Making Curriculum Pop

PLAYLIST: 'MORE' SHORT FILM LEO© for Science, Music, Art, ESL, Language Arts & Social Studies

As most of you know, I'm a HUGE fan of using short films and clips in classrooms. Posts like
VIEWING STRATEGIES: A CASE STUDY, SHORT FILM & VISUAL POETRY MOTHERLOAD OF RESOURCE, and VIEWING STRATEGIES: A CASE STUDY are worth a gander if you recently joined MC POP.

Today, I'm adding a Learning Experience Organizer (LEO) to the playlist for Mark Osbourne's 5- minute short film "More."


Ed. Note 8.5.11 - they pulled the short film from YouTube BUT iTunes just released a reg def and hi def version of short film for those of you who would like to own a pro copy of the short click HERE.

This is the first in a series of short film LEOs I'll be sharing here over the course of the year. This film, like the others, was chosen because it is a great work of art that can be used in multiple disciplines.

"More" can be used to in teach in science, art, music, ESL, foreign language, health, social studies or language arts classrooms.

First, watch the film from iTunes - it is about five minutes long:

If you would rather have a DVD of the short consider purchasing the short on any of the following DVD collections:


The Best of Wholphin: Issues 1-5 (2008) also at David Egger's McSweeney's site.
• Best of Resfest Shorts, Vol. 2 (2005)
Short 7 - Utopia (2000) The upside to this version is that it has a cool interview with the director. The downside? Because this was an early attempt at a DVD magazine you have to watch annoying commercials before viewing the short.

THE "MORE" LEO


Nicole and I suggested these as possible essential questions for the film:

1. What intellectual and emotional effects do “More’s” cinematic elements (setting, set design, color, lighting, camera angles, etc.) have on the viewer? 2. Do all scientific innovations represent progress? 3. Do dreams and visions come at a cost? 4. Can one buy happiness and bliss? 5. Does “the invention” serve as a metaphor for other ways people seek escape?
6. Is childhood a place of pure happiness?

7. How are “happiness” and “bliss” marketed to us on a daily basis?

8. What does “the fire in the belly” mean historically, culturally and personally?

9. Is conformity positive or negative?

10. What is the relationship between isolation, connection and success?


The short film LEO's I'm creating are designed to be one page of background, essential questions and connections and a graphic organizer to help students with close/repeated viewing.

Recenly, I presented this LEO as part of a session on short film at NCTE with Mary T. Christel (Seeing & Believing: How to Teach Media Literacy in the English ... & Lesson Plans for Creating Media-Rich Classrooms) and Elizabeth Stanley of Bullfrog Films.

Short films and clips lend themselves to multiple viewings during which students can peel layers off the film. They allow you to do at least three viewings of the film in a class period. At our presentation Mary recommended teachers allow for at least three viewings. The first viewing allows students to “take it all in, and form a first impression.” The second viewing allows students to view with a specific focus and the third viewing allows the class to “put it all together.”

Shorts build students’ familiarity with close viewing and repeated viewing; these skills transfer to (and from) print texts if you model and explore their similarity to re-reading and close reading. (Again see this science class example - VIEWING STRATEGIES: A CASE STUDY).

I love "More" because there is no dialogue, so students are forced to concentrate on the visual (and the soundtrack) in their search for meanings. The graphic organizer I put together for the film (attached below) is all about making claims and supporting those claims with textual evidence.

Unlike the massive - and extremely specific - differentiated lesson plans we create for the Mindblue Music LEOs, the PDF below makes suggestions for how you might connect this short to your teaching.

If you check out the strategies outlined in PLAYLIST: How To Make Curriculum Pop - A Philosophy you can go to town with this text as it has so many possibilities for teachers.

Nicole and I came up with a bunch of connections and then I added suggestions from teachers who caught the presentation at NCTE.


Looking at the list now, it might be cool for foreign language or ESL teachers to have students add subtitles to the film! Perhaps we need more language and vocabulary ideas?

Additionally, people always mention that the "Happy" & "Bliss" products are like drugs. If you used that direct-link approach you could use the short in Health classes with a great song like The Verve's "The Drugs Don't Work." Note the children playing in The Verve's video for the song. Very strong connection.

I'd like to do another edit of this LEO where I add suggestions and edits from MC POP people - what would you use "More" to teach in your classroom?

Please share your ideas below!


Thanks for reading!

Ryan:)

DON'T FORGET - the PDF is attached below. This version comes with the short film resource guide - that way if you share the doc with colleagues they will have a list of resources to help them find cool short films!

RELATED POSTS:
PLAYLIST: Decoding Symbolic Language Part 1
PLAYLIST: Decoding Symbolic Language Part 2 - 10 PDF PAGES OF FUN!
RESOURCE: Art Inst of Chicago Lesson Plan "We Will Not Become What ...)

