Still Segregated in 2020: A Study of Equity in Philadelphia Area Schools through Film Study and Creation

Author: Katherine Steiner

School/Organization:

Heston, Edward School

Year: 2020

Seminar: Cinema and Civil Rights

Grade Level: 6-12

Keywords: cinema, civics, Civil Rights Movement, communications, freedom, Government, History, Media, Philadelphia, Politics

School Subject(s): Arts, Film, Visual Art

A study of current, and not so current, events through cinema and film to understand the role of race and racism in Philadelphia schools. Students will study multi-media sources to explore creative outlets for anger and outrage over the blatant inequity they see in school every day.

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Full Unit Text
Content Objectives

Philadelphia middle school students learn about the Civil Rights movement, but still lack the context and content to be able to talk about race in 2020. They can tell you about Brown v. Board of Education, but they can’t tell you why their school is 94% Black. Ask a student about the Little Rock Nine and they might be able to tell you, but if you ask them if calling someone Black or White is offensive, they’ll get really quiet and tell you that you can’t say that. As a teacher, they tell me that when I openly refer to myself as White. Outside of history class, my students don’t have the context or the vocabulary to talk about race let alone how it affects their lives.

I propose a curriculum unit where I can show my students about school desegregation and integration, and also give them the words and an outlet to express how they feel now about their communities and their schools in terms of civil rights. I’ve explored TED talk after TED talk, and I find that Kandice Sumner sums up my point more perfectly than I could articulate. She says that she struggles teaching her upper elementary students about the civil rights movement, because they inevitably ask why there are no White students in the class (or even in the school) as she talks about not only racial but economic inequality in public schools. I want my students to know what’s going on around them, what other schools and school districts nearby have that they do not, and say something about them. I want my students to see not only where they are and what they have, but the policies and histories that got them to this place. Focusing on the Greater Philadelphia area, and perhaps expanding out to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, having the students express their feelings about what they wish they had in their classrooms has potential to go far.

Middle school students love technology. They rarely want to put their phones down, and computer time is usually a pretty big incentive for them. Having a mostly technology-based course, that is watching and creating film and film clips, works out well for the academic and intellectual development of the preteen and teenage brain. Sharing their own opinions is also crucial at this stage of development, as students in this general age bracket want to be heard and thrive on being seen and heard by their peers. Students in middle school want to be accepted by their peers, and this project is a great way to facilitate that development.

I want my students to learn to create film, to learn the art of documentary and as small groups interview community members, administrators of the Philadelphia School District, and even other students about the realities of being in West Philadelphia, and a part of a school district that receives so little in state funding. My students will begin with watching films and film clips, move on to learning both about film-making and how to put their thoughts and feelings into words, and finally on to making films to express themselves and what they’ve gathered about their school and community.

I plan to have my students start with some clips of made-for-children movies about integration, like Hairspray and Selma, Lord, Selma, to get an idea of what we’re looking at and looking for. We’ll discuss perspective, who’s telling the story, and maybe what’s not being told. From there, I want to take them to clips of TED talks, movies about the Little Rock Nine, and maybe even some current documentaries about segregation and integration 60 years after Brown v. Board, and come to their own conclusions about their city and school district. Finally, I want my students to create their own films, be it documentary or TED-style talk, to show how they think and feel about segregation, both racial and economic, in the Philadelphia area.

Teaching this course will require access to video cameras, microphones, and other editing and production software that my school does not currently possess. Either by grant, DonorsChoose, or borrowing equipment, I intend to teach my students about videography and have them learn to make films on their own with minimal assistance. I want my students to speak their minds and their hearts with as little adult interference as possible. Not only is this a great experience for the students to really have their voices heard, but it fits the district goal of career readiness by teaching this level and intensity of video production.

The Cinema and Civil Rights seminar has been a resource in terms of making films and articles available, and discussing those films and articles in class. Professor Redrobe introduced documentaries like Living with Pride:Ruth Ellis at 100, mockumentaries like The Watermelon Woman, and articles like Jacquelyn Dowd Hall’s “The Long Civil Rights Movement and the Political Uses of the Past,” all of which provide unique explorations of race and civil rights over the past 70 years or more. However, these are not appropriate for middle school students in their entirety, and while acknowledged here are not included as recommended reading/watching to teach this unit.

