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Film Review

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Michelle Jilesen

Michelle Jilesen

About the Author

Michelle is an Educator with a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Education from UOIT. Michelle has lead coding workshops with students in JK – Secondary school. She enjoys camping and being outdoors. One of her passions is to inspire girls to take an interest in math, science and technology.

Art & Design, Digital Storytelling
Lesson Plan

Introduction

Students will learn how to write a film review. They will analyze short films by  looking at the intended audience, point of view and purpose.

Learning Goals: 

Students will learn how to watch film critically and not just consume it. In examining  the purpose of the product, they will learn to identify how the purpose and its audience can impact the direction of  the film.

Vocabulary: 

Point of View or Perspective
the position from which something is observed
Intended Audience
a group of people for which the product is made

Guiding Questions:

  1. What kind of emotions have you felt while watching a movie? (Happy, sad, excited etc.) 
  2. How can you tell if a movie is for children, older kids or adults?

Curriculum Links: 

Analyzing media products is a skill that links to the media arts portion of the language arts curriculum. Students will look at films critically, while exploring their purpose and audience. Creating a review improves written communication. At the end of the module students will use Flipgrid to create a short video review which will also develop oral communication skills. 

Materials

  • Children’s story book
  • Whiteboard and markers
  • Projector with sound
  • Devices with webcams (iPad, tablet, computer)
  • Paper and pencils
  • Flipgrid account (https://flipgrid.com/)

Non-Computer Activity

Read a short children’s story aloud. Discuss the book together as a group, and then work together to write a short book review. This book review will serve as an example when students are writing their own film reviews. 

Questions to consider before writing the book review:

  1. What is the purpose of this book? 
  2. What is the difference between the plot and the story?
  3. Does it teach a lesson? If so, what is the lesson? 
  4. Who is this book intended for? (Children, adults, boys, girls, etc)
  5. What did you like about it? What didn’t you like?
  6. How did the book make you feel?
  7. From whose point of view is the story told? How can you tell?

The Book Review

Students then collectively write a review of the book. It will include: 1-2 sentences describing the story, 1-2 sentences describing the characters, 1-2 sentences describing the plot (no spoilers!) and a sentence stating their opinion on the story. 
For fun, students can give the book a star rating. 

Note: you can adjust your expectations of the book review based on the students’ abilities. 

Computer Activity

As a class, watch three short films. Before watching, remind the students to think of the questions and topics they considered for the book review. After each film, ask students to answer each of the 6 questions by doing a “Think, Pair, Share” with the person beside them. Each student will then write a film review for one of the films of their choice. They should follow the same format demonstrated by the book review.  

Activity:

Review of Questions:

Together, review  the questions that students need to consider while watching the films. It may be helpful to post these somewhere in the classroom for students to reference. 

  1. What is the purpose of this film? 
  2. Does it teach a lesson? If so, what is the lesson?
  3. Who is this film intended for? (Children, adults, boys, girls, etc)
  4. What did you like about it? What didn’t you like?
  5. How did the film make you feel?
  6. From whose point of view is the story told from? How can you tell?
  7. Some of these films use no dialog or speaking. How do you know what the story is about?

It may also be beneficial to discuss  what makes a good film. What do you enjoy about films? What don’t you enjoy? Think about the films you like to watch. Is there anything that they have in common? Students may want to pay attention to the way the film is shot. Do the directors use a variety of camera angles and movements? How can the movement of the camera convey the message or the feeling of the scene?

Viewing the Films

Below are three short films that could be used in your lesson. Always prescreen videos before showing them to your class to ensure the content is age-appropriate and acceptable for your students. All of the short films below relate to space. For more space-related  animation activity, please visit the “Trip to the Moon” lesson. 

Coin Operated: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5L4DQfVIcdg

Soar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUlaseGrkLc

La Luna: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbuq7w3ZDUQ

After each film, have students do a “Think, Pair, Share” with the person beside them. Each pair will spend  two minutes discussing their answers to the questions above. . tudents can volunteer to share their thoughts with the class. After all three short films have been viewed and discussed, students can begin writing their reviews. 

Writing the Film Review

Students will each pick one of the three films While writing their film review for that film, students should follow the same format as that of  the book review. The finished film reviews can be posted around the classroom so everyone can see other students’ work. 

Write 1-2 sentences describing the story, 1-2 sentences describing the characters, 1-2 sentences describing the plot (no spoilers!) and a sentence stating your opinion on the story. For additional fun students can give the film a star rating.

Conclusion

Students will use Flipgrid to record their short film review. They can watch other reviews to see how other people reviewed each film. The teacher can pick a few reviews to share with the class.. 

Before the lesson go to https://flipgrid.com/ and create a teacher account. Select “My Grids” from the top menu and click the “Add New Grid” button. Fill in the information based on your class. Next, you will need to add a new topic. We recommend that you create a topic for each of the short films you’ve shown to the class. The time students are allowed for recording can be adjusted while making the topics.

In Flipgrid, a written prompt can be given and additional attachments can be added as well. Once each topic is set up you can share it with your students. QR codes can also be printed off for students to scan. Once students have used the QR code or the link they can click the plus sign icon to add their video. The teacher will be able to view and assess the videos once they are posted. 

If you do not have the resources to use Flipgrid have students volunteer to read their reviews aloud to the class.

Resources

Jen Giffer @VirtualGiff on twitter is a lipgrid supporter. She has presented Flipgrid at conferences and has created posts about using it in the classroom.

Scholastic (https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plans/teaching-content/writing-movie-reviews-lights-camera-publish/ )  For a lesson on writing movie reviews that is part of a larger unit.

My English Pages (https://www.myenglishpages.com/site_php_files/writing-film-book-review.php) For a detailed list of things to consider and  write about when creating a book or film review.

Inhabit Media (https://inhabitmedia.com/books/children/)  Nunavut-based publishing company that hasstories for children that could be appropriate for  the non-computer activity. 

Wolfcrow (https://wolfcrow.com/15-essential-camera-shots-angles-and-movements/) A review of 15 essential camera shots and how they are used in films. 

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