From Screen to Page
This unit is designed to promote the subjective nature of interpreting both poetry and moving image. It will give opportunities for pupils to respond to text and to appreciate the creativity in a range of responses. It will also encourage pupils to see, through doing, how moving image can help to interpret the written word.
- How can I create the right mood?
- What are the best words?
- What worked and what didn’t?
How can I create the right mood?
Pupils are learning to:
- to use inference and deduction and to identify how meaning is created, using evidence from the texts;
- to develop active reading approaches and to engage with and make sense of texts: visualising, predicting, empathising and relating to own experience.
Provide pupils with a list of adjectives which conjure up a range of moods. Ask pupils, in pairs, to cluster together groups of adjectives which they think relate to a similar mood. Take feedback and discuss their ideas.
Explain that you are going to show the visual part only of a short film made by high school pupils. Pupils’ task is to watch it carefully and then decide which adjectives of mood most accurately fit the pictures.
Show pupils the version of My Place which has no soundtrack. After this silent clip, give individuals a short time to jot down appropriate adjectives. Then ask pairs to discuss their adjectives and explain which particular shots from the film made them think of these adjectives.
Show the silent film again. Ask pupils to watch carefully. Are there other adjectives they might now think of or other shots in the film which reinforce adjectives chosen previously? Discuss the sort of music which might be playing behind the images of the film. What tempo might appropriate music be played at? What instruments might be heard?
Lead whole-class discussion on suggestions about the mood of the piece and the textual detail which supports these ideas.
Direct pupils to draft ideas for a voice soundtrack which might accompany the film. Explain to them that they should write in the first person. The purpose of this is to help them empathise with the character in the film whose own words will be heard later.
Remind pupils that they have been inferring and deducing meaning simply on the basis of visual imagery. Use a few examples from the discussion, including explicit reference to visual images, to illustrate that different interpretations are valid.
What are the best words?
Pupils are learning to:
- to improve their ability to write descriptively, using appropriate detail to create an accurate and evocative piece.
Develop drafts from lesson one. Remind pupils that their writing needs to use evocative words to capture the mood of the film.
Show the silent film again.
Allow an appropriate length of time for independent drafting of first person narratives to accompany the film.
Working in pairs, pupils read each other’s drafts and discuss links between particular words and phrases and visual images from the film. Encourage pupils to offer constructive criticism of each other’s work.
Share pupil work.
What worked and what didn’t?
Pupils are learning to:
- to comment, using appropriate terminology, on how texts convey mood.
Recap on what ‘evocative’ writing means. Ask pupils to read through their partner’s finished piece and choose the one sentence they found to be most strongly evocative. Share a few examples with the class.
Show the class the audio version of My Place. Take a few initial reactions to what they think of the soundtrack only.
Read the poem.
Considering the film, ask pairs to list three things which they thought worked well and three things which they thought did not work so effectively. Remind pupils that they need to be specific in their textual references.
Discuss some of the opinions of the strengths and weaknesses of My Place.
Show the full version of My Place again. Ask pupils to view critically and note the visual variety which the poem film uses in terms of shot types and camera angles. Lead a whole class discussion about the visual variety, looking at particular sections of the film to exemplify ideas. Stress that deliberate choices have been made by the author/filmmaker and discuss the effect achieved by some of them, e.g. the angles used for the final shots.
For more information on film language go to www.filmeducation.org
Remind pupils that both print and moving image can evoke strong emotions but this can only be done through very careful choices regarding words and / or images / sound.
Poem: My Place
(in memory of all victims of bullying)
A paradise, that's what I'd love,
Somewhere sacred, way above,
Somewhere I can call my own
Somewhere I can be alone.
In my dreams I have a place;
Far, far away, out in space,
When I'm down and full of woe,
My dreams, that's where I go.
A place where I can feel warm inside,
A place where I can hide.
Safety. Security. Satisfied.
Protection. Privacy. And pride.
My dream. My Eldorado.
No pain. No grief. No sorrow.