Victorian Shot Selection at Miriam Lord

Pupils at Miriam Lord Primary have been learning about different shots in films. Click here to access their

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Year two is up and running!

On the 20th of September eight teachers who became Media Literacy leaders last year were joined by our latest cohort of twenty one new teachers to begin the second year of our project.

Photo 20-09-2013 10 09 54
We were joined by Mark Reid from the British Film Institute, who delivered an eye opening session showing how short film can be used to inspire writers in the classroom before they script, storyboard, film and edit their own creations. Once again Philip Webb (@philipgwebb) delivered an amazing session showing how key stage two Literacy lessons can use film to raise writing standards. We also had time for some hands on filming using iMovie on iPads to film different examples of shots used in film.

Last year the project delivered an average of 4.01 APS for writing in target groups across all schools involved. This year we will be collecting writing scores from a sample of children but we will also be monitoring the impact the project has on reading. This is in response to the amazing impact upon reading (see the case study page for more details).

Each teacher has been matched with a Media Literacy Leader from last year. This means teachers who already have a year of analysing and creating short films with children can advise those people new to the project.

The only thing missing from the day was time for more input from last year’s Media Literacy leaders. This will be something we look forward to in our December training day.

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Sign up for Phase Two of the Media Literacy Project.

Bradford Primary School teachers are now able to sign up for phase two of the Media Literacy Leaders Project. The project is aimed at raising writing standards through the use of film in Literacy lessons. Training for this project is free. You will be working with teachers who completed year one to become Media Literacy Leaders, Curriculum Innovation Consultants and  Literacy Consultant Philip Webb. There will also be input from other agencies such as the British Film Institute.

Please download the flyer below and attend the meeting on Tuesday the 9th of July at the Innovation Centre Bradford to find out more. If you are using a mobile phone or tablet you may not see the flyer displayed below. Click here to download it.

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Screening Pupils’ Films at the National Media Museum.

Backdrop ppt for Pictureville screening

On Friday over three hundred children attended the Pictureville Cinema at the National Media Museum. We were treated to films from all of the schools who took part in our Media Literacy Project this year. The event was a great success. Parents, pupils and teachers were so excited to see their films on the enormous screen in the plush surroundings of this beautiful cinema. Each school voted for their top three films to show at the screening, they also sent three pupils out to the front to explain how they made their film and to pass on tips to their fellow film makers.


Media Literacy screening on PhotoPeach

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Pupils Qualifying as Media Literacy Leaders

Today we have been working with Greengates and St. Oswald’s Primary schools, training some children to become Media Literacy Leaders.  The aim was to train a small number of children to take the lead back in class when it came to the whole process of creating films. They would be able to train other pupils and adults too in making the film creation process sustainable and manageable in each school.

As part of the training we watched the short Pixar film ‘For the Birds’. We discussed the main themes of the film and asked the children to write one sentence that summed up what the film was about. We then asked them to distill their thoughts by summing up the film in three words. We used Wordle to visualise the main themes from the film which can be seen below.

For the birds - Key themes


The children then chose one word to capture the essence of the film. Once we had clear in our heads the main themes we set about creating our own stories that had one of the themes from For the Birds. We wanted the children to plot their own story to a story mountain format. To revise our understanding of the story arc form we plotted For the Birds to a story mountain sheet. Claire Dunsire from Greengates Primary shared the idea of plotting the problem first in the centre of the sheet, then the beginning and the ending. This makes it easier to fit the other events into the right areas. The sheet we used was taken from Primary Resources and can be found here.

The next step was for our small groups to create their own story. They used the same storyboard to plot their tale. We asked each group to sum up their story mountain in thirty seconds, as in this example.


Now it was time for the test. Everything below had to be done independently to qualify as Media Literacy Leaders. Each group had to  to film their storyboards, edit the footage by adding titles and fades. Their films were then exported to the camera roll on the iPads. After this each group had to connect their iPad to a PC, import their footage to the correct folder in a shared drive and rename it. Once they could open it and play it back they had qualified as Media Literacy Leaders. They should now be able to go back to school and train other pupils and teachers in the filming, editing and viewing of films created by children.


