Reflections on a Busy Semester: Movies and Technology

Movie promo posters under construction

Movie promo posters

I’m taking some time off for reflecting on a semester that’s almost over. Time goes by so fast you wonder where it went and if you accomplished anything with the students. This semester has been an interesting one to say the least. What’s new for me? The opportunity to offer an elective course on movies and combine it with a bit of technology. A very unique experience, I must say!  I once assisted a university professor in a similar course but I admit that teaching it to ninth graders is not the same. For one, their tastes are vastly different so I’ve had to make adjustments. While I can’t show Ms. Butterfly to this age group, I can show Hugo.  It’s just as entertaining and enlightening and gives these teens an idea about the beginnings of film-making. As always, I learn something new even if I’ve seen the films before I show them in class.

Through this course, I’ve had the students do a number of presentations using the Cloud, in their case Google Slides. They’ve presented information on their favorite movies, actors and film directors. It’s been a wonderful way of getting to know them through their interests in the kinds of movies they enjoy watching.  Some have surprised me with their choices. Pleasantly in some cases, in others, not so much. It’s a generation thing.

I’ve also had the students use the blogging platform to document their work. Each has created their own blog using either WordPress or Blogger.  I, of course, use my site to post assignments and guide them through theirs.  Posted material has included citing lines from films and the actors who said them, why they chose that particular line, director of film, release date, and so forth. Movie clips have also been included in the students’ blogs.  Some surprises here, too.

One particular project that I wanted the students to do was a movie promo poster. In this case, an imaginary movie. So far it’s been a unique experience. I provided the poster board to control proportions. Students had to bring in the materials (cut outs, glue, scissors and such) and limit construction to class time. Since I teach in the computer lab I did not allow glitter. Everything else was left to the imagination.

What’s ahead? Comparing teen books with the film version, movie critics and their singular views, maybe a short film production or the trailer of one. Who knows? All I know is that it’s going to be another busy semester!~~LMM



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