Monday, October 13, 2008

Visual Literacy: The Story of Movies

Visual literacy is an increasingly important compentency in today's digital and highly visual society. This is the ability to see, to understand, and ultimately to think, create, and communicate graphically. Visual literacy incorporates several of the skills indentified by the Parternship for 21st Century Skills including critical thinking, media literacy and communication.

I just happened upon a fantastic Middle School Curriculum that is designed to teach students to "read" the visual language of Film. The curriculum (entitled "The Story of Movies") is a project of the Film Foundation, established in 1990 by Martin Scorcese and fellow film directors Woody Allen, Robert Altman, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas, Sydney Pollack, Robert Redford, and Steven Spielberg.

There are three curricula each based on a different film: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Day the Earth Stood Still and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Students learn the language of film, the composition of a shot, the collaborative process of film and the connection between history and culture (among other topics).

The Story of Movies curriculum is available for free to teachers by completing a simple Web registration.

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Books on my reading list

  • A Whole New Mind
  • Designing the Sustainable School
  • Digital Storytelling in the Classroom: New Media Pathways to Literacy, Learning & Creativity
  • Digital Storytelling: A Creator's Guide to Interactive Entertainment
  • How to Grow a School
  • No Homework & Recess All Day
  • The World is Flat