Posted in Criterion 4, Criterion 6, Criterion 7

The Edward Scissorhands Project

DAY 1
The project requires students to work in small groups of no more than 4 to create a film guide to explain 3-4 aspects of film. Aspects include theme, setting, character, lighting, sound, symbols and motifs. For each aspect, they need to include examples and 3-4 activities based on Art Costa’s 3 story house (http://www.santeefalcons.org/ourpages/auto/2010/1/27/42486859/Costa_s%20Levels%20of%20Questions%20house.pdf)
Each aspect must include an explanation of how it answers the driving question: What can we learn about human behaviour through film?
I introduced the project to the class today and attempted to explain the Driving Question. I overheard a few students comment that they ‘didn’t get it’. Have I bitten off more than they can chew?
We watched a short film which explained cinematography and then briefly discussed camera shots/angles, lighting and sound. Then we began watching Edward Scissorhands. One student called out ‘that’s an over the shoulder shot!’ – a good start!

DAY 2:

Today I revisited the driving question briefly. This is our focus and if I come back to it frequently in short, sharp shots I’m hoping that it will sink on!
We began with film techniques and I quickly discovered that I had to rewrite the instructions to be more specific. I am scaffolding more than I will in the future at this stage to ease the class into PBL (and myself!).
The class chose their groups and began. I wandered around and showed an example of a film guide that I had created on Creative Book Builder. Even though the app cost $5.29 many of the students downloaded it to use. The students also accessed YouTube to take screenshots from the film to use.
The class were totally engaged and, even though they found some of it difficult, enjoyed what they were doing. There were moments of total quiet as they focussed on the activity.
DAY 3
The students came into class and settled quickly into their project. I am still changing/adding to my instructions to make them clear. Today I explained that the activities that they create have to be linked to the aspect that they are working on which, at this stage, is film techniques.
I also explained that each activity should be either gathering, processing or applying. I created a list on the board of example activities.
DAY 4
The students are still highly engaged in this project and are continuing to make solid progress on the film techniques aspect. All have completed the first part of listing 10 film techniques, providing an example and explaining what we see in each shot/angle. They then chose 3 shots/angles from the studied film (Edward Scissorhands) to explain.
They are now working on 3 activities for their film guide. As I was checking on their progress I noticed that many of them had gone straight into completing the activities that they were including but they had not written instructions for each activity.
I explained that they needed to write instructions and helped them to decide what they wanted to write. They quickly caught onto this and began to create some interesting activities with great examples of how they should be done. A class of mini teachers!
So far this project is going really well and the students are fully engaged and enjoying creating, collaborating and connecting with each other.

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Edward Scissorhands Project

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Author:

I am an English teacher of year 9-13 students at Whangaparaoa College. I enjoy incorporating the use of technology in the classroom and researching effective ways of engaging students. In 2012 our school introduced compulsory BYOD for year 9 and I have enjoyed this challenge. I am an advocate of Project Based Learning and plan to increase my use of this teaching style. I am also a musician and enjoy playing in local bands. If I can include music in my teaching in some way, I do it!

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