MOVIES AND FILM IN THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS
FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS (ELA) AND LITERACY IN SOCIAL STUDIES
The 2010 Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects
offer substantial justification for teachers desiring to use film in and out of the classroom. However, the CCSS focus on teaching students to read complex informational texts and to write and speak clearly and persuasively. In that sense, instruction about film and making use of film will be secondary to the CCSS goals of a literate population.
The CCSS describe a set of skills which are required for success in college and the workplace, i.e., reading (including literary analysis), writing, speaking and listening. Each of the skill areas is divided into strands, called "College and Carreer Readiness Anchor Standards" (CCR). Under each CCR there are a number of specific standards. Each standard sets out goals as to the skill levels that are to be met by the end of each class year. The standards "focus on results rather than means" and do not prescribe how teachers are to reach the goals. CCSS, p. 4. The way the course is taught is left up to the teachers' discretion.
Several strands and a number of standards relate specifically to teaching about film. Sometimes the CCSS refer to "media" or "diverse media", using these terms to apply to a broad spectrum of non-textual communication, including film. These standards are set out in detail below. However, even when standards do not specifically relate to the use of movies, there is ample opportunity to use film to achieve the other curriculum goals of the CCSS. Since screened stories, rather than written texts, are the literature of today's youth, students will be motivated to study the elements and devices of fiction in a film rather than in a story made up of only words. In addition, it will be easier for them to grasp concepts such as theme, character development, and plot structure in the filmed media that they are comfortable with, rather than printed texts which are, reretably foreign to many of them. Thus, filmed stories are an excellent way to introduce the analysis of literature. After exposure to the concepts and method of literary analysis through film, students will more easily apply these concepts to the less familiar printed texts.
In addition, movies will get students to put their best into assignments and produce better results in all of the skills required by the curriculum except for reading. One of the great problems in American education is that students lack motivation. One of the causes of this lack of motivation is that they are being taught in schools designed in the 19th century using curriculla designed for the 19th century with teaching methods suited for the 19th century. Outside of school they live in a dynamic computerized and digitized world that is changing all the time. In other words, today's students are being taught to use pencil and paper when they should be taught with computers. To correct this situation will take fundamental educational reform and more resources than our society is presently willing to devote to education. However, until the reforms are implemented, using film in the classroom will ameliorate somewhat students' lack of interest in their studies. Students are interested in movies. As a screened story, it is part of their literature. This interest will cause them to do their best in writing or speaking assignments. Thus, in addition to the specific areas of the CCSS that provide for instruction in film and the use of film to introduce literary analysis, movies will motivate students to do their best in developing the literary analysis, writing, and speaking skills required by the CCSS.
The CCRs and standards that specificaly relate to using film in education are set out below.
STANDARDS FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS GRADES K - 12
Reading Standards: CCR 7. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
Speaking and Listening Standards: CCR 2.Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
Grade 4: RL.4.7. Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text.
Grade: 1: SL.1.2. Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
Grade 2: SL.2.2. Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
Grade 3: SL.3.2. Determine the main ideas and supporting details of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
Grade 4: SL.4.2. Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
Grade 5: SL.5.2. Summarize a written text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
STANDARDS FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS GRADES 6 - 12
Reading Standards:CCR 7. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
Speaking and Listening CCR 2. Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
Grade 6 RL.6.7. Compare and contrast the experience of reading a story, drama, or poem to listening to or viewing an audio, video, or live version of the text, including contrasting what they "see" and "hear" when reading the text to what they perceive when they listen or watch.
Grade 7: RL.7.7. Compare and contrast a written story, drama, or poem to its audio, filmed, staged, or multimedia version, analyzing the effects of techniques unique to each medium (e.g., lighting, sound, color, or camera focus and angles in a film).
Grade 8: Analyze the extent to which a filmed or live production of a story or drama stays faithful to or departs from the text or script, evaluating the choices made by the director or actors.
Grades 9 & 10: RL.9-10.7. Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment (e.g., Auden's "Musée des Beaux Arts" and Breughel's Landscape with the Fall of Icarus).
Grades 11 & 12: RL.11-12.7. Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem (e.g., recorded or live production of a play or recorded novel or poetry), evaluating how each version interprets the source text. (Include at least one play by Shakespeare and one play by an American dramatist.)
Grade 6: RI.6.7. Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.
Grade 7: RI.7.7. Compare and contrast a text to an audio, video, or multimedia version of the text, analyzing each medium's portrayal of the subject (e.g., how the delivery of a speech affects the impact of the words).
Grade 8: RI.8.7. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums (e.g., print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea.
Grade 9 - 10: RI.9-10.7. Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person's life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.
Grade 11 - 12: RI.11-12.7. Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.
Grade 6: SL.6.2. Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.
Grade 7: SL.7.2. Analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how the ideas clarify a topic, text, or issue under study.
Grade 8: SL.8.2. Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.
Grades 9 & 10: SL.9-10.2. Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source.
Grades 11 &: 12: SL.11-12.2. Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.
READING STANDARDS FOR LITERACY IN HISTORY/SOCIAL STUDIES — GRADES 6 - 12
CCR 7. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
Grades 6 - 8: RH.6-8.7. Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.
Grades 9 - 10: No Standard:
Grades 11 - 12: RH.11-12.7. Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
Note: One of the great deficiencies of the CCSS is that they do not provide standards for showing students how to watch films. **. The CCSS often use euphemisms for films such as "media" or "diverse media format". It is striking that in a society in which most children read very little but instead get their stories from screens, there is no required component of the curriculum to teach students about the artistic and persuasive devices of the cinema. ELA instruction was developed to show students how to appreciate the artistry of written fiction.
The majority of stories consumed by today's youth are watched on a screen, rather than read. In addition, students also receive non-fiction information by watching filmed documentaries. Therefore, students will benefit from being taught through and about screened presentations, particularly in ELA, social studies and health classes. The CCSS give short shrift to these important 21st century needs while admitting that the standards do not include all that should be taught. In that sense, while largely silent about the need to teach film and media literacy, the CCSS are not inconsistent with those goals.
Historical Fiction in Film Cross-Curricular Homework Project:
Having students watch movies outside of class conserves instructional time. Because viewing works of historical fiction will usually be the main way that students experience history in their adult lives, TWM suggests that each semester, students in high school social studies courses be given a homework assignment to watch four filmed works of historical fiction relating to the times and places covered by the course. Assignments requiring students to watch fewer films and to watch them with their parents are appropriate for middle school or junior high history classes. Students should be required to analyze the film by responding to the questions presented in this Worksheet. This can be done alone or in groups. See TWM's Historical Fiction in Film Cross-Curricular Homework Project
HISTORICAL FICTION IN THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS:
The Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects
(2010) include historical fiction as a genre of literature covered by the Standards. p. 57. There are several definitions of the genre. However, from the standpoint of a teacher in secondary school, any story contained in a novel, shorty story, play, or film is historical fiction if it is set among actual events in the past or when some of the characters are individuals who actually lived in the past. Thus, while books such as Uncle Tom's Cabin
, do not qualify as historical fiction under some definitions because the events portrayed occurred during the life-time of the author, students will benefit from analyzing the novel as historical fiction. Therefore, the definition of historical fiction for purposes of TeachWithMovies.com is any story which will benefit from an historical fiction analysis.
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