Film Shaping Minds

Welcome to the ’13-’14 school year.

This week we are kicking off our ’13-’14 AY Moving Images-Moving Forward blog.

The mission of our blog is to provide film and media literacy resources to middle school, high school, and college educators.  In this space, we will create conversations about film analysis related resources, classroom activities, and pedagogy.  We will also provide interactive discussions that you can use in your classrooms.

Every Monday at 9AM (Mountain) we will post a film literacy resource, classroom activity, or educational discussion.

This week Executive Director, Laurie Chin Sayres discusses:

  1. the importance of being film and media literate; and
  2. why it’s important to bring film analysis into history classes.

Please comment below or discuss with us on 

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Film Shaping Minds

by Laurie Chin Sayres

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Film camp student explores moving images and lighting.

In many years of teaching students at multiple levels, one truth has become clear to me: students, even those having the benefit of strong curricula and innovative teaching methods, often lack the ability to effectively understand how images shape their understanding of events and how they view the world.

Therefore, it is critical that we bring film and media literacy into our classrooms to:

1) equip students with critical thinking skills;

2) engage students with the educational process; and

3) provide students with the skills necessary to be capable citizens.

We often downplay or even ignore the influence moving images have on our understanding of the world because we consider movies and TV to be entertainment only.  Although I agree that film and television primarily serve as entertainment in our society, making the assumption that movies and TV do not shape the way see the world simply because these moving images may not influence our factual reality is dangerous. This dismissive perspective prevents us from bringing film into our educational system in any meaningful capacity.

Our understanding of the world is formed by personal interaction with people, places, and things, and in large part, by movie and TV images.  Once we see something it becomes a visual reality—even if not a factual reality.  For example, we know that Jaws is not a real shark, yet the moving images of the animatronic shark have clearly shaped our collective image of great white sharks and our behaviors towards the ocean and beach culture.

Similar to reading illiteracy, students who cannot decode or think critically about moving images are at a disadvantage because they do not have the ability to navigate a world saturated with moving images.  To help students become media literate and understand the role of images in shaping the way they see the world, it is important to shift from talking about thematic content to analyzing moving images from a visual and technical perspective.

Helping students read and decode moving images includes teaching them about the components of images, from camera framing to lighting to editing. With this knowledge, students will be able to see and discuss the ways images convey certain ideas and attitudes. An effective hands-on vehicle to teach these lessons is film production. This tactile approach adds an important dimension to students’ understanding of film literacy.

Armed with film literacy skills, students will then be able to engage in critical thinking conversations about how moving images shape our ideas and perspectives, providing students with valuable education and life skills. For example, students will be able to discuss the ways extreme close-up (XCU) shots have the ability to convey more intimate emotion and the ways lighting can shape the attitude we have toward the subjects in the image.

It is no secret that once we leave the classroom we find ourselves in a world where its understanding of history is largely shaped by media images, not academic study.  So, let’s bring film into social studies classrooms to help students navigate both the academic study of history and also our collective popular culture image of the past—the version of history our society uses to make many of its decisions.

A discussion example can be found in Glory.  This 1989 film ends with the camera first zooming into a close-up of several dead African-American Civil War soldiers, then the camera moves in even closer to see the one white officer who agreed to lead this regiment, dead in the trenches. Would the idea of the past have been different if the film ended a few scenes earlier with a medium shot of soldiers both charging their enemies and also falling to the bayonet? Both scenes can be construed as “factually accurate,” yet visually each scene leaves audiences with a very different picture of the past.

Once students recognize that film images have influence on the ways we think they respond with enthusiasm. For they are now able to think critically about the moving images that surround them in the classroom and as they move throughout their lives.

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Sign up for our e-newsletter for more lesson plans and classroom conversations. Click here. 

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Bring Labragirl into your classroom. Contact us at info@labragirlfilmproject.org or fill out our Interest & Inquiry Form.

It’s Summertime

Welcome to the Labragirl Film Project’s weekly film literacy discussion. Every Monday morning Labragirl provides a resource, activity, or methodological discussion to help incorporate film analysis into your classroom.

Last week we joined a conversation about Spike Lee’s visual portrayal of Malcolm X from our sister company – Labragirl Pictures’ blog.

This week we celebrate the completion of another successful school year.

