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Film studies classWe are trying to come up with more electives offered through the...

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mrsbinkc | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted December 22, 2008 at 1:23 PM via web

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Film studies class

We are trying to come up with more electives offered through the English dept. at my school.  I am interested in putting together a film studies course that would get the kids to pay more attention to movies (and pick up on details that are important...an example being the new version of Romeo and Juliet and all the costumes at the party).  Does anyone have anything like this at your school and if so, how is it set up (quarter class, semester class, etc) and what movies are taught?

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morrol | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted December 22, 2008 at 10:51 PM (Answer #2)

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Film history is a .25 credit class at my school that is coupled with "20th Century Culture". Students study different time periods, then watch films from those time periods. They start with "The Jazz Singer", and continue to present day.

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jessecreations | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted December 23, 2008 at 5:04 AM (Answer #3)

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I haven't taught this course, but two of my mentors from my last district did.  They invented the curriculum, got it approved at district level, and began teaching it this year.  I am sure they would be willing to share their knowledge with you on this topic.  You can email me at jessicacook17@hotmail.com or send me a private message on enotes and I will be happy to give you their information.

I know the course studies the thematic elements, the camera angles/lighting, etc., the characterization techniques, etc.  I'm just not sure of the specifics.

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engtchr5 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted December 23, 2008 at 12:19 PM (Answer #4)

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Literature in Film is the course title for our school; it runs for a single semester, and during that time, the teacher exposes students to movie versions of great literature: The Outsiders, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and The Yearling, to name just a few. Quizzes and activities are centered upon ideas such as plot, characters, setting, and theme, and many students take such interest in the movie version of the books that they then go check out the book from our library. Even though it's an elective, it performs a great service for our students. They become familiarized with great works of writing, and become more responsive to literature taught in regular English class.

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kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted December 27, 2008 at 9:14 PM (Answer #5)

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My English dept. has a Film as Literature course that we just developed and that was offered for the first time nearly 2 years ago.  The instructors who teach it show various "classic" films, along with some independent films, and they study the various elements in the films.  The students have LOVED the course.  It is one semester long (16 weeks).

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tsjoseph | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted December 29, 2008 at 2:06 PM (Answer #6)

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We have had a long-running film course.  It's a semester long, and organized around various units.  We studied particular directors (Hitchcock, Capra), film history, film theory and criticism, genre, etc.  We included essays of film crit, literature on which films were based (short stories, etc), and lessons on the elements of film.

The students loved the Hitchcock films.  Psycho was always a crowd-pleaser, and offered a lot of rich opportunities for discussion.

It was a great class--the main issue we had was that some students signed up and assumed it would be easy since they "got to watch movies."  Some students even wondered why we showed black and white movies in a film history class!  But it was fun to teach and I loved working on the curriculum.

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snoblitt | High School Teacher | eNoter

Posted January 3, 2009 at 8:11 AM (Answer #7)

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We have had a long-running film course.  It's a semester long, and organized around various units.  We studied particular directors (Hitchcock, Capra), film history, film theory and criticism, genre, etc.  We included essays of film crit, literature on which films were based (short stories, etc), and lessons on the elements of film.

The students loved the Hitchcock films.  Psycho was always a crowd-pleaser, and offered a lot of rich opportunities for discussion.

It was a great class--the main issue we had was that some students signed up and assumed it would be easy since they "got to watch movies."  Some students even wondered why we showed black and white movies in a film history class!  But it was fun to teach and I loved working on the curriculum.

How did other teachers in the school receive the curriculum? Students being students obviously think the class would be easy given the "watching movies class" but did you have any difficulty with other faculty having the same mindset? 

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted July 20, 2010 at 10:32 PM (Answer #8)

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Our Film and Literature class was created to show how film is a text, just like words on the page are a text, and a movie's time, space, and sound (+script) create the full experience.  It is a one semester course and each unit has a reading component and a film selection.  An example unit is Nightby Elie Wiesel and the film Life is Beautiful.  Both say something about the experience of the Holocaust, but with different mediums.  Another example is Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now.  This is a known film adaptation from that book. The film significantly changes the plot, but not the point.  We have also done units on Hero-Myth Cycle, Satire, etc.  We never read a book and watch its film version.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 14, 2011 at 12:15 PM (Answer #9)

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Using the Oscar list or AMC list might be a good place to start.  Film studies is different from literature, but there are some similarities.  You can do literature as film, which means studying films the way you would literature.  It still requires some special knowledge though.

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