Today I gave my students the option of negotiating how they wanted to demonstrate their understanding of film techniques. The modality had to be written and after explaining to them the objective of the task, I gave them two choices:
1. A formal test of 45 minutes in length. Students would have to identify (using prompts) different camera techniques and explain how they could be used by the director to create a particular effect on the audience.
2. A letter to the Director of “Cool Runnings”, Jon Turtletaub, explaining what they liked about the film. They had to specifically refer to two scenes and two different film techniques(from a choice of 4 techniques).
The majority chose the letter and as a class, decided that in order to achieve the objective/outcome the letter needed to be between 1 – 1/2 pages in length. Interesting – the letter option is more difficult and they chose the letter knowing this to be the case. They, “don’t like tests”.
From this, I created a task sheet which was distributed at a later lesson (I see them 3 times on Mondays) and as a class,we discussed the task in greater detail. This discussion although scaffolded by me, required significant imput from the students to explain what they thought was meant by key words.
They chose the due date (this Friday as opposed to Monday of next week).
I have attached the task sheet to the “Activities” Page. It has a number of activities all designed to develop deeper thinking about the task prior to submission and, after submission. It also provides clear scaffolding to ensure that all students can be successful.
Also … the students have chosen to send these letters to Jon Turtletaub! Some were not too keen, however, I chose to encourage this as, doing so will take the task from “just another letter task”, to the “real world”.