My main source of clips for my classroom will likely come from a more recent piece of film. The 2017 documentary Teach Us All is packed with information about school segregation, both racial and economic. The movie begins discussing the Little Rock Nine, including interviews with Elizabeth Eckford and Terrence Roberts, two of the Nine about their experiences. The film then transitions to present-day Little Rock, how segregated the schools still are, and the political struggles that the Little Rock School District faces today. We then leave the South to look at one of the largest and most diverse school system in the country, the New York City Public Schools. Students are a large part of the latter half of the film, explaining what they see, what they want, and what they need from their school district. Students know how unequal their school systems are, and they want their voices heard. The end of the film shows students, teachers, parents, and even brings back Mr. Roberts and Ms. Eckford, to remind everyone watching that it’s not too late to fight, and people will always join those fighting for justice.  This is the information and drive that fuels my curriculum project of exploring the inequity and inequalities within the Philadelphia School District with my students and having them take action by way of filmmaking.

Sources for research include the Scribe Video Center, and UPenn Library of Education, as well as more accessible sources like Netflix, YouTube, and other places where people are telling the stories of a school district and a population that’s being severely underserved. Law journals are also a potential research tool, in terms of looking into how housing and economic policies are affecting school segregation and funding.  Using UPenn’s online journal system, as well as Google Scholar, are my jumping off points in terms of looking for scholarly articles, which are more likely than not just for research and maybe for teachers of this unit to read. Students don’t have much business reading lengthy articles with pages of jargon they don’t understand when the articles aren’t the point. The information in the articles isn’t the point either. The point is that teachers teaching this unit be well informed on issues of segregation of all kinds within major school districts, including Philadelphia, and be able to facilitate conversation around tough questions about race, income segregation, housing policy, and school district zoning.

For students, resources will most likely be film clips and worksheets, at least at the beginning as they process all the new information, spoken and unspoken, being thrown at them. As the move deeper, perhaps professionals will be asked to present to the class (in person, via webcam, or even pre-recorded message) about how to use the equipment and how to talk to the camera. Students will also develop skills in computer-based video creation and editing. Twitter, an unlikely source for research, will also play a role in students understanding school equity. As Philadelphia and cities across the country actively fight for equity in school funding, reporters and activists alike use Twitter to get their messages out quickly to a large group of followers. Accurate and inaccurate information is often easy to suss out, so misinformation is not much of a risk.

I think it’s important for my students to know what the students in surrounding districts have in relation to what they have in our school and our district. I want to teach my students the importance of advocacy, and that education is a civil right that deserves to be equal and equitable for all school districts in the state (and even the entire country, but we don’t need to go quite that far yet). The research for this documentary project would include legislators in Philadelphia who are and aren’t fighting for their rights for a well-funded education in Harrisburg. The research would involve looking at funding for primarily white districts, and seeing how it differs from that of Philadelphia.

My plan is to hook the students in by talking about what they see (and in contrast what they don’t see) in their school and their district. As I write this unit, I am home during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place, and the media is providing ample coverage of how the Philadelphia school district is lacking in technology, as well as the infostructure, to begin online schooling as our students fall further and further behind those in districts that can afford remote teaching. This has influenced me to take a broader view and move beyond just the city and look at Pennsylvania as a commonwealth. As a city with fewer resources than our surrounding districts, we should be receiving more money from the Commonwealth not less (which is the case right now.) We aren’t talking about equal resources, we’re talking about equitable resources. When the school district is reaching out to computer companies for bulk discounts above the usual for the school district, and communicating with internet companies about providing free internet for our students, it’s about time that everyone including our students and communities realize that these are things that the state has not been providing to us. Our schools are closed for the rest of the year, and as schools in the Northeast and Center of Philadelphia have laptops for their students, my West Philadelphia middle school students are still waiting for their promised laptops to be delivered to the school. Even within the district, in May of 2020, there are issues of inequity in getting the technology to the students who need it the most.

Protests have erupted all over the city, all over the country even, over equity issues (among other things like police brutality that do have an effect on our students and schools, but that’s another issue for another curriculum unit). Social media and the news are making it clear which city (and other) officials care about our black and brown students, and which have nothing to say. This will be a great resource for students to get an idea who they can reach out to with their films for maximum impact. Students can see who on Twitter is covering protests and what their attitudes are, which will help give them insight on who they might want to reach out to. Black Lives Matter protests are popping up all over the country, this is a moment in history that will have a major impact on our students. My West Philadelphia students live in neighborhoods that have experienced looting, violence by the police, and heated protests. Being a teenager is hard enough, but compound it with being black in America, underfunded public schools, and then toss in COVID-19 and protests and we have a unique generation of students.