Please comment below or discuss with us on 

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Well “It’s A Wrap” on yet another school year. Congratulations on a successful academic year.

Our Moving Images—Moving Forward blog will be back in the beginning of August with resource suggestions, classroom exercises, and historical discussions all designed to help you bring film literacy into your classrooms during AY13-14!

In the meantime, if you have questions about film analysis and/or film literacy please don’t hesitate to contact us at hello@labragirlfilmproject.org.

Have a wonderful summer.

Thanks,

Laurie

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Do you teach film reading and film analysis?

What are some exercises you use?

We’d love to hear from you.

Please comment below or discuss with us on .

*Disclaimer: All movie clips are suggestions for class use, only. All instructors should screen clips to determine if they are appropriate to use in their classrooms. 

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UP NEXT: See you in August!

Labragirl FP-logo-color-reverse

   

Sign up for our e-newsletter for more lesson plans and classroom conversations. Click here. 

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Bring Labragirl into your classroom. Contact us at info@labragirlfilmproject.org or fill out our Interest & Inquiry Form.

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Previous Blog Entries

Lost Voices: X’s Story Restored

Lost Voices: The Stoning of Soraya M.

Film & Cultural Memory I

Film Education

Relevance – the 4th ‘R’

Making Film I

Talking Film I

Downton Abbey in Your Class #1 – Roll Sound!

Reading Film

Fictional Projections of History

Think Globally Using Film

Our Relationship with Movies

Moving Past Historical Accuracy

Images Telling Stories

Film Shaping History

Think Film Images

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©2013 Labragirl Film Project. All rights reserved.

Think Film Images

Labragirl's Executive Director Laurie Chin Sayres discussing film reading at a Labragirl filmmaking & film analysis camp

Labragirl’s Executive Director Laurie Chin Sayres discussing film reading at a Labragirl filmmaking & film analysis camp

Welcome to the launch of the Labragirl Film Project’s Moving Images-Moving Forward blog. 

The mission of our blog is to provide a valuable resource to middle school, high school, and college educators. In this space, we will create conversations about film analysis related resources, classroom activities, and pedagogy. We will also provide interactive discussions that you can use in your classrooms.

About the Labragirl Film Project

The Labragirl Film Project is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to encouraging the use of film to effect social change.

To bring life to our mission we:

  • Incorporate Labragirl’s innovative film analysis approach into K-16 classrooms and educational curricula
  • Bring innovative filmmaking & film analysis camps to middle school, high school, and college classrooms
  • Reach out to the community with coffee talks, film screenings, and curated film festivals to create a more film literate and engaged society
  • Provide micro-grants to young students & filmmakers working on projects that address Labragirl’s issues of interest

Why 

The driving force behind the Labragirl Film Project is our belief that moving images are powerful influences in our society. Because of this we believe it is critical that schools use film literacy, media literacy, and critical thinking curricula in their classrooms.

We believe that if students gain film analysis skills as well as the ability to participate in discussions about the cultural impact of visual images they will be more engaged in their education and daily lives.

Our hope is that the Labragirl Moving Images—Moving Forward blog will be a space for conversation about the power of images in our society as well as a way to provide teachers with valuable tools and resources that will help them to incorporate film analysis into their classrooms.

Labragirl Conversations

Each Monday morning at approximately 9AM (Mountain Time, Go Colorado!) we will post a new conversation. These posts will range from a classroom resource suggestion to a pedagogical discussion to conversations that can be used in your classrooms.

We are really looking forward to conversing with you and learning more about your educational goals and interests. So, please comment below or e-mail us with any questions you have, ideas you’d like to share, or issues you’d like us to address in one of our weekly blog discussions.

You can reach us at blog@labragirlfilmproject.org or talk with us on  .

Be A Part of the Conversation

We are excited to talk with you. Please let us know what interests you have or what questions you’d like to address in this space.

  • What interest do you have in incorporating film analysis into your classroom?
  • Are there any obstacles you have that make it difficult to incorporate film literacy into your classroom?
  • Do you have a question about a particular resource? Or, would you like to recommend a particular resource?
  • Are you looking for certain film analysis activities?
  • What questions do you have?

Let’s talk film images,

Laurie

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UP NEXT 1/21:

A resource recommendation to help develop film analysis in American History classes.

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