| I have always felt that
tying content together into practical units is the best way to
teach. Practical units allow students to feel their learning
meaningful, providing motivation that normal classroom instruction
cannot. At the same time, it facilitates memory of
by tying each skill in with several others in an enyoyable environment.
In Summer 2007, I had the opportunity to teach three extracurricular courses in technology. One course was titled “Television and Film Production” - a course that invited students to write their own short script, film it, and do post-production to get a handle on the core elements of filmmaking. I have adapted the lessons created for this course to include much more core subject content
This unit takes what can be a boring segment of United States history - the growth and development of the Western US - and turns it into an exciting unit where students get to experience life of the time and have a final product to keep for posterity.
The Unit in Brief
Lesson 1: Realism in Motion - Students are motivated through the viewing of a classic Western television show, then given the opportunity to discuss the what was seen, how it was historically accurate, and how it probably was not.
Lesson 2: Discovering the West - Groups of students are given a narrow topic of early Western life and asked to research it before presenting what was learned to the class.
Lesson 3: Screenwriting 101 - In larger groups, students create and write their own screenplay, choosing roles for themselves.
Lesson 4: Be a Boy Scout - While writing continues, students determine what (if any) scenery/costumes/props they need.
Lesson 5: Filmmaking 101 - After the teacher talks about the basics of filmmaking: acting, camera angles, sound setup, etcetera, students plan the camera angles and sound for their film.
Lesson 6: From Script to Screen - Students work together to film all of the footage needed for their end product.
Lesson 7: Production and Effects - Students take thier raw footage and manipulate it, adding sound and effects as time allows.
Conclusion - After a final (public or private) viewing, students and teacher discuss how unexpected situations in the filming and production were handled.