Will this make students angry? Of course it will. Teachers and administrators in Philadelphia are angry too. Personally, I find that anger makes some of the best art. Having students feel something gets them invested in the work. This unit combines civics, finance, history, technology, and media arts to have students do the research, and do interviews both of local politicians and legislators, and of school personnel, other students, and families in the neighborhood about how they perceive education in terms of equity. Our students often have anger they cannot address, and giving them the tools to do something about their anger, something to do with their anger and take action without any violence. Social emotional learning comes into play here, and lesson extensions involving school counselors and other educators in the building would fit in very nicely.

The primary reason I want to teach this unit soon is that I fear we’re going to forget. I worry that equity in education won’t be as important once distancing ends, and we begin the transition back to normal education in a classroom setting. I want to talk to students and have them take action while it’s all still fresh in their minds, before the rest of their lives catch up with them and they move on. I want my students to be able to communicate how it feels to be left behind other students simply because of their ZIP codes. We may never go back to “normal” after this, but I have suspicions that equity in education will become less important as other economic issues come back to the forefront of peoples’ minds once we’re back in the classrooms.

To make this unit easy to prepare for, there are no scholarly articles to read and no lengthy books to pour over to be well-versed enough to begin. The research for teachers is solely film-based, and those films and lectures provide a slew of suggestions for where more research might go. In truth, the amount one could read about racial and financial inequity in schools is huge and expansive. However, it’s not needed to make a start. Film is an easy way in for students, and if there’s an easy way in then teachers deserve that too. If what you’re looking for is more information on activism beyond filmmaking, this is not the unit to find it in. This unit is meant to scratch the surface, to generate interest and awareness. The intent is to generate conversation, and creative outlets for anger over inequity. Teachers in the Philadelphia School District have been overwhelmed for the past few months, if not longer, with extensive reading material about anti-racist teaching and equity in the classroom both physical and virtual. I see no need to overwhelm anyone more than necessary, and find that this list of resources is appropriate for this particular subject. Christopher Emdin’s book For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood etc. is a great book to read and discuss, but his TED talk videos boil down the same points in a new and more captivating medium.

The first step in developing this unit, after the preliminary research on films to show students, is to talk to the students directly, and see what their feelings are in regard to the situation. Elementary and middle school students across the state, even right across county lines, have been remote learning for weeks before Philadelphia even got around to talking about ordering laptops and asking for internet resources for our students. Surrounding districts never had that problem, most of their students have availability to take a laptop or other device home with them on at least a semi-regular basis. Not only do the teachers have to work a lot harder to stay in contact with the students and support them, but the students have to work a lot harder to connect with their classmates and teachers without the devices and internet that their peers in surrounding districts have.

The objectives of this unit will be in history, civics and technology, as well as film. Students will learn how to research, as well as how their local government is structured (both explicitly taught, and they will have to do some research on their own.) Students will learn how to document and take notes on their research, along with appropriate citations, as well as checking the authenticity of their sources and noting what they can and cannot use in their assignment. Lessons will incorporate technology and computer and internet literacy, showing students not only how to research and use a word processor, but also how to make and edit video as the unit progresses. Students will explore films and learn how to notice, how to really observe what’s happening in a scene (paying special attention to things, ideas, or opinions that may be missing) and how to choose effects and screen angles they like or dislike for their own projects.

Students will have a wide berth for making this assignment their own. They can choose to stick with the civil rights issues that will be discussed and portrayed in class, or they can choose another issue at school that they feel strongly about. Being an activist isn’t just about civil rights, so students will be given the option to work with the teacher to design a project around a different issue. Students will be given the option to do a documentary style film, a TED-talk style film, or a written story to get across their ideas. This unit is designed to cover 10 weeks, or an entire quarter, thus allowing students ample time for classroom instruction, independent work, group work, adjusting to technology, and plenty of time for individual and group conferencing.

Student assessment on this project is in the form of a portfolio assessment, a gathering of all the work the student has done on the unit collected and graded as a whole. This grade will be given as assessed by a rubric that will be handed out to students at the beginning of the unit so they know what their goals are and what’s being asked of them. If students have done the research in at least 4 different places, spoken to at least 3 different people in different places (for example: another student, a community member, a local school board member, a local business owner, another teacher, etc,) [all research and conversations documented,] created a 10-15 minute film that is school and subject appropriate, and submitted a 1-page reflection on the process, they will have successfully completed the unit objectives.

