For some time now we have used film to support writing. Here we use a Scooby Doo trailer to explore how focusing on different aspects of a film changes the writing.
We always turn the sound down on this trailer and stop it before the Batman outline turns into Scooby Doo. The children need to watch it several times just to respond to it as it is, no sound and no Scooby Doo as that completely changes the film. We would show them it all after we have finished.
Divide the children into groups and ask each group to focus on a different aspect: camera angle and movement, light and dark and colour. The children watch the trailer several times and m ake notes about what they see and then discuss. Share what they see.
They then watch again but jot down words and phrases that link to their focus and the film. The camera group often come up with things such as swooping up and over, racing along, gliding down the corridor, turning and choosing the doorway. Here the verb choice to describe the movement and prepositions are very strong.
The light and dark group might jot down phrases such as moonlight shining on water, lit up house, shadows of trees, light entering the gloom from the moonlit windows, patterned shadows. Here noun modifiction and expansion are strong.
These can then be crafted into sentences to describe the film clip. Depending upon the focus for observation, the paragraphs will be very different and that can then lead into a discussion about what you as a writer want your reader to see and feel.
There is also something interesting about the fact that whatever is moving around the house is hidden from the viewer and with older children it would be worthwhile exploring how you hide something from the reader and then decide to reveal it. The revealing in this clip leads to humour and completely changes the tone. Different ways of revealing could be explored in writing and the impact upon the reader.
Do you have any film clips you like to use to support children in writing?