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    Use film
    By mt

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    I don't know what grade you teach, but I'll tell you what works for my sixth graders. I think your principal might like this too:

    I show the first 5-7 minutes of the film Oliver Twist. This is an absolutely textbook exposition. It really shows how author's craft parallels filmmaker's craft. We watch this exposition, then we infer, as a class, the setting (both the time period and the place). We infer Oliver's situation, and we infer the attitude of that society towards orphans. We infer the reason that Oliver begins to cry when he's sent to the work farm.

    Kids infer so well with film. My deal is to get them to use what they do so well in film, and transfer that to reading (where inferring is much harder). After we watch this, we brainstorm as a class all those inferences, then we watch again, then we write a complete and well-developed paragraph which articulates what we inferred and how we did so.

    I don't know what grade you teach, so I don't know that Oliver Twist would be a good choice for you, but the film Holes has a super exposition, as well. Lots of films do. Ice Age is GREAT for inferring character development. I teach my kids about cinematography, and how that equals word choice. We watch Ice Age and infer the development of the character Diego not just through words and actions, but through his facial expressions. You can infer a lot about Manny the Mammoth too.

    I just think that if I can call their attention to what they do naturally when viewing a film, then they do it more readily when they read.

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