Teaching Strategies

Teaching strategies are what make lessons classroom-ready. Most teachers use teaching strategies and aren’t even aware they’re using them. These strategies not only create effective lessons, but allow connections between the students as well as between the teacher and students and the students and the material. Strategies allow students to interact with the materials, their classmates, and the world around them. These nine strategies were selected based on how well they lend themselves to interactions between students, teachers, and all the materials involved. The nine strategies I wanted to highlight in this unit were: anonymous questioning, check in and out, conferencing,connecting to prior knowledge, cooperative learning, critical listening, differentiation, graphic organizers, and response journals.

Anonymous questioning is a strategy that allows students to anonymously submit questions and concerns to be addressed in class. Equity in schools, especially for students who don’t have the materials they need to succeed, can be a tough subject and students don’t always want their peers to know about their personal concerns. Anonymous questioning not only lets students get their concerns across, but has the potential to show students that they’re not isolated in their concerns.

Check In/Check Out is a teaching strategy that allows teachers to figuratively take students emotional temperatures when they arrive and when they leave the classroom. This can be done in a variety of ways, through entrance and exit tickets, warm ups and wrap ups, or even verbal or eye contact as students enter and exit the classroom. Gauging where the students are both before and after class is important not only with this course material, but with middle school students in general.

Conferencing is exactly what it sounds like, both allowing students to conference with one another, and the teacher to conference with individual students or student groups. In person conferencing allows ideas to flow more openly than having written comments, and allows the teacher and the students to better understand the concepts being discussed and assess the level of understanding. Conferencing is a great form of assessment that is low pressure for the student and allows the teacher to get a clear picture of what the students understand and what still needs to be ascertained. With this unit, conferencing is key as students work in groups to create their own films and work through challenges as a team with teacher support as needed.

Connecting to prior knowledge is among the most basic of teaching and planning strategies, which involves using what students already know to build connections to the lesson at hand. This not only makes sure that students have some context before delving into a lesson, but gives students a buy in where they can feel that they have something to contribute to the lesson even before they’ve learned anything new. This unit looks at the school system that the students have been a part of for years, and some students may even bring experience and knowledge from other schools or school systems to share with their classmates to expand their

Cooperative learning has students working together in pre-planned groups to investigate materials as a team. Students work as a group to decide on a focus and, with the teacher as a facilitator, work within assignment parameters to create a final project. The pre-planning of groups allows for a fair balance of students who will all be able to contribute fairly to the project, as well as groups students with similar interests together to allow them to work cohesively as a team. With a film-producing project, working in cooperative groups is key for creation, production, and post-production processes.

Critical listening is a key strategy to be used during watching films, as well as reviewing other student films. Students watch and listen to the film, and take clear notes on what they think about what’s being said in any given film (including TED talks.) Encouraging students to be critical about the work they see allows them to be more constructively critical about the work they create. Critical listening is not only important for this unit in terms of studying and creating film, but in nearly every other aspect of their education through high school, college, and beyond.

Differentiation is one of the most important strategies used in the classroom, allowing all students to succeed to their maximum potentials. Differentiation is designing lessons, work, and assessments for students to address their individual needs. Having multiple options for how students can organize themselves or complete work allows students to create work that can show what they know without being confined by restrictions that might impede their ability to get across the knowledge and information they’ve gained during the lessons. The assignments and assessments in this unit are pretty open-ended, allowing students to take them in any number of directions and still be successful.

Graphic Organizers are often at the heart of my instruction, giving students a concrete place to pull their thoughts and ideas together before beginning an assignment. For students who have trouble focusing their ideas, graphic organizers are one of the best things they can do in order to get everything down on paper before embarking on a large project. Even for students who are skilled at organization, graphic organizers allow all group members, and the teacher, to see what students are thinking and where their assignments are headed so specific conversations can be had to address any potential concerns before any work is completed on the project. This unit will have a teacher-generated graphic organizer for students to use, as well as options for students to create their own.

Response journals are going to be one of the most heavily used items in the studio during this unit, as a key strategy to taking notes and keeping track of thoughts and feelings on a daily basis. Students would be writing in their response journals on a daily basis, using them to take critical notes on films watched in class, as well as ideas they have for their own films. All graphic organizers and check in/check out forms would be pasted into the response journals giving students a complete picture of what they’ve studied and where they want to go with all that information.

Classroom Activities

Lesson 1: Using Media to Understand and Form Opinions

Time: 1 45-minute lesson

 

Objectives:

Students will be able to express their feelings about school equity in order to  cogently form a supported opinion.

