Movie clip as text for analytical writing

In a writing class this summer, my 8-9 graders took a crack at writing about film. No easy task. Since they’ve been reading Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, we took a clip from the 1957 film to analyze and write a thesis on. Before watching, we gave them a glossary of film terms (stolen from Wikipedia, of course) and looked at some examples of story boards. Hitchcock has some good ones.

Step one: Watch the clip with a critical eye. To make sure the kids watched it looking for small details, we had them create a story board for the clip, one sketch for each shot. Our kids are lil’ perfectionists, so this step took a bit.

Step two: Discussion. We asked them what filmic elements stood out the most. Maybe it was Henry’s hand slamming down on the sugar cubes he had lined up. Maybe it was the dramatic music. Maybe it was the warm colors of the bar compared with the cool colors of the hospital. Lots of options there.

Step three: Thesis statement. This has really been the focus of this summer class: writing good thesis statements. And these kids pulled through. Although new to film analysis, they produced some good analytical thesis statements that could eventually be developed into decent essays. So proud.

Student examples after the jump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Film analysis 1 storyboard

Film analysis 1 thesis

Film analysis 2 storyboard

Film analysis 2 thesis

Film analysis 3 storyboard

Film analysis 3 thesis

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