Monday, May 18, 2009

Just Go to the Movies

(Warning - huge video post!)

With only two days left at school, I needed a lesson plan that would keep the kids learning, quiet, and engaged. If you are a teacher, you know how extraordinarily difficult that is. If not, well, be glad you don't know what that's like.

So, I pulled out an old favorite English lesson of mine.

I'm going to go through the lesson here, briefly, so I have the links embedded somewhere with a few notes. It usually takes 1-2 class periods. If any of you teachers out there want more details, just ask!

(Literary tie-in: Symbolism, Theme, Mood/Tone)

1. Define "theme" in music and literature.
2. Talk about John Williams. What does the music tell you about the characters?
a. Harry Potter
b. Star Wars
c. Indiana Jones
3. Show clip from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, students track when they hear the theme and what it tells you about the character/situation. Discuss.

4. Discuss how what you hear affects what you see. Use to demonstrate (click on the white box)

5. Bonus video - show "Shadow" to talk about building suspense with sound.

Movie Saturday 2.03: Shadow from Brian Omura on Vimeo.

6. Discuss which comes first in movie-making - what you see or the music you hear. Explain that in music videos, it's the reverse.
7. Show example of music video that is designed around the lyrics to the song:

8. Bonus - Suffixes!

9. Teaser next video by saying that it shows the music instead of the words. Same band, by the way, as the last one. Show the beginning, then have kids pick it apart to figure out how Michel Gondry does that (Football Players = bass, Swimmers = synthesizer, Mummies = drums, Skeletons = guitar, Robots = vocoder).

10. The next video, also by Gondry, also shows the music. Again, pick apart and discuss.

11. Same director, same concept, different technique: (I just show the opening of the next video, since it is repetative.)

12. Bonus! Same band, same director, this time talk about mood and tone:

13. Still Gondry, Kylie Minogue. Show video, figure out what's happening, figure out why that's what they're showing - how it illustrates what's happening in the music (draw a spring on the board - the visual and song loops like a Slinky).

14. Talk about the symbol for infinity, show (usually more than once) and discuss how this video is an infinity loop.

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