Students will be able to differentiate between equity and equality in order to more accurately make arguments.

 

Standards:

Visual Arts 9.4.8.C., 9.4.8.D

History 8.1.9.A, 8.1.9.D.

Civics 5.1.C.C., 5.3.C.H.

 

Instructional Strategies:

Response Journal

Think-Pair-Share

Anonymous Questioning

Connecting to prior knowledge

 

Materials:

Pencils/Pens

Response Journal

Equality vs. Equity Cartoon by Angus Maguire

Philadelphia Schools Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson

 

New Vocabulary:

Equity

Equality

 

Lesson Introduction:

Teacher will pose the “band-aid” scenario to students to explain equity vs. equality. [Teacher has students decide where they are “injured,” teacher puts a band-aid on the first person where they claim to be hurt, and then in the same spot for every student afterwards regardless of where they say they’re injured, illustrating equality where every person gets the same thing, then explaining that equity would be addressing each person’s needs.] Teacher will then show students the equity vs. equality cartoon by Angus Maguire, and have students write about their reactions to the cartoon in their response journals.

 

Group Work:

Students will work in small groups, sharing their reactions to the image. The teacher will direct students to discuss how they can apply the terms equity and equality to the technology situation within the greater Philadelphia area particularly during the COVID-19 shutdown.

 

Closure:

The teacher will show the student’s Signe Wilkinson’s cartoon about high school students in the Philadelphia area during the COVID-19 shutdown, and ask them to use their new vocabulary words to describe what’s happening in the cartoon. This is to be done in response journals, to be assessed for understanding as an exit ticket.

 

 

Lesson 2: Introduction of Film as Media

Time: 1 45-minute lesson

 

Objectives:

Students will be able to analyze film as a method of communication in order to understand the influential power of media.

Students will be able to identify fact and opinion in media in order to understand that not everything they hear is true.

 

Standards:

Visual Arts 9.4.8.C., 9.4.8.D

History 8.1.9.A, 8.1.9.D.

Civics 5.1.C.C., 5.3.C.H.

 

Instructional Strategies:

Critical Listening

Connecting to prior knowledge

Differentiation

Graphic organizers

Response journals

Cooperative learning

 

 

Materials:

Hairspray movie clips (and technology to show them)

Other movie clips at teachers choice

Planning worksheet

Pens/pencils

 

New Vocabulary:

Influence

Point of View

 

Lesson Introduction:

Teacher will show students clips from Hairspray, and ask students to identify things that really happened in history, things that could have happened, and things that could not happen. Clip selection is at the discretion of the teacher. Teacher will reinforce that things that might have happened are okay to include in this project, but things that could not happen are really not for this assignment.

 

 

Direct Instruction:

Teacher will walk students through different types of media on film (movies and clips, newsreel/interview style, and filmed talks,) and pose those as an introduction to the possibilities of types of media the students could create for their final project.  The teacher will pose the final project as a 10-20 minute film in any of the above styles (or another style with teacher approval) that addresses their feelings about lack of equity in their school.

 

Group Work:

Students will break into groups they feel comfortable expressing themselves with, students who do not want to work in groups may work alone in conference with the teacher. Groups will brainstorm what they might want to do for this assignment, deciding if they want to interview people, make up a story with underlying truths, or write a series of essays and deliver them TED talk style. Groups will fill out a planning worksheet, to be submitted at the end of class. Teacher will conference with all groups before the end of class.

 

Closure:

Groups will each select one student to share a brief (30 seconds of fewer) synopsis of what they’re planning. Groups are not bound to these choices. All groups will hand in their planning worksheets as an exit ticket.

 

Lesson 3: Intended Audience – Who To Tell My Story To

Time: 1 45-minute lesson

 

Objectives:

Students will be able to identify a point of view to express in order to understand self expression through writing and arts.

Students will be able to identify an expert/influential person in order to understand how to use their opinions and feelings to create change.

 

 

Standards:

Visual Arts 9.4.8.C., 9.4.8.D

History 8.1.9.A, 8.1.9.D.

Civics 5.1.C.C., 5.3.C.H.

Instructional Strategies:

Technology

Response journals

Group Work

Conferencing

Graphic Organizers

 

Materials:

Paper

Planning worksheets

pen/pencil

Response journal

Television clips

 

New Vocabulary:

intended audience

 

Lesson Introduction:

Students will show a variety of television clips, asking the students to note in their response journals who the clip’s intended audience is. These clips can include early education television (like Sesame Street,) popular television the students are watching in their homes, clips from the news, [school appropriate] political addresses, and anything else the teacher wants to include to get students thinking about who writers/producers are trying to get to watch their media.

