Another packed training day.


On April the 4th we ran our third training day for this year’s Media Literacy Project. One of the highlights was the presentations given by three of our Media Literacy Leading teachers who are in their second year of work on the project. The first presentation of the day was given by Claire from Greengates Primary School. Claire has embedded the use of film deeply into her teaching, she showed us how this has impacted upon pupils’ writing. Her pupils had struggled to put character viewpoints into writing. She showed the film The Black Hole and took us through how the children had used this in class. The pupils used this for writing diary entries  in the first person and had been able to really access the characters’ feelings and motives due to the accessibility of the film. This film was also used to write a narrative in the third person. The children then filmed their own version of the story. In their own filming groups the pupils went on a location hunt before storyboarding  and eventually filming. A finished example can be seen on the Our Films page.

Claire used the Three Little Pigs film from the Literacy Shed to create arguments. She used freeze frame and analysed how the choice of language can affect the viewer/reader. This was followed up by writing bias newspaper reports.

Pupils were able to answer higher order thinking questions to improve reading test results through the use of this film, especially combined with the reading fans which Philip Webb had spoke about in earlier training. Claire also showed how she had used resources from our site such as the Venn diagram to compare adverts to traditional stories.

Her pupils are equally enthused and her pupil Media Literacy leaders have run staff training sessions at which they have trained teachers in the creation of short films to use in class. The children have also gone into lessons in other year groups and assisted children in their use of film creation. This page below shows the feedback given by teachers after they have been trained by pupils.

The school now even has it’s own Oscars ceremony where pupil films are celebrated before an audience.

Sarah from Wibsey was a year five teacher in her first year on the project. She is now a year two teacher and gave us a valuable insight in how she’s been able to apply the use of film to Literacy teaching in key stage one. She used a film called Bubbles which can be found here on the Literacy Shed and explained how she had successfully used it with her children to create descriptive writing and to link paragraphs in writing. Sarah went on to tell us how she used Fantastic Mr Fox to target AF 4,5 and 6 in reading as well as teach synonyms, teach news reports and as a hook for teaching SPaG. We also enjoyed a film of a news report the children had made. Her class are currently creating play scripts based around the film Dangle.

Lynn from Long Lee played us the Pandora documentary from You Tube which had been shared with us by Rob Smith from the Literacy Shed in his December visit. Her class designed their own creatures which specifically targeted higher level descriptive phrases. They compared their animals and writing style to that used by Ricky Gervais in his Flanimals book We were reminded of the SATs writing task a few years back called ‘How to look after a Miptor’ and that this was an exciting way to approach writing an imaginary creature, especially when the context of an environment is provided. Lynn used film to teach SPag in a more interesting way, she tied in the use of Philip Webb’s Runaround idea within the context of a the film. Pandora was also used as the focus for non chronological as well as journalistic writing. The most moving part of Lynn’s presentation was when she recited a poem that was written by a ‘lower ability’ child after she was given the film as a stimulus.
You can see Lynn’s presentation here:

These three amazing professionals gave everyone dozens of practical examples to takeaway and include in their own practice. I’m incredibly grateful to them for sharing their time and extensive expertise with us.

I had to follow this with my sentence level filming idea. I’ve spoken about this before so I’ll just share the films the teachers made.

Last year I created a Spelling Punctuation and Grammar Test (see our Resources page) based around the film the Girl and the Fox . I wanted to give attendees the chance to work collaboratively on Google docs to build resources based around three films. I’ll add these to the site when I’ve finished processing the questions.

In the afternoon Philip Webb used The book and film version of The Invention of Hugo Cabret to show how writing can be a stimulus for creating film and vice versa. We used a storyboard of the opening of the book to answer reading AF questions before using a similar storyboard based upon camera shots from the film to write sentence openers for each shot.

He showed us the Pixar Film Knick knack and used it to show how story writers can use the advice in Pixars twenty two rules of storytelling.

The Knick Knack film is a good one to use for story structure as it has a simple narrative with no sub-plots and it is easy for children to apply the structure in their own stories.

Finally, course members worked on a media literacy ‘special edition’ of Philip’s Writing Ladders which plot the next steps for children on a sub level basis using the strands of sentence structure and punctuation, text structure and organisation and composition and effect. More about this in due course.

The next time we meet will be at the Pictureville Cinema in the National Media Museum to screen the films the children have made.

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