MR LAWRENCE'S FILM CLUB
Into Film Club of the month for March 2019 is Norbury Manor Primary School, in Croydon. They spoke to Stuart Lawrence about how taking part in film-based competitions with his Into Film Club has increased the confidence and self-esteem of his students.
How long has your Into Film Club been running?
Our film club has been running since September 2017. I introduced it initially to Year 6 students to challenge them during their SATs year. We meet every Monday lunch time between 1:00pm and 1:30pm. My core members are an exciting bunch of students who love film, especially animations from Pixar and Dreamworks.
How did you devise your own competitions?
I teach English and maths in my intervention sessions at school, which are aimed at raising the attainment of a key group of students, so I wanted to introduce and run a series of literacy based competitions to support the revision and learning of the students. I try to link the competitions to the topics we are covering in the curriculum. I am passionate about film, so I discussed possible competitions with the students, and they came up with the concept for a Chicken Run competition.
In this competition students were asked to design an A4 poster which outlined a plan of escape for the chickens of Tweedy's Farm. The poster needed to included a range of images and bullet points to help explain the escape plan in detail. A mystery DVD prize was used as an incentive.
I link our internal film club competitions either to a film we are screening or to the larger Into Film competitions that we see on the website. We opened the year with a screening of Ratatouille, so I created a ‘Design a Menu' competition which allowed the students to design a three-course menu, encouraging them to utilise their wide vocabulary. I put all the competition details onto a poster, enlarged it to A3 and then put it up outside my classroom.
I have since expanded the competitions to the whole of KS2 this year (Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 or equivalent) and I have designed a Norbury Film Club certificate for the winners. I award first, second and third place in the competitions and I provide an ‘excellent effort' certificate for students who have entered the competition but aren't successful. I also have a film club winner's noticeboard outside my classroom which I regularly update
I would say to new leaders that they need to embrace any opportunities that are on offer from Into Film, because they enhance the experience of the students.
What benefits do you think the competitions offer to your club members, and to the school as a whole?
The competitions increase the confidence and self-esteem of the students, as well helping them to improve their literacy skills. The competitions also give the students the chance to express themselves because the students at our school love art and design.
We take a look at different art topics throughout the year. As an example, one of my intervention students (who attends every screening and has entered a number of competitions) is fascinated by comics (like Dragon Ball) and the design element of competitions like our ‘Design an Escape Plan' competition. He can create storyboards and use his impressive sketching skills to illustrate and shade characters in detail. One of our other intervention students used his amazing art skills to design a Spider-Man film poster in a competition we held in October 2018.
What impact has the Into Film offer had on your film club and school?
I love working with Into Film, because we were lucky enough to take part in a fantastic workshop in October 2018, where our film club members created a short film discussing women's rights. Members of the Into Film team visited Norbury Manor armed with iPads. The students took part in an outdoor screening that came courtesy of KinoVan, watching historical footage of women working in munitions factories. Our club members from years 5 and 6 took part in a Q&A talking about the difficulties women faced before and during WWI.
After the screening the students worked in small groups planning and then recording short films, which were either interviews or role-plays. Their footage was combined with the stock footage from the historical archive and I screened the finished films to our members. These extra-curricular opportunities inspire our students.
Have you seen any positive changes in your club members since they joined your Into Film Club?
The students who attend our screenings and take part in our competitions have gained added confidence, enabling them to discuss their opinions on film with other students, which is tremendously empowering.
What is one piece of advice you could give to new Into Film Club leaders?
I would say to new leaders that they need to embrace any opportunities that are on offer from Into Film, because they enhance the experience of the students. My students are looking forward to the next Into Film archive workshop!