Thursday, 13 January 2011

Building a Black Hole ( I.I.I. Pt.2)

One of the things that drew me back to "proper" teaching was being offered the opportunity to put some of my ideas about integration into action. I had, of course, reckoned without timetables or technophobes,  but I digress. The most obviously film-based lessons I teach are timetabled as Film; currently taught to Year 7 and 8 as two half-term units per year i.e. about 12, one-hour lessons. When I was setting the course up I wanted to be sure to include both detailed study of short films and  to use film-making techniques to do this. At around the same time someone showed me this movie:

I liked it immediately and it began to dawn that here was an ideal film to build my first unit around. Why?
It's darkly funny and likely to appeal to even the "sophisticates" of early adolescence. It has only one character and therefore no dialogue. It has no music but a suggestive, atmospheric soundtrack. It uses strongly narrative framing and cutting. In short, plenty for a tyro film critic to sink their teeth into and spaces that allow them to use simple film-making techniques as their response.
Initially I prepared a PowerPoint based worksheet where students could paste work, including their videos,  but the technical problems this threw up made me abandon it. I'm looking at the possibility of building a Google Sites template presently. The Unit as it currently stands can be viewed here
The students activities are on an embedded Google Presentation to which they can be given access separately.  I'd be delighted to hear your comments - especially suggested improvements/additions.
Next Up: Building an Extension on a Black Hole ...