For 1600 lucky Primary pupils and their teachers, 19th June was no typical Monday. Marking the first ever LitFilmFest, 7-11 year olds from across the country were invited to the London BFI IMAX to watch their filmmaking and writing efforts projected onto the biggest screen in Britain!
Motivated by the writing and filmmaking efforts of classrooms across the country, this summer we’re hosting the very first LitFilmFest. This one-day event, taking place on Monday 19th June, will champion KS2 pupils’ writing and cinematic efforts, with winning classes shooting their films professionally before watching them on the biggest screen in Britain - the BFI London IMAX.
Filmmaking projects that inspire, empower and improve literacy attainment in the classroom. Children at Tubbenden Primary School in Bromley recently completed a literacy and filmmaking project by A Tale Unfolds – a social enterprise (formed of teachers) striving to improve children’s literacy skills through digital storytelling and filmmaking.
Here, two Year 6 teachers from the school, Laura Venn and Sarah Davey, discuss their experiences of using one of the projects as well as the impact that a digital literacy focus had on their pupils:
In June this year, 1500 7-11 year olds, teachers and parents will get to see their youngsters' work on the British Film Institute (BFI) IMAX’s cinema screen as part of a new initiative to improve literacy using filmmaking. The Lit Film Fest, featuring films written, performed and filmed entirely by Primary school pupils, is soon to hit Britain's biggest cinema screen. Powered by A Tale Unfolds and supported by Innovate My School, the festival will premier at the BFI IMAX Cinema in Waterloo, London, allowing children aged 7-11 see their work showcased on the 20 x 26 metre screen!
The standards of a pupil’s literacy should, in my opinion, be not only measured by how adept they are at reading written texts, but also their ability to read media texts, too, especially in this case film. However, when the 2016 Programmes of Study for English were published, all mention of film, indeed of most media texts, had vanished and instead we were handed a throwback curriculum full of, well, dead white dudes.
Think tension. Think Music. Think a knife and a shower curtain. Think a rocking boat and glinting teeth...
When teaching my pupils about tension in narrative, I turn to film scores. We’ve all been there: a darkened cinema, the heavy breathing of a potential victim, the slow building music, an increase in heart rate. The scene reaches its climax and the victim is caught by the ghost/vampire/serial killer/rabbit. Now play the scene without the music. Does it have the same impact? Does your heart beat in quite the same way? Why does a building “duh duh…duh duh” have us sprinting for the shore?
I’m probably showing my age with this story. I was 14. It was after a sports lesson. I was tired. It was Geography. The teacher arrived at the classroom in an excited state. We were going to the A.V. room. This was indeed exciting. You must understand that this was before the days of interactive whiteboards, YouTube - using computers, indeed. Classrooms were not equipped to show moving images, so we all had to decamp to a different room set up for this very purpose. It was not even in the same block.
There seems to be a recurring theme to my lessons of late: I can link any learning moment to a Disney and/or Pixar reference. Some may see this as a distraction or a problem, but I’m in constant contact with my inner child and honestly, the students almost always get it. I was particularly proud of my efforts in a single Year 7 Science lesson one morning. We have been learning about food chains and webs and relationships between organisms. Enter the first reference:
A series of curriculum-linked resources and new teacher training from the education charity Into Film invites teachers and students to explore issues relating to online safety using the magic of the moving image. Created, respectively, for Key Stage 2 (or equivalent), Key Stage 3 and 4, and Key Stage 5, the charity’s Staying Safe Online resource – featuring teachers’ notes and Powerpoint presentations - uses carefully selected films and related activities to help educate young people on how to use technology safely and respectfully, in keeping with the Safer Internet Day 2016 theme ‘Play Your Part for a Better Internet’.
Innovate My School agony aunt and TechnoTeaching co-author Nicole Ponsford takes a look at the challenges facing teachers today.
Many people are thinking about Easter eggs and sprucing up their garden furniture at this point of the year. However, for us in the teaching world, things aren’t quite as sunny. It is, after all, the peak of the interview season (for September ‘15 starts), the time when it hits you that the exam timetable is a bit too close for comfort and if you haven't had your inspection yet, you know that you are running on borrowed time (mainly due to all of the last minute LT requests for data).