The Story of Movies
In today’s world, being able to interpret, analyze and discuss moving images may be as important as knowing how to read. And having an opportunity to practice these skills in a classroom environment is one way that students could gain access to one of the most American art forms: movies. But many students are never explicitly taught these skills. As a part of popular culture, kids are assumed to “get” movies just by seeing them. That is why The Film Foundation has created The Story of Movies, a free middle school curriculum that teaches literacy in moving images. What Do Kids Learn from Movies? The goal of The Story of Movies project is to teach literacy in moving images. This type of literacy is widely applicable in today’s world, and helps students to understand, analyze and discuss many forms of media. The Story of Movies teaches five key aspects of movie literacy: 1. film language, 2. historical and cultural contexts, 3. production and creative expression, 4. viewers’ response and aesthetic valuing, and 5. cross-curricular connections. Created by The Film Foundation, the curriculum also cultivates an appreciation for the American heritage of cinema by connecting classic films to contemporary circumstances. The films used are The Day The Earth Stood Still, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and To Kill a Mockingbird. How Kids Learn from Movies In the class, it isn’t just what students learn that matter, but also how they learn it. The interdisciplinary lesson-plans of The Story of Movies will have a high impact on students with a visual learning style, whose needs aren’t often addressed by conventional lesson plans. Successful classroom teachers strive to plan lessons and teach in a manner that simultaneously addresses the needs of students with multiple learning styles. While movie lesson plans will obviously reach visual learners, The Story of Movies is designed to take into account the needs of students with other learning styles as well. By teaching visual literacy in an interdisciplinary manner, these lesson plans will increase students’ ability to learn about more than just movies. Who Made The Story of Movies? The Film Foundation created The Story of Movies in partnership with IBM and Turner Classic Movies. The Film Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 by the legendary filmmakers Martin Scorsese, Woody Allan, Robert Altman, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas, Sydney Pollack, Robert Redford and Steven Spielberg to protect and preserve America’s cinematic heritage. The curriculum is available for free to middle school teachers throughout the United States. Who Can Teach The Story of Movies? Any middle school classroom teacher can teach The Story of Movies. The curriculum includes complete movie lesson plans intended to be used in a specific sequence to maximize student understanding. It includes basic contextual information for educators and does not require particular expertise in the areas of film production or film studies. The only requirement is that a teacher be able to clear four to six weeks of class time for the lessons. A genuine love of movies will also be a valuable instructional tool and may prove contagious.