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

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.


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!


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!

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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I cross-posted this on another Ning and author Julie Hahnke added this suggestion from Fablevision as a great short for the same theme for the elementary & middle school set!

The short was written by children's book author Peter Reynolds
Pure genius... this film would work wonders with a text like Anthem. I will be using it in my classroom in the weeks to come!
Yeah, I wonder what Ayn Rand whould say about "More/"

BTW did you catch the two clips related to Ayn Rand from the Colbert Report and the Daily Show? They might also be fun for your students.
I am thinking about using this to introduce symbolism when my students read LORD OF THE FLIES. The book is filled with symbolism, but the students have such a hard time grasping some of the meaning behind the symbols. I think this will be a good way to start.
Melissa, thank you for sharing - yes, it is really great idea for what you want as it is LOADED with symbols! Generally, they can work everything through - and enjoy doing it. You can screen it about 3 times because it is so short. If you use it and the LEO - let us know how it goes we'd love to hear!!!
Very powerful! The use of shorts teaches to 21st century learners. I can see using "More" in a language arts class for mood, theme, symbols, is endless. Mixing up traditional print text with non-print text is a quick and easy way to differentiate in the classroom.
It also could be a way to talk about work in the 21st Century - have things changed that much since the Industrial Revolution? Are we really in the Information Age? Those seem like open ended questions to me. Thanks for taking the time to check this out Susan.

As I worked on my lesson plans for this week, I thought the same thing about the Industrial Revolution! Thanks for the great stuff Ryan! :)
Glad you've found it useful :)
I agree that this could be great for ESL students stylistic devices. I find that often ESL are often confused by fiction, even high level English speakers. They are so often confused that they sometimes don't know why - is it a symbol or metaphor or just a word or situation that isn't being understood? Directly teaching stylistic elements is an important tool for ESL student comprehension.

Joan, that is a great point.  If you end up giving it a try do let us know how it goes!  BTW - if you look at the end of the second page of discussion there are a few nice adaptations done by Joe Anthony that you might find useful as well!

This made my curriculum pop today!  I am doing a unit with my 10th grade English class on dystopia.  I was perusing the playlist yesterday, and luckily made it down to this lesson....perfect timing for my class!

One of my students left first period this morning saying "great lesson today Miss!"




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