Using a short animation film to develop film literacy Peta Higgs uses a short, enigmatic, animation film ‘The Monk and the Fish’, to develop the film literacy of her Year 6 pupils at Cranmer School in South London. Set in an abbey, the story follows the increasingly frantic efforts of a monk trying to catch a fish. The film has a sound track of classical music but no dialogue and only a few sound effects. Peta begins her lesson by getting her pupils to listen to the sound track on its own and to practice their skills of inference and deduction. They then develop their ideas about the monk’s character by using the drama technique, ‘Sculptor and Sculpted’. Peta feels that visually rehearsing their ideas in this way helps structure their writing.

In the second half of the lesson Peta introduces film language, the pupils practise doing different camera shots and begin to critique parts of the film. By the end of the lesson the class predicts how the story might end, and reacts to what actually happens

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