 

Direct Instruction:

Teacher will review with students what they thought the intended audience was for the lesson introduction section, then proceed to talk about the intended audience of their project. The teacher will explain that there are a number of choices, and students need to think about how to direct their anger and energies into a productive film that will make an impact. Potential target audiences are school administration at the school, administration on a city level, the school board, local lawmakers, or even state lawmakers. If students want to choose another target audience, like local families or other students in the school, that would require more discussion with the teacher to make sure that the film is being used productively and not just to anger and incite.

 

Group Work:

Groups will continue to fill out their planning worksheets, noting any disagreement among the group in the response journals. Teacher will continue conferencing with groups and students working alone.

 

Closure:

Groups will share their intended audience with the class, and again submit their planning sheets as exit tickets. Teacher will review planning sheets and readjust lessons as necessary.

 

Lesson 4: Learning the Technology

Time: 2 45-minute lessons

 

Objectives:

Students will be able to identify the technology they want to use in their filmmaking in order to express an opinion that makes sense with their media choice.

Students will be able to successfully use technology to create a short clip in order to understand how to use filmmaking technology.

 

Standards:

Visual Arts 9.1.8.J., 9.1.8.K., 9.4.8.C., 9.4.8.D

History 8.1.9.A, 8.1.9.D.

Civics 5.1.C.C., 5.3.C.H.

Technology 3.6.10.B, 3.7.10.C, 3.7.10.B

 

 

Instructional Strategies:

Check in/Check Out

Critical Listening

Differentiation

Response journals

Conferencing

 

 

Materials:

Student Cell Phones

Digital cameras with video capability

Digital video cameras

(Whatever materials you have for digital video recording, webcams are not ideal)

Basic movie editing software (iMovie or similar)

Cables to connect recording device to laptop for editing

 

 

New Vocabulary:

Camera Angle

Lighting

Zoom

Software

 

Lesson Introduction:

Teacher will ask students to get out their phones (a rarity in class), and take a look at the digital recording software. The teacher will ask students to note any functions the cameras are capable of in terms of video, and chat with a partner about it (team up students with phones and students without phones so everyone can participate.)

If not enough students have phones, use some digital cameras for the intro.

During this time, the teacher will take inventory of what devices students have, and along with the devices the teacher has, pull up video manuals for direct instruction.

 

Direct Instruction:

If students have similar devices, direct instruction can be done as one group, projected on a screen. If students have different devices, they can be broken up into smaller groups, and use laptops or tablets to view the appropriate online video tutorial (either from the manufacturer’s website, or youtube,) closely watched by the teacher. The teacher will also demonstrate with each classroom device to give students an idea of how to use them.

[This would also be a great time to have an expert come in to speak!]

 

Group Work:

Students will watch tutorials in their groups, making notes in their response journals as they go. Students will decide if a handheld camera, a camera on a tripod, a phone camera, a combination of those, or another option entirely would better match their project idea. Other teachers in the school could be looped in here, such as the technology teacher or any other teacher with film experience.

Students who make these decisions and discuss with the teacher early can begin work on writing their “film script.”

 

 

Closure:

Groups will continue to work together until the end of class, the teacher making sure to check on all groups at least once. Groups will choose a “lead” to hold on to their planning worksheet in their response journals, and all response journals will be handed in at the end of class for review and mid-project grades.

 

Lesson 5: Creation: Writing, rewriting, filming, editing, and small group conferences

Time: 3-5 45-minute lessons

 

Objectives:

Students will use media technology to create short (10-15 minute) films with direction and specific audience in order to understand the targeted use of media.

 

Standards:

Visual Arts 9.1.8.J., 9.1.8.K., 9.4.8.C., 9.4.8.D

History 8.1.9.A, 8.1.9.D.

Civics 5.1.C.C., 5.3.C.H.

Technology 3.6.10.B, 3.7.10.C, 3.7.10.B, 3.7.10.D

 

 

Instructional Strategies:

Cooperative learning

Differentiation

Technology

Response Journals

Conferenging

 

Materials:

Response journals

pen/pencil

writing paper

post-its

Cameras and Video equipment

Editing software and computers to run it on

 

 

Group Work:

Students will jump right in on this, immediately sitting with their groups and beginning to write their “film script,” which is a story, an essay to be read aloud (at least 2 per group to hit the 10-minute requirement, or a list of interview questions. With teacher approval, students will be allowed to begin filming in their selected locations. If the location is not in the school, additional permissions will need to be gotten. For projects not near the classroom, administrative permission must be obtained (for example, students filming on the auditorium stage without the teacher) and another adult must be present with the students.

