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Posts Tagged ‘film noir’

Right, half the year is gone and I’m back at school. For followers of my ‘real life’, I spent the holidays (sorry, non-contact time) in Washington, DC and New York. I know it’s churlish to complain, having just had a fantastic holiday, but ‘ve come back really tried and feeling quite under-prepared for school this term. Thankfully my Y12s are doing production this term – which means I basically take a supervisory role for the term – and my Y13s are starting off with a Film Noir unit which will involve a bunch of films and material that I know like the back of my hand.

Junior English is another story. We’re supposed to being doing a Shakespeare unit and, whilst I assume that my 10/1 performing arts class will enjoy studying The Bard, I am not convinced that my 10/3 LEC (learning enhancement class) will feel the same – many of them have major ESOL issues and getting them to read extended English texts is difficult enough. I need to make a call over the next few days as to how, exactly, I need to differentiate the material.

I’m also starting a half-semester Y10 Media Studies class, doubling up a lot of students from 10/1, which means I’ll see a handful of students seven periods a week. Lord have mercy.

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Term 3, week 3

My Y9 students are currently studying the novel Private Peaceful by Michael Murpurgo and this week they’re making propaganda posters. I still really struggle with group work in that class – for every class that works well (Gary, Mark) there are some students who just use any non-structured time for mucking around, talking etc. I am not sure whether I should just not care, or whether I’m doing something wrong. (Or, perhaps more to the point, whether there’s something about the dynamic of that particular class that just makes it difficult.)

I am getting some buy-in with film noir, especially with some of the more stylish girls in the class, who really dig the whole femme fatale look. It was the school ball at the end of week 1, and Rose looked totally noir with her cocktail dress, pale skin and dark hair. Fantastic.

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Term 3, week 1

Am really pleased with how my Y10 Media Studies class is going, generally. The class has swollen from 18 (nice) to 30 (waaaay too big) over the last week, but the students are generally really nice and a mostly working well. Looking at their asTTle results, there is an odd mix of high ability students mixed in with some very low ability students. I am hoping that the “hands on” nature of the course will mean that these students will be able to work constructively together, and that everyone will have opportunities to create stuff.

Noir seems to be going well. Today I did a bit of chalk’n’talk about the Hays Code. Sometimes I find it extremely difficult not to just default to tertiary style. I know I need to work on this. But at the same time, how do you just impart vast chunks of important information on the students? They really need to know this stuff, and until it gets drilled in the rest of the context is going to be difficult for them to grasp.

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Am starting a Film Noir genre unit with my Y13s. I’m not sure how well they’ll deal with the classic noir stuff, so having started them off with Brick as a taster for the codes and conventions. Based on the first half, it looks like they’re liking it. I’m really looking forward to teaching this unit.

Now that my Y13s are (mostly) done with production – will probably give them a few more periods to tidy up – I’ll start my Y12s on horror production this week. Today I showed them some exemplars from previous years, and also got them to identify the codes and conventions of the genre. I didn’t actually do very much teaching of horror last term – was mostly just exposing them to a bunch of different films – but think that, now they’re immersed in the genre, the teaching should come easily.

Today was also the first period with my new Y10 Media Studies class. It was a funny period – lots of students came late, so I had to repeat a lot of the “getting to know you” stuff. Weird how these things pan out, especially picking up a second semester class where all the students know each other and I don’t know any of them.

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