Documentaries Inspire Social Responsibility, and Film Literacy in Kids!

by Megan Kiefer on January 16, 2011

This past term we conducted a documentary class with a group of 5th and 6th graders. The students were required to come up with a film about a topic that was pertinent to them. One team choose NYC’s Cycle Wars, another team choose how to combat pollution in NYC, and the final group decided to tackle
how to keep drugs out of the hands of minors.

The school gave us 2- 3 hours a week (mostly after-school) to work with the teams on their movies. The students were required to research their films, seek out and call opinionated people to interview, create a story, seek archival video and photos from the web, as well as learn how to edit on Final Cut in our brand new state of the art Mac Lab. Very exciting stuff!

The films stretched the students to think critically about a problem, collect information on both sides, and determine for themselves what their personal focus and message was to a viewing audience.

It has been fantastic to watch the students tackle certain illiteracies. Their critical thinking and argumentative skills have sharpened, as well as their ability to tease out a story from a mesh of interviews. I love seeing their enthusiasm as they share their ideas and get their message out – truly inspiring!

The next challenge they will embark on will be in social media and marketing. Once their films are complete we will post them and see how many hits they get. The team to get the most hits by the end of the year will
win a “prize of immeasurable value.” Stay tuned!

About the Contributor: Megan Kiefer, Co-Founder of Take Two Film Academy, is a regular blog contributor to the NYC Firm Schools Blog in the area of the arts.

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