Interviews involving individuals outside the school must be worked out with the school and that individual (permissions to enter the building, or having the group work on the project outside of school time.) Address individual situations as they arise.

The teacher will provide small group instruction with iMovie or other video editing software as groups finish their first round of video and are ready to begin editing. The teacher will provide videos in advance as a flipped classroom model, and have students come back with any questions. If students are unable to watch at home, the teacher will still give the full lesson on how to use the program.

 

Closure:

After each class period, students will be asked to assess their progress and confidence in their project on a scale of 1-5 (1 being least positive, 5 being the most) to be done privately per student and handed in on a post-it note.

 

 

Lesson 6: Screenings and Closing Lesson

Time: 1-2 45-minute lesson (potential to expand into family/community viewing)

 

Objectives:

Students will be able to analyze and critique other student films in order to understand viewpoints different from their own.

 

Standards:

Visual Arts 9.4.8.A, 9.4.8.B., 9.4.8.C., 9.4.8.D.

History 8.3.12.C, 8.3.12.D

 

Instructional Strategies:

Cooperative learning

Critical listening

Response journals

 

 

Materials:

Student films

Technology to watch student films

Response journals

Pens/pencils

Sticky notes

 

New Vocabulary:

Screening

Critique

 

Class Activity:

Students will watch all the films created by the class, using their response journals to make notes for a critique to the author.

After each film, students will anonymously write their critiques on a sticky note. The teacher will collect the notes and hand them to the filmmakers at the end of the class period.

Students will be given a chance to meet and make revisions, and make plans for any final celebration/community viewing for the project.

 

Closure:

Students and teacher will celebrate the hard work they’ve done in the style of their choosing. It might be a party with food, it might be a fun activity, it could be anything agreed upon by the class and the teacher as an appropriate marking of the end of this meaningful and intense unit.

Resources

Watch List for Teachers

Beaudreau, Matt “It’s About to Get Uncomfortable: Education in America” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPAXMNXy5UQ May 2015

Chaffee, Sydney “How Teachers Can Help Kids Find Their Political Voices”

https://www.ted.com/talks/sydney_chaffee_how_teachers_can_help_kids_find_their_political_voices November 2017

Emdin, Christopher “Teach Teachers How to Create Magic”

https://www.ted.com/talks/christopher_emdin_teach_teachers_how_to_create_magic October 2013

Emdin, Christopher “Empowering Children Through Urban Education” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouudXr-csZg March 2013

 

Ikard, David “The Real Story of Rosa Parks and Why We Need to Confront Myths about Black History” https://www.ted.com/talks/david_ikard_the_real_story_of_rosa_parks_and_why_we_need_to_confront_myths_about_black_history March 2018

Kleinrock, Elizabeth “How to Teach Kids to Talk About Taboo Topics”

https://www.ted.com/talks/liz_kleinrock_how_to_teach_kids_to_talk_about_taboo_topics January 2019

 

Rios, Victor “Help for Kids the Education System Ignores”

https://www.ted.com/talks/victor_rios_help_for_kids_the_education_system_ignores November 2015

 

Sumner, Kandice “How America’s Public Schools Keep Kids in Poverty” https://www.ted.com/talks/kandice_sumner_how_america_s_public_schools_keep_kids_in_poverty/up-next?language=en November 2015

 

Teach Us All. Dir. Sonia Lowman, 2017. Film

Waiting for ‘Superman.’ Dir. Davis Guggenheim, 2010. Film

Watching list for students

Hairspray (2007)

Freedom Writers (2007) [must be edited for middle school, appropriate for high school]

Eyes on the Prize (1991)[must be edited for middle school, appropriate for high school]

Selma, Lord, Selma (1999)

Stand and Deliver (1988)

Selma (2014) [must be edited for middle school, appropriate for high school]

Appendix A: Standards Addressed

Technology:

3.6.10.B. Apply knowledge of information technologies of encoding, transmitting, receiving, storing, retrieving and decoding.

3.6.10.C. Apply physical technologies of structural design, analysis and engineering, personnel relations, financial affairs, structural production, marketing, research and design to real world problems.

3.7.10.C. Apply basic computer operations and concepts.

3.7.10.D. Utilize computer software to solve specific problems.

