AHS MediaWorks Lesson Plans

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1 AHS MediaWorks Lesson Plans Albany High School Discovery Academy - ELA/MediaWorks 9 Teaching Artist: Gaetano Vaccaro ELA Teacher: Mercedes Austin Semester 1 - Q1 & Q2 Q1 Lessons 1. I Am Poem and Collage 2. Cinematic Terminology 3. Balcony Scene Comparison 4. Video Scavenger Hunt + Review 5. Sequencing + Show, Don t Tell Short 60 Sec Film Q2 Lessons 1. Narrative Structure (Plot Chart) 2. Short Film Pre-Production a. Short Film Proposal + One-Page Pitch b. Film Pitches c. Story Development / Scene Creation a. Script / Shot List / Production Schedule 3. Film Style Analysis a. Lighting b. Sound c. Editing 4. Frida Storyboard and Script Analysis

2 Quarter 1 Lesson Plans Q1 Lesson 1 I Am Poem and Collage Students created a small personal collage based on a single line from an I Am poem. All of the smaller personal collages were then pieced together to create a large multi-class mural collage. - Students will write an I Am poem based on a poem template. - Students will demonstrate visualization by finding imagery in magazines to line up with a chosen line from their I Am poem. Lesson 1: I Am Poem Students are given an I Am poem template along with an example poem and given a class period to write and craft their personal poems. Students are then given the opportunity to finish their I Am poems for homework to be able to bring in to collage with for the following lesson. Lesson 2: Personal Collage Students are asked to take out their I Am poems and to read them over in order to choose the most important line to use in their collage. Students are shown some examples of a mini-collage and then asked to take their chosen line and create their own collage. Students are given magazines, markers and other supplies and given the period to create visuals for their chosen line. Q1 Lesson 2 Cinematic Terminology Students will take notes on fundamental cinematic terms to lay the foundation of creating films. Video and still image examples will be given to illustrate the use of camera framing, angles and movement.

3 1. Students will be able to demonstrate the meaning and use of various camera shots, angles and motion. Lesson 1: Camera Notes Students are given a graphic organizer to take notes on the basics of camera framing (wide, medium close up, etc ), camera angle (high, low, eye, etc ), and camera motion (tilt, pan, track, etc ). Students take notes on the definition as well as the purpose of using each shot in a film. As a visual, students are shown examples from a scene in director Baz Luhrmann s 1996 version of Romeo and Juliet. Q1 Lesson 3 Balcony Scene Comparison By comparing two film representations of the famous balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, students learn to identify the importance of set design, lighting as well as actor s movement and blocking in creating the tone and mood of a film. 1. Students will be able to identify elements of lighting, set design and the blocking of actors. 2. Students will be able to discuss a director s choices in the use of those elements and their impact on the scene s tone and mood. Lesson 1: Mise-En-Scene Notes Students are given notes on Mise-en-scene, which refers to everything that appears before the camera and its arrangement composition, sets, props, actors, costumes, and lighting. Students are shown examples from movie stills to discuss the overall impact of the placement of all of those elements. Students are also given the term blocking to discuss the placement of actors in a scene. Lesson 2: Film Comparison Students are given a graphic organizer to take notes on the mise-en-scene of the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. After review of how to take notes while watching the films, students watch Baz Luhrmann's 1996 version followed by Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 version of the same scene. Before leaving class, students are asked to write their initial

4 reaction to the films based on the elements discussed within the mise-en-scene. Lesson 3: Comparison Essay Using their initial notes on mise-en-scene along with their notes from the two film versions taken on the graphic organizer, students begin an in-class rough draft of a comparison essay between the two films. Their essay attempts to prove which director was most effective in capturing the mood of the balcony scene by discussing elements from the mise-en-scene of both films as evidence. Q1 Lesson 4 Video Scavenger Hunt & Review In small groups, students will go outside of the classroom on a video scavenger hunt. The groups are given checklists of various scenarios they must film that include the cinematography terms (framing, camera motion and angle) they previously took notes on during class. Their goal is to practice shooting with the cameras while strengthening their understanding of the practical use of cinematography. 1. Students will be able to demonstrate the basic operation and safe use of the cameras and tripods. 2. Students will be able to demonstrate practical use of basic cinematography including framing, camera motion and angle. 3. Students will be able to identify the cinematography of other students and discuss their intended visual impact. Lesson 1: Video Scavenger Hunt In small groups, students will go outside of the classroom on a video scavenger hunt. The groups are given checklists of various scenarios they must film that include the cinematography terms (framing, camera motion and angle) they previously took notes on during class. Lesson 2: Review and Critique While reviewing the footage taken during the scavenger hunt, students reflect on their first day of using the equipment. Students are asked to provide technical critiques to their peers using

