Sixth Grade Completes Narrative Film Project

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Throughout January sixth grade English students spent time under the tutelage of Mrs. Ripley and Mr. Mattise working on creating narrative films. They prepared for this project in the first trimester in their discussions of narratives, focusing particularly on event details and word choices to help define their subjects.

“The students wrote a few narratives for practice,” said Mrs. Ripley, sixth grade English teacher. “When we began to think about turning their narratives into films they came to understand the importance of telling stories in different ways, in words and pictures.”

With the help of Mr. Mattise, a Communications Specialist in the School’s Office of Communications & Marketing and co-instructor of the Silent Film and Social Media intensive course in the Upper School, the students honed their narratives into scripts and used artifacts they brought from home to incorporate into their films. Though the subject choice was open to the students, the overwhelming majority chose to focus on a family member or friend and conduct personal research in family archives. Most focused on a person, place, or event that impacted their lives.

“The film gave many students the opportunity to research their family lineage, to document and archive meaningful stories,” said Mr. Mattise. “The goal was to grow their visual literacy while building something with a focused personal meaning.”

Gresham C. chose to make a movie about a former neighbor.

“I went to his house every day and made up a game on his trampoline so I thought that would be a good video,” he said. “It had a sad part too when I moved away, so the story had a happy and a sad part and I thought that was important for the story and video.”

Subject choice was key to student enthusiasm, creating an investment in each telling a meaningful tale.

“It’s cool that we can make our videos and pick what they are about,” said Katherine P. “I like that we can be creative about what we are doing!”

Selected films will be shared with Mr. Jones’ fifth grade class and viewed during Morning Meetings over the course of several weeks.

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