Short Films as a Tool to Teach Short Story Elements
Short films can be an effective tool for teaching English literature. Not only are they enjoyable and engaging, but they also provide an opportunity to explore the elements of short stories in a creative way. Let’s look at how short films can be used in the classroom to teach students about the different components that make up a successful short story.
Short films often have simple plots that are easy for students to understand and follow. This makes them ideal for exploring plot development with students. Short films can help teachers demonstrate how writers build tension by introducing obstacles, developing characters, and creating suspenseful moments throughout the story. Additionally, teachers can ask viewers to analyze what they observe to determine how the writer was able to effectively convey meaning using these techniques. For example, the short film “Glued” is a short film about a mom who is desperately trying to get her son to put down a joystick and join the rest of civilization outside. The young son refuses to listen to mom, sending mom over the edge. This story has a clear plot line that teaches exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution. Click HERE for the full lesson on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Click HERE FOR THE DIGITAL COURSE ABOVE
The characters in short films are typically well-developed and memorable. This provides teachers with an ideal platform for discussing characterization with their students. By studying the characters in short films, students can learn about character arcs, motivations, and relationships between characters. Teachers can ask questions such as ‘how has this character changed over time?’ or ‘what does this character want?’ Throughout this discussion, it is important for teachers to emphasize that characterization is not just about physical traits; rather it should focus on what drives a character’s behavior and actions within a story. In a snippet of the beloved film by Pixar, “Up”, the unique, sweet, and hard to find relationship between Carl and Ellie is displayed. The film snippet portrays all the different physical and emotional qualities of Ellie and Carl. Click HERE for the full lesson on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Theme & Symbolism
Short films provide visuals which makes them great tools for exploring theme and symbolism with students. Through close analysis of visual imagery—such as colors, settings, scenes—students can gain insight into what themes or symbols may be represented within a particular film or story. For example, if a student notices that there is frequent use of water throughout the film, they may draw connections between water as a symbol of cleansing or renewal within the context of the story they are watching. In addition to visual cues, sound effects can also be used as clues when exploring theme and symbolism in short films since sound effects often evoke emotion which helps drive home certain themes or symbols within a story. The short film “Umbrella” is the perfect short story to learn about theme and symbolism. Click HERE for the full lesson on Teachers Pay Teachers. For three films in one that teach theme, click HYPOCRITES, ALIKE, ROMPER PARADIGM TO TEACH THEME for the full lesson on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Short films are an excellent tool for teaching English literature in the classroom because they offer visuals which allow students to better understand complex topics such as plot development, characterization and theme & symbolism through creative exploration. By combining traditional learning methods such as lectures with activities involving short films, teachers can help keep their classes engaged while also ensuring that their students gain knowledge about important literary elements. So why not give it a try? You might just find that your students love it!
Here is a list of additional short films that teach short story elements:
TROIS DE CHATS (Three Cats)