I had a meeting this week, during the school day, in my building. It meant prepping a sub plan, but, since I was in the building, something I could get going before running out to the meeting.
As often happens, this wasn’t the best time for my Grade 9s to be without me. We’ve just finished one things we’ve been working on, and we’re not quite where I want us to be for the to work on another thing without me.
We’ve been looking at monsters, and scary stuff like that, as a way to explore imagination and empathy. I needed a one and done activity.
Recently, a tweet came across my feed that featured “Tuck Me In,” a wonderful little short film about the monster under the bed. I watched it again, seeing if there was a way to use it. As I watched it on YouTube, as I often do, I scanned the other videos suggested. This led me to “Run.” This one minute short is a neat little piece of horror. It was great fun to watch with the students.
I asked my students to use “Run” as inspiration for a piece of creative writing. In the few minutes I had with them, we talked about what we could write.
- We could tell the story that is told in the film, focusing on description.
- We could tell what happens before the events we see in the film.
- We could write about what happens after the film.
- We could write a story that explains the events of the film, giving it context.
- We could write an improved version of what’s in the film, making it better.
I then left, giving them time to write. I popped back at the end of the class, to find out that the excitement from the scary short film we had watched kept up, and they had written well, using the time to create and conference. If the feedback from my sub is any indication, then I’ve got some writing that my students are excited about.
I’ve still got “Tuck Me In” to play with, which I planned to use as fodder for reactive writing and discussion. However, if the writing from “Run” bears out like I think it will, then I’ve got another medium to explore with my students. I know that I’ll be digging through short film to push inquiry, explore ideas and inspire creativity.
Any other ideas to use short films like these in the classroom? Do you have any shorts that you use that are good?