This lesson refers to the series of lessons,Books and Films, Matilda and Holes, English and Finnish.

We had looked at the differences between books and films in both the English and the previous Finnish classes Books and films, Finnish, lesson 3, so in this lesson I gave the class their challenge.

Content aim: to familiarize the pupils with portayal of character through different media.

Thinking aim: to give a challenge which will force the pupils to look at things in a new way, practice in making ENV.

Material: The book Matilda, by Roald Dahl, in Finnish.

- In groups of four the pupils read the first few pages of Matilda, enough to get an idea of what Matilda and her parents are like.

- I then set the task: Write the script for the first two minutes of a film of Matilda in such a way that you show the nature of the parents and of Matilda in that time.

- For the first time I felt that I probably had really given them a challenge, because they were completely stumped and didn't know what to do , saying it was too difficult and asking for help.

- We the considered together what we would need to know to get started and we decided we'd need to find out exactly what we know about the parents, and how we know it. To do this I introduced the idea of an ENV of the portrayal of the parents in the book.

- the Element was the portrayal of the parents; the Names of the parameters were their characteristics, for example, self-centered, narrow-minded, stupid, uncaring etc. ; the Values were examples of how this was shown in the book.

- We built this up together in the class through discussion and they then wrote it in their notebooks. By the time we had done this the lesson was over.

LESSON 5, a continuation of lesson 4

- We reflected on the ENV we had made in the previous lesson and thought about which characteristics might be the most/ least important to protray in a film, and how they would be able to get the idea across.

- The pupils then wrote the scripts in groups. By this time they seemed to have a better idea of how to get started and worked hard and enthusiastically.


- The groups read their scripts aloud to the rest of the class. The whole calss reflected on the scripts and if they achieved the aim of portaying the nature of the parents and Matilda. How could they be improved? 

- As most of the pupils hadn't actually read the rest of the book yet, they either imagined something they though was going to happen, or looked ahead in the book and made a scene from sopmething which happens later, as a means of starting the film. We could have done a lot of work on improving their writing, but unfortunately we didn't have time.

LESSON 7, the last lesson on this topic, was in the English class. See Books and films, English, lesson 7

My reflections on these lessons: I hadn't done anything like this before and it was very interesting to try out and see what a real challenge might look like. It would have been great if we'd have the time to go on and improve their work, make instructions for how to write such a scene, and then try them out by portraying another character from another part of the book in a film scene. Although I know their scripts could have been much improved, it would be interesting to know how I should have gone about showing them their weaknesses in a thinking way.


# Alexander Sokol 2011-12-11 13:29

thanks for sharing this - very interesting indeed.

I'd be happy to discuss how more work on thinking could have been incorporated in the lessons you are describing but I feel I need more information on the outputs. For example, could it be possible to see some of the ENVs you built under Materials on this site? I am asking as I am not sure hhow it worked. For example, if you say that the element is 'portrayal of a character in the book', then there should be parameters of portrayal. Narrowmindedness is a characteristics of a character but I am not sure we can say this is a parameter of portrayal. Do you see what I mean?

If I understand what you wanted to do in the right way, your aim was to bring them to seeing that we 'tell' a story in a different way in a book and a film. You wanted them to see it through description of characters (or portrayal as you say - here we are in agreement). Now parameters, in my view, would be different ways of describing, e.g. through words said by someone, character's own language, actions, etc. Then specific words, actions etc. would be values of these parameterers.

I also wanted to ask you about the evaluation criteria for the scripts produced by learners. Can you share them and comment on why they were like this?
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