5 constructive criticism while reviewing the footage. Class is ended with a short quiz given on the cinematic terms and their implied visual meanings in film. Q1 Lesson 5 Silent Films Through the creation of short silent films, students are given a chance to practice sequencing together film clips without having to worry about audio. The process also gives students an opportunity to go through and experience the whole process of film creation including pre-production, production, and post-production editing. 1. Learn, and be able to visually identify, as well as understand the meaning behind key vocabulary of cinematic language including camera movement, angles, and shot framing. 2. Demonstrate the concept of sequencing and show how video compresses time to more effectively deliver a message. 3. Learn the basics of the Non-Linear Editing (NLE) software Final Cut Pro and demonstrate a basic edit complete with edited video clips, transitions, sound, music and titles. Lesson 1: Sequencing Students are given notes on the concept of sequencing and shown how time is manipulated through video editing. The notes are structured using the metaphor of a book using such as examples as shots being compared to sentences and scenes to paragraphs. Students also view informational videos on the concept of sequencing. Lesson 2: Pre-Production Using a planning sheet, students are put into groups and given instructions for creating a short film. Students are tasked with creating an approximately one minute long silent film that has three scenes and tells a story. The overarching idea going into producing the film is to visually show the story rather than just telling the story through dialogue.

6 Lesson 3: Production Groups are given three days to film their short films. This lesson allows students the freedom to begin to get more independent with the equipment and become more responsible for accomplishing tasks on their own. As the students film their movies, the teachers move from group to group checking in to monitor their progress and resolve any difficulties that may arise. Lesson 4: Editing (Post-Production) Students are given two additional days to edit their clips together. All students are given brief instructions on the basics of editing in Final Cut Pro and then allowed to dive into hands-on practicing with editing their footage. Because sound isn t an issue, the goal is to get a rough edit of all the films together within the two days. Lesson 5: Reflection and Review After the rough edits are completed, students view the completed films as a class and provide feedback to other groups. Criticism during the reflection process is kept positive and focused around improving both the technical standings of the films and their storytelling process.

7 Quarter 2 Lesson Plans Q2 Lesson 1 Narrative Structure As a component of a unit on short stories, students review the different parts of a classic narrative structure. To practice the understanding of the narrative structure students are tasked with filling out plot diagram to go along with the short stories they read. 1. Learn about and identify the parts of a story arc. Lesson 1: The Cask of Amontillado After reading the short story The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe students are given a plot diagram to fill in. Focusing specifically on the more tangible exposition, inciting incident, climax and resolution - students are then asked to share out loud the plot points they found thus enabling a class discussion on applying the narrative structure to The Cask of Amontillado. Lesson 2: The Stolen Party Repeating the activity of filling out a plot diagram, but this time with The Stolen Party by Liliana Hecker. Lesson 3: Marigolds Repeating the activity of filling out a plot diagram for a final time, but this time with Marigolds by Eugenia W. Collier.

