Apps for Making Movies

burns-apps-making-movies-flickr_0

Just came across an interesting article about apps for making movies. I decided to share it with my students; those who are blogging and those taking the course on films. All students will benefit. They’ll be creating their own original video during the school year so every little bit of help will count! I’ll advise them to first look at the freebies to try out. Then if they’re really serious, they can purchase an app that suits their needs.

You can check out the article by Monica Burns here at http://www.edutopia.org/blog/apps-making-movies-mobile-devices  I think you’ll find it very useful!

Who knows? Maybe I’ll create a video of my own!  I have to model for my students, of course, and it might just prove to be fun!~~LMMolina

This course on Movies and Films

It’s been about a month since I started teaching the course on Movies and Films to 2 groups of Juniors and Seniors. I have one all-male group and the other group has only 2 females. This has put a bit of pressure on me as an instructor. The films I select will have to cater to the male point of view while keeping in mind that the female plays a strong role in many films. I admit it will be interesting as well as challenging. But as always, I’m up to a good challenge. Isn’t that part of a teacher’s job description?

We’ve watched a Coen brothers’ film: Hail Caesar! and Rob Reiner’s Stand By Me.  Both films have crude language and refer to poor life styles…drinking, sex, and the usual elements found in most films. Even though I teach in a Catholic school, I cannot in all honesty present films that avoid issues that will affect my students sooner or later in life.  They will be exposed to all sorts of situations, if they haven’t been already. So I’d like to think I’m “teaching” them to handle these life-altering events when they do confront them. At least, it just might help them put things in perspective. It could lead to some thought-provoking debates.  What better way of doing this than through a film which presents an issue that fires up the human soul?  ~~LMMolina

 

What do we learn from films?

The movies

This year I was offered the opportunity to teach an elective course on films to a group of ninth graders. The main goal was reinforcing English-language skills through movies and at the same time integrating a bit of technology in the process. So far it’s been a wonderful experience. Each student created a blog where he documented his ideas about the films viewed in and outside of the classroom. I’ve learned a lot about each and everyone of my students. I’ve gotten an idea of how they feel on certain topics and why they feel that way. It’s been an eye opener, for sure!

I’m looking forward to teaching the course next year to another group of students, this time to 11th and 12th graders. Something I have to keep in mind is the content of the course. While I will not shy away from topics such as misuse of drugs or sex, I will take into consideration which films are more suited to students at that age level and the issues they have to deal with on a daily basis.

Viewing a film is similar to reading a novel, only with visuals.  It has it pros and cons. When watching a movie, not much is left to the imagination unless the director is really clever. Reading a novel or short story lets the mind explore different scenarios.

Just like a good book, films can set the tone for a discussion of conflicts. They can also be used to discover how a certain scene can produce a variety of emotions or how a director plays on the emotions of a particular audience.

With movies, music and lighting set the mood and these elements subject the audience to feelings they might not even know they had. Sure, a good novel can do that, too. But a movie has a certain time limit and within that a director must do what a novelist might find difficult.

How do you feel about reading a novel as compared to viewing a film with the same plot? Which would you prefer? I guess it all depends on the topic and the interests of the person. With films and novels anything and everything is up for debate. That’s what makes it fun!~~LMMolina

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