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Turning Ideas to Films – April Training Day

Yet again I was enthralled by the work going on in the primary school classrooms as part of the Bradford UNESCO City of Film Film Literacy project. Teachers’ presentations and feedback left me in no doubt that working with short films within the literacy context  – both understanding, talking and writing about how films make meaning and making their own short films – is something children find engaging and compelling. We heard about children making adverts tied in with persuasive writing, film scripting and making based on myths and legends (complete with arguments about shot types needed and evaluative blogs written afterwards!), as well as adverts made for stretchy spoons and cat’s slippers (!) which produced some excellent written work and led the teacher to comment that ‘It keeps them on task and they love it!’. In Wibsey Primary the work the children have done with their class teacher has led to a staff session on the subject which is beginning to have an effect throughout the school. One head teacher couldn’t believe how far one particular EAL pupil had come as result of a storyboard and film he had written and then made. Another teacher has incorporated the film work as the final stage in a Talk for Writing project using The Corpse Bride poem and animation and said ‘One girl who is typically at level 1b  – low ability – was interviewed and the language she used was lovely. She had the story secure in her head to they could work on her use of language.’

Snack time is utilised in Greengates Primary school for showing films from The Literacy Shed. Pupils have been discussing story, characters and settings and the teacher is convinced that reading levels are on the increase as a result. This approach has been so successful the whole school are now watching and discussing short films in snack time. In the same school children have used the film ‘Up’ to focus on writing about feelings. In addition they have read and then written their own Not Now Bernard versions using ‘higher level words’  and filmed them and then shown them to the younger children in school.  They then watched the very popular short film ‘Black Hole’ and then storyboarded and made their own versions which were incredible to watch! Parents have been very positive about the effect on their children following an IT evening for parents at which this approach was described. The teacher commented ‘Boys who give up when it comes to literacy have made really good progress!’.
The second part of the day was led by Philip Webb who offered a plethora of additional ideas and strategies for teachers to employ based on visual literacy and film related literacy work before they moved on to practical filmmaking activities in the afternoon.
The next phase of the project sees pupils being brought in to the Innovation Centre to be trained up as media literacy leaders in schools – to help those teachers who are less confident with the technology aspects of film-making.


Bradford is trailblazing with this approach and feedback from teachers re pupils’ attainment levels is very positive.


Written by Sarah Mumford Development Director West and North Yorkshire, Cape UK.


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Oktapodi at Ryecroft

In Year Five at Ryecroft we looked at the short film Oktapodi. This is the first time the children had used a short film to influence their writing. Within in the class there are a range of levels from p scales to level 4. Therefore using the film was great as all children could access this resource. The children enjoyed listening to the sound of the film first and then used a tell me grid to write about what they though was happening. All of the children were suprised when the actual film was revealed.

The children were thoroughly engaged when they had a chance to film using flip cams and Ipods. They were able to comment on the camera shots and then use these in their own film.



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The Highwayman

The Highwayman

For the highwayman unit of work we began familiarising ourselves with the poem and discussing any unknown words as well as trying to un-pick the narrative behind it. This is my fourth year of teaching this unit in Year 5 and each year the children have found the language very difficult to get to grips with and this has hindered the understanding of the story. This year I have some children working at L1 and 2 in my class and was worried that this topic would be far too difficult for them.

However… film has changed all of this!

Following the initial intorduction to the poem, characters and puzzles surrounding the language I found a short animation on YouTube that the children were engrossed in. This allowed all children to understand the story as they could now picture the events from the images and relate to the poem itself.

All children were now on an equal playing field and could begin their own film making before re-telling the story (in a modern day version for the higher ability) in their own words. I was so impressed with the quality of the work done by all the children, the L1 children were producing L2 written work and the storyline was fully understood by all children. They could all tell me why they had chosen certain types of shots and particularly the close up shots enabled children to include character thoughts and feelings in their writing. In has also improved their AF2 and AF3 reading skills as we discussed the language in depth and they could give excellent answering referencing the text as well as own opinions to support their reasons.

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Snack-time Movies

At Greengates we have been using short films in our snack-time after play. We look at one short film each week which we often take from The literacy Shed. The children watch the film on the firsta day and then we discuss the main theme and finish our snack-time by writing the sentence The story is about… . Through the week we then look for clues about the characters, setting and different moods of the film and we answer pre prepared questions.  All the children are encouraged to express their ideas through paired discussions, then we have a P4C session to discuss our opinions. The children really enjoy this work and in recent pupil interviews they explained what they learnt from it.


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Treading the tightrope at Wibsey

We used El Calimante as a stimulus for our recount unit of work in Literacy. The film was a lovely resource leading up to Spanish week and generated lots of lovely language. All children of varying abilities were engaged with the learning that took place and I was particularly proud of a child who produced the most amount of writing since joining my class in September. They are really excited to continue to use film in their lessons after Christmas.

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