8 Q2 Lesson 2 Short Film Pre-Production Students begin the process of creating a short film. 1. Lesson 1: Short Film Proposal + One-Page Pitch Students are given a timeline and overview of the short film project to happen over the course of quarter 2 and into the beginning of quarter 3. Quarter 2 is about pre-production of their films. The first part of pre-production is idea generation, and to do that students are given a template to help them think of their ideas and how to focus their film ideas into a concise one page film pitch. Students are given approximately 2 weeks time to develop their story ideas and pitches. The best ten students from each class are given the opportunity to pitch their ideas to the class to be put up for a vote. Lesson 2: Film Pitch On the day of film pitches students who were chosen bring in their one-page film pitch and any additional presentation materials to pitch their films to the class. Each student is given two minutes to present their idea for a film. At the end of the pitches, all students are given a voting card to vote for their top three choices. All of those votes are then tallied to come up with the top four or five films to be produced by the class. Lesson 3: Story Development / Scene Creation Before story development begins on the chosen films, students are given a chance to sort themselves into groups based on which movie they prefer to make. After the groups are developed work begins on mapping their story ideas onto a plot diagram. Groups are given four class periods to move from a story idea to mapping their story out into individual scenes complete with scene goals and settings. Lesson 4: Script / Shot List / Production Schedule Once the groups have a full outline of their scenes from the previous task, groups move into creating the final documents of pre-production. Over the course of six class periods students will first create their script. Once the scenes have been scripted and the scripts are properly formated on the computers, groups begin to work on their shot lists detailing the camera work that will be used for the scenes.

9 Finally, groups create a production schedule which serves as a timeline of what scenes will be filmed on what days as well as what actors, props, and costuming the groups will need for the days of production. Q2 Lesson 3 Film Style Analysis Before the development of a script and shot list students are given final notes on editing, lighting, and sound in order to round out the students knowledge of cinematic terms. 1. Gain an understanding and demonstrate a working knowledge of editing, lighting, and sound terminology as it relates to filmmaking. 2. Be able to identify director s choices as relates to editing, lighting, sound, camera movement, angles and framing and use an analytical statement to explain the reasoning behind those choices. 3. Develop skills in actively watching a film while taking relevant notes. Lesson 1: Lighting, Sound, and Editing Students are given final notes on editing, lighting, and sound in order to round out the students knowledge of cinematic terms. Lesson 2: 2081 / Harrison Bergeron Day 1 Over the winter break students read and annotate the short story Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut. Having the prior knowledge of the story, students now watch the short film 2081 by Chandler Tuttle, a film interpretation of the story. While watching the film students are assigned to take notes on one of the cinematic terms covered as so far in the year; either lighting, editing, sound, camera movement, or camera angles and framing. The notes are discussed until the end of class and students are asked to hold on to their notes for the next day. Lesson 3: 2081 / Harrison Bergeron Day 2 / Analytical Statement When students come into class they are asked to take out their notes from Students are then given a graphic organizer to help them translate their notes into an analytical statement about the film This exercise allows students

10 to take a cinematic term and use it to discuss on an analytical level the director s choices in their film. Lesson 4: Lighting (Day 1) To give students more practice in understanding their new notes on sound, lighting and editing the film 2081 was played 3 days in a row. Each day the students all focused their note taking on one of three aspects. The film showing was followed by a class discussion of everyone s notes. Day one focused on lighting. Lesson 4b: Sound (Day 2) - Day two focused on sound. Lesson 4c: Editing (Day 3) - Day three focused on editing. Q2 Lesson 4 Frida Storyboard + Script Analysis Before launching fully into script writing, this activity is meant to allow students to explore and analyze a professional script to gain a better understanding of their task at hand. 1. Demonstrate a knowledge of how scripts are created and be able to identify various parts of a script. 2. Learn and demonstrate knowledge of proper script formatting. 3. Demonstrate the ability to translate film knowledge into creating a storyboard to pre-visualize cinematic ideas. Lesson 1: Script Analysis Using a clip from the film Frida directed by Julie Taymor, students watched two thirds of the clip and then as a class looked over the script for the film. Students were then instructed to read over the remaining part of the script that was not watched. As the first part of creating a storyboard students took the script and began to break it down into shots. Using highlighters, students marked up the script in groups to decide where they would split the shots up in the remainder of the scene.

11 Lesson 2: Storyboard In the beginning of class, students were given storyboard diagrams to finish their pre-visualization of the script from Frida. Each shot needed to include all decisions a director would make including sound, editing, lighting, framing, length, description, angle, and camera motion. Lesson 3: Compare / Contrast - Frida Storyboard To finish their storyboarding process, students were each individually given copies of their storyboards as well as a notes graphic organizer to close watch a film. They were then told that they would watch the remaining part of the clip from Frida three times in order to take notes to be able to write a fully developed paragraph comparing and contrasting their storyboarded version against that of director Julie Taymor. This allowed students to be able to use their knowledge of cinematic techniques.

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