Visual Arts:

9.1.8.J Incorporate specific uses of traditional and contemporary technologies within the design for producing, performing and exhibiting works in the arts or the works of others.

9.1.8.K. Incorporate specific uses of traditional and contemporary technologies in furthering knowledge and

9.4.8.A. Compare and contrast examples of group and individual philosophical meanings of works in the arts and humanities

9.4.8.B. Compare and contrast informed individual opinions about the meaning of works in the arts to others

9.4.8.C. Describe how the attributes of the audience’s environment influence aesthetic responses

9.4.8.D. Describe to what purpose philosophical ideas generated by artists can be conveyed through works in the arts and humanities

History:

8.1.9.A. Analyze chronological thinking.

8.1.9.C. Analyze the fundamentals of historical interpretation.

8.1.9.D. Analyze and interpret historical research.

8.2.12.C. Identify and evaluate how continuity and change have influenced Pennsylvania history from the 1890s to Present.

8.3.12.A. Identify and evaluate the political and cultural contributions of individuals and groups to United States history from 1890 to Present

8.3.12.C. Evaluate how continuity and change has influenced United States history from 1890 to Present.

-Social Organization (e.g., compulsory school laws, court decisions expanding individual rights, technological impact)

8.3.12.D. Identify and evaluate conflict and cooperation among social groups and organizations in United States history from 1890 to Present.

Civics:

5.1.C.C. Evaluate the application of the principles and ideals in contemporary civic life. • Liberty / Freedom • Democracy • Justice • Equality

5.1.C.F. Analyze the role political symbols play in civil disobedience and patriotic activities.

5.2.C.D. Evaluate and demonstrate what makes competent and responsible citizens.

5.3.C.H. Evaluate the role of mass media in setting public agenda and influencing political life.

 

Appendix B – Lesson Resources

“Interaction Institute for Social Change | Artist: Angus Maguire.”

http://interactioninstitute.org/illustrating-equality-vs-equity/

Signe Wilkinson March 29, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Film Planning Worksheet

Names: _________________________

 

 

Film Style:

(story, TED talk, news/interview)

 

 

 

 

 

 

What am I trying to get across: (what kind of change do I want to make?) Where to research:
Intended Audience:

(who do I think needs to see this to make a change?) 

Potential Challenges:  (what kind of problems might I run into?) Filming Technology: (cell phone camera, video camera, digital camera with video capability)

 

 

 

 

Who can I talk to for more information:

 

 

 

 

 

 

What might people get wrong about my message: What outside help am I going to need:

Film Creation Unit: Grading Rubric

  Emerging (2) Approaching (3) On Target (4) Exceptional (5)
Research 1 or fewer sources were legitimately referenced, none are appropriately cited. 2-3 sources were legitimately referenced, some are appropriately cited. 4 sources were legitimately referenced, some are appropriately cited. 4 or more legitimate sources were referenced, and are appropriately cited.
Individuals talked to 1 or fewer different individuals spoken to in reference to this project, some with the same degree of involvement. 2 different individuals spoken to in reference to this project, some with the same degree of involvement. 3 different individuals spoken to in reference to this project, some with the same degree of involvement. 3 or more different individuals were spoken to in reference to this project, all with different degrees of involvement.
Film Itself 6 (or less)  minute film created, using worksheet approved by teacher, and showing technical skill appropriate to the media used. OR

less than 4 minute film created, using worksheet approved by teacher, and showing technical skill appropriate to the media used.

7-9 minute film created, using worksheet approved by teacher, and showing technical skill appropriate to the media used. OR

4-6 minute film created, using worksheet approved by teacher, and showing technical skill appropriate to the media used.

 

10 minute film created, using worksheet approved by teacher, and showing lack of technical skill appropriate to the media used. OR

7-9 minute film created, using worksheet approved by teacher, and showing technical skill appropriate to the media used.

10-15 minute film created, using worksheet approved by teacher, and showing technical skill appropriate to the media used.
Written Reflection Less than ½ page reflection on the creation process of the research and filmmaking. ½ page- 1 page reflection on the creation process of the research and filmmaking, with somewhat accurate spelling and grammar. 1-page written reflection on the creation process of the research and filmmaking, with mostly accurate spelling and grammar. 1-page (or more) written reflection on the creation process of the research and filmmaking, with accurate spelling and grammar.

Response is thoughtful and introspective.

Total Score: ________  Score: <11=F, 12-14=D, 15-16=C, 16-17=B, 18-19=A, 20=