.
    If I were in your position, I would tailor the class to things that are relevant to your students, whether it be by ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, etc, themes in short. I personally wouldn't do the whole novel/book thing (well, maybe for malcolm x), but that's just me. I took a film class in college (latino's in the US). and what my professor did was have us read articles relevant to the themes in the movie. For example. we would watch "Zoot Suit Riot", and read a journal article on the event itself, and the historical misrepresentation of the event among the white press.

    anyway, if you need suggestions on movies, I could post some.
     
  10. MrL

    MrL Companion

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    Sep 16, 2008

    You need at least one silent film. Our Literature of the Supernatural kids loved the version of Nosferatu with the Type O Negative soundtrack and the recent Call of Cthulhu. There's also always the Lost World, Metropolis, and MAYBE the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari as the first horror film, if its not too expressionist.
     
  11. ifightaliens

    ifightaliens Rookie

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    Sep 17, 2008

    One step ahead on the silent film. I chose City Lights with Charlie Chaplin. It's neat, because at first they thought it would suck, but they're coming around a bit.

    I'm thinking I may do a short story adaptation as opposed to a whole novel... the kids at this school hate to read as it is, and it's only half a year. I'm thinking I might do some acting exercises as well.
     
  12. historychic84

    historychic84 Rookie

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    Sep 18, 2008

    In Britain, they have a class called 'Media Studies.' The teacher decides what kind of genre they are going to study for the year. For example, my boyfriend said they did a study of how gangster/mobster movies changed throughout the 20th Century. For example, Citizen Kane, Bonnie and Clyde - (the grapefruit scene was pretty sensational for the time since it was racy to show that kind of scene), and Good Fellas. You might have some problem with Good Fellas unless you have permission slips. Sounds like an awesome class. Have fun with it! :)
     
  13. sciencewrestler

    sciencewrestler Rookie

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    Sep 24, 2008

    Here's a highly influential film that as an Earth Science teacher I definitely find interesting, but will bore some kids to death but cause others to do some really "deep" thinking:

    Koyaanisqatsi ("koy-awnis-cot-see") at the Internet Movie Database.

    This movie's homepage. ---> "The title is a Hopi Indian word meaning "life out of balance." Created between 1975 and 1982, the film is an apocalyptic vision of the collision of two different worlds -- urban life and technology versus the environment."

    Excerpt from its wikipedia page:
    Youtube clip, titled "Vessels" (the dvd lists it that way)

    The soundtrack by Philip Glass is irritating to some, so be prepared! Speaking of that, if you have a surround system with a good subwoofer this can help create a better mood because of the soundtrack's subtle enveloping nature and use of deep/powerful bass in certain parts.

    BTW I seriously doubt anyone would need to issue permission slips for this movie.

    I own the dvd and have watched it several times but not always all at once, since it is a (to me) very thought-provoking film and I have to be in the right mood for it, so sometimes just watch it for the "eye candy" factor. The dvd's 30 minute making-of bonus feature is very informative.
     

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