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Hi Kate! OMG, so glad to hear you dug this up on the playlist - it does tend to have stuff people can use.  Isn't that a great short?  I'll be starting up regular broadcasts soon so you'll get a feel for other stuff at the site - I had some big surgeries this summer (not brain...yet) and a book deadline so I've let the site go for the last month so it is great to hear people are still finding cool stuff! Did you use the graphic organizer?

yes, I used the graphic organizer.  I introduced the lesson with a mini-lesson on strategies for recognizing/locating symbolism.  Then I showed it once asking them to "take it all in."  Next I passed out the handout with the list of symbols, and we discussed the first one (fire in the belly) - where it was located, what possible meaning, what clues were used to locate it....

Then we played it again, and students filled out the first box for each symbol (some tackled the other boxes).  We completed a few with the whole class participation, and then they finished the sheet on their own.  It was wonderful!  The kids either loved the short or hated it.  I thought the best thing about it was their realization that they didn't understand it AT ALL (For the most part) during the first viewing.  Then when they had the focus of looking for specific symbols, the meaning was just leaping out at them.  It was a great lesson to teach them that a second view (or close read) is so valuable.  And to show how much meaning symbolism contributes.

 

Thanks so much!  I would love to use any of your LEO's -

Kate, this is so excellent - that is actually WHY I think it is such a great teaching film - NO WORDS right? So they really have to read it like they would a painting but they CAN get there if they try and re-read (and have a workable graphic organizer). Sounds like you did a brilliant job with it - again - thank you for sharing and keep in touch!
Do you think that this short could be paired with The Giver? It was my first association when watching the film and now I'm trying to articulate how they are similar thematically.

Hi Joe, 

I think The Giver would be a great connection. First, you could have the students try to find the connection but if you want to use it as a focal point or lesson intro you have the themes of - the meaning of color, the costs of costs of conformity, the paradox of knowledge (it brings both joy and despair) and the loss of innocence themes as well. Maybe those will help get you started? Ry

Thank you so much Ryan! I'm going to look into doing this. I'm a relatively new teacher (3rd year) and I just went from teaching high school to middle school. I used some short films with my high schoolers (will start posting links and recommendations soon) but I haven't attempted it yet at this level. I want to make sure they can make some of the higher level connections (IE the loss of color in 'More') to the novel.
Maybe make a mirror graphic organizer to the one here for the Giver so they can see the parallels? E-mail me if you need the word template (rrg75@me.com).
Exactly what I was thinking of doing, mirroring your LEO and adding in a connecter for The Giver. I'll work on that, thank you so much for your help.
Cool, man.  Let me know how it goes or if you're feeling really adventurous you should write a blog here about it and I'll share it with everyone!  Stay groovy! Ry:)

Hey Ryan,

I finally had an opportunity to work with More and some of the other resources here. Due to time constraints I was not able to use it as a companion piece to The Giver but I did use it as a way of introducing the novel.

On day one I took a more traditional approach, using a PowerPoint and note taking to explain symbolism in literature to my eighth graders. We went over the basic stuff as a review then touched  definitions and examples of concrete vs. abstract symbolism, allegory, parable, etc.

On day two we worked with Book From The Ground. I modified and shortened it at points and we discussed universal symbols.

On day three we came in and reviewed some of the concepts associated with abstract symbolism and close reading (which we have started doing with poetry). I then asked what sort of 'cinematic elements' we would look at if we were to do a close reading of More, and we drew a tandem between what we look for in literature and film. We watched the film three times, first to take it in, second to analyze the symbols on the chart (which we then discussed), and finally to determine theme in the film.

Thank you for the advice and resources, the film was very well received and they've been talking about it all week. I'm attaching my lesson and handouts below - they are very similar but I have an added previewing question sheet, shortened the chart, and added a connecting question at the bottom.

If anyone is interested in doing this lesson just keep in mind time - the period times vary in my school so I did not always finish it in one period, I would say with an engaged class that is giving you a lot of feedback it will take about an hour of instruction.

Attachments:

Joe, Woza thank you so much for writing!  It is always awesome to see how people approach the remix.  I love how your opening LEO has them make that direct transference from print to visual.  That was cool and it looks like they shared their thoughts there as well.

You also did a great job of aligning it all to the CCS! You look like you hit it out of the park. Also sounds like you had some fun with Book from the Ground - that is a bit of a mind melt but fun for kids, eh?

If you have some energy over break you should do a blog elaborating a bit on what you wrote above (at your settings or something you have a "my blog or discussion" option) about how you remixed the playlist and then we could actually make a sep. playlist link to YOUR docs. Because who knows how many people will get this far into the comment wall, right? If you did that I could broadcast it as a playlist remix when I'm healed up!  

Thanks again for taking the time to write - I'm very honored that my babble was  useful to you! 

Have a great holiday and keep being awesome! 

Ry:)

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