I have always used short films within my teaching, but it is great to see that fantastic website Literacy Shed (http://www.literacyshed.com/) is perfect for keeping me abreast of some brilliant trailers and short films that I might not have picked up on. I visit the site regularly to see what Rob Smith and his team have found. I have used lots of their films including Alma (very scary), The Clocktower (set in a fantasy land) and Eleven (about a space marine who is outnumbered). Very different, but all very powerful in their own way.
I am always looking for interesting visual texts to engage the children. I got a lot of mileage out of the music video accompanying Titanium (http://youtu.be/JRfuAukYTKg) because it left so many things unanswered. I stopped the clip after the first few seconds to ask the pupils to decide what they thought had happened, giving evidence for their opinion. I then stopped it again when the boy walked past his teacher who shut the door quickly, to see if there opinion had changed and then when he is cycling away from the school.
The film is broken up into three main parts – the school, getting home and being at home, running through the woods and it is cyclical, so it is great for structure and paragraphing, as well as teaching children how to build up language to create tension. I have also used the clip for drama and getting the children into the child’s head, which is great for writing in role. More able children have been extended by writing the events from the teacher’s perspective.
Dangle (http://youtu.be/kzRD59r2j2A) is also another fantastic film for getting children to really think. It is about a man walking in the snow who finds a cord dangling down from the sky. He decides to pull it and all the lights are switched off! I have used this for introducing the notion of dilemma and consequences. A great film that really gets children talking, as there are real consequences to his actions!