Filmmaking Teacher Resources
Find Filmmaking educational ideas and activities
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Mars rovers' Next Stop: IMAX
Pupils read an article and discuss it. In this Mars rover lesson students complete an activity that allows them to see things through a different viewpoint.
Behind the Ad: The Process of Producing a Political Commerical
Students examine how advertisements are produced for political campaigns. In groups, they view various examples of different advertisements and create their own ad by completing the steps listed in the lesson plan. They share their ad with the class and participate in a discussion about the values it portrays.
What Makes the Writer Write
Students chose a novel which includes social criticism to read. After reading the book, they use the internet to research the issue in the novel and work with others to develop a presentation. In their presentation, they identify the problem and identify possible solutions.
New! Reality Media?
Yeah, but is it real? Clips from the famous documentary film series 56 UP launches an examination of the differences between reality television and documentaries. After considering the characteristics of each format, class members consider whether they would want to be filmed for a reality television show or a documentary. The richly detailed plan includes links to all necessary videos, articles, and supporting materials.
New! 5 Broken Cameras: How Storytellers Shape the Story
5 Broken Cameras, the award-winning documentary nominated for a 2013 Academy Award and winner of the Sundance 2012 Directors Award is the focus of a resource packet that includes a lesson plan, discussion guide, reading lists, background information, a photo slide show, clips from the film, and links to related articles and books. The film provides a springboard to a discussion of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians, and the conflict over the Occupied Territories. A powerful resource that merits a place in your curriculum library.
Deep Ocean Mysteries and Wonders
A multi-media lecture by oceanographer, David Gallo, increases intrigue about our amazing oceans. He introduces the audience to underwater geology and biology with actual research footage. Where this is not specific to any one area of marine biology or physical oceanography, it could be used at the beginning of a unit to pique interest.
Structure of Natural Narratives
Class pairs select a prompt from a provided list and tell (and record) their story to their partner. They then examine linguist William Labov's model for natural narratives, and apply his model to their tale. Next, class members watch clips from the film Stream of Life, and again label sections of the narrative, using the provided analysis worksheet. Extensions and adaptions are included.
Patti Smith: Dream of Life
How do artists affect and how are artists affected by the time periods in which they live? Learners examine the life and work of controversial and influential cultural artist Patti Smith as they seek answers to this essential question. Groups research her associates, the social and cultural events of the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s in which she participated, her poems, songs, and photographs. Links are provided as are extensions, adaptations, and assessments. Preview materials before considering this resource for your class.
Code of the Samurai in Art and Literature
A samurai warrior was said to follow a code; a code that made him adhere to values such as courage, honor, loyalty, and skill. Learners examine Japanese poetry and art to see how they exemplify the ways of the samurai. Great guiding questions, worksheet, and PowerPoint are all included.
The Pursuit of Excellence
Who doesn’t love French pastries and the idea of hard work? Discover different philosophies on hard work, and the skills of French pastry chefs as the documentary concerning the “Best Craftsmen in France” or Meilleures Ouvriers de France is viewed and discussed. Learners analyze the chef preparation, mentor rolls, and the French philosophies of hard work versus intellectual work, while juxtaposing it against American attitudes. Adaptations are included that contrast the conflicts of the documentary with similar struggles of other cultures and individuals. This would serve as a great activity to explore cultural differences, or expand a home and consumer science curriculum.
Shakespearean Comedy on Film
This lesson will focus on the aspects of Shakespeare's comedy that become more evident in performance. By viewing clips of the same Shakespeare scene in different film versions, high schoolers have the opportunity to engage in a close critical analysis and to compare the play to its film version.
Lesson Plan: A Miniature Game
Art inspires art, as children work to understand artistic forms that come from the imagination. They analyze the installation piece, Fox Games and then discuss the design process. They then use clay to create imaginative dioramas, similar to the inspiration piece.
Lesson Plan: Newsflash!
Fox Games is an Installation piece that allows observers to walk through a clay environment. Kids analyze the piece, considering storytelling and perspectives of light. They imagine how different the piece would look at various times of day. Images and a full break-down of what to point out to the class in the image is included.
Descending to the Challenge: Developing Documentaries About the Deep Ocean
The video clip that comprises the warm up is not available, but the related article from The New York Times and the movie trailer for Aliens of the Deep are, leaving enough material to make this a fascinating lesson on deep-sea exploration. After reading about James Cameron's Challenger Deep submersible, your young scientists write a screenplay about the geology, chemistry, or biodiversity of the deepest parts of the ocean.
Standing Up Against Injustice
“Sometimes things are lawful yet are actually wrong.” Researchers examine primary and secondary source materials as they study five legal cases involving civil rights attorney William Kunstler in which he attempted to use the legal system to bring about social change. An extensive list of activities, assessment suggestions, extensions, and adaptations are included in a carefully detailed resource.
Historical Perspectives: Coming Home from War
What do the homecoming experiences of soldiers who fought in WWII, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan reveal about the politics and culture of the US during the time period of each war? Young historians view The Way We Get By, which tells the story of Maine Troop Greeters, and read excerpts from “Soldiers Coming Home,” and “Homecoming” in preparation for a group research project about the experiences of these soldiers. Resource links, extensions, and adaptations are provided.
Journalism in War Time: What Does the Public Need to Know?
A viewing of the documentary War Feels Like War, launches an exploration of the importance of accurate and comprehensive war reporting. Groups investigate various news agencies and assess the factors that influence their stories. A powerful, balanced approach to a controversial topic.
STEMbite: DVD Players
Hear a complete explanation of how a DVD player works. Data is stored in the spiraling groove of a compact disc, and a laser follows the groove, reading the peaks and valleys as 1s and 0s. The teacher even explains the difference between the traditional DVD and a Blu-ray disc. A good idea would be to precede this video by watching the clips on diffraction and binary code, both by the same filmmaker. Your engineering or STEM class will especially enjoy learning this information.
Media: Between the Lines
Learners in grades four through eight discuss, engage, and interact online to better grasp the concept of media. They will identify types of media, deconstruct media, understand how they personally use or interact with media, and work to build digital literacy skills. Two videos, a ton of great discussion questions, two activities, and a handout make this a great resource for teaching your 21st century learners.
New! Disability Awareness Activity Packet
When you have an inclusive classroom it is important to help your general education students understand their peers with disabilities. This packet provides information and activities to assist elementary-aged children in building a better grasp of what life is like for children with disabilities. Each activity and related worksheet focuses on one of several common disabilities seen in the educational community. Autism, learning disabilities, communication disorder, hearing impairment, visual impairment, and intellectual disabilities are all discussed.