Focus on Film Focus on Series

Teacher′s notes

Focus On Film is a jointly funded project by The National Archives and the South East Grid for Learning. This site presents film as a historical source and considers its advantages and disadvantages as evidence for the past.

Objectives

Focus on Film contents:

Different routes

The activities can be used with students at key stage 3 or 4 and can be used through two routes. The PC Version is for students with access to an individual computer to allow them to work individually or in pairs on the activities. There is opportunity for these to be used beyond the History classroom as well; perhaps as contextualised ICT lesson activities or for homework activities where students have available access to hardware.

The interactive whiteboard (IWB) versions can be used either for teacher-led activities or for groups of students wishing to work around the board. This approach will encourage a more discursive approach to the activities. In addition teachers can readily adapt the IWB versions for their own specific purposes. The range of resources will continue to build over time.

Activities for British and World History 1900 onwards
Activity topic PC Version Interactive Whiteboard Version
The Great War Activity 1: Is our Tommy talking sense? Activity 1: Is our Tommy talking sense?
Activity 2: Make a documentary about the Western Front 1916-18 Activity 2: Make a documentary about the Western Front 1916-18
This activity makes use of the online video-editing tool in the Editor's Room
World War Two Activity 1: Propaganda Minister Activity 1: Propaganda Minister
Activity 2: Did propaganda change? Activity 2: Did propaganda change?
Cold War Activity 1: Commentary on Yalta Activity 1: Commentary on Yalta
This activity makes use of the online video-editing tool in the Editor's Room
Activity 2: Behind the smiles: Evaluating film of Potsdam 1945 Activity 2: Behind the smiles: Evaluating film of Potsdam 1945

World War I

Activity 1 for PC/White Board: Is our Tommy talking sense?

This activity is designed to get students to think about the way film based reconstructions are created, and the extent to which they should be accepted as factual accounts of events. Students compare clips of an actor playing the role of a soldier discussing different aspects of trench life, to documentary evidence. Students can decide on the accuracy of the historical reconstruction.

World War I

Activity 2 for PC/White Board: Make a documentary about the Western Front 1916-18.

This activity involves the use of original footage, photographs and audio files of two historical commentators to create a short film about how successful the military leadership was during 1916 –18. Using a tool for film editing, students will be able to create their own interpretation of events.

World War II

Activity 1 for PC/White Board: Propaganda Minister!

The aim of this activity is to study extracts from the original government document for information and propaganda policy (1941). This policy explains what the government wants information and propaganda to do, and how they want to achieve it. Students have to decide whether our five film clips support the policy. There is a recording sheet to help students analyse the clips and decide if the films should be broadcast to the British people.

World War II

Activity 2 for PC/White Board: Did propaganda change?

This activity allows students to examine three more films from later in the war (1942 – 1944) and consider if these films are different in their message/ content/approach than those viewed in Activity 1. There is a recording sheet for students to record their conclusions.

Cold War

Activity 1 for PC/White Board: Commentary on Yalta, February 1945.

In this activity, students compare a silent newsreel film clip to extracts from two documents produced at the same time as the Yalta Conference. After examining all the sources, they produce their own film commentary using the film editing-tool. They should try and cover the issues that were discussed, the agreements that were reached, the relations between the three leaders and how the leaders viewed the future of the world after the end of the war. By way of conclusion they are encouraged to compare their own commentaries to the original newsreel clip with sound.

Cold War

Activity 2 for PC/Interactive Whiteboard: Behind the smiles: Evaluating film of Potsdam 1945.

In this activity, students compare a film clip (with a commentary) to two sources. The task is to write a short report about what the newsreel does not reveal about relations between the three leaders at the Potsdam Conference in 1945 in the light of the written evidence. This offers another opportunity for students to explore the film as evidence for the Cold War.

National Curriculum

Whilst the activities are targeted at Key Stage 3 & 4, the intention is that Focus on Film can be used in a variety of ways across all the Key stages 1-5 for teachers of the National Curriculum in History. The clips can be used to evaluate film as historical evidence and develop critical skills in History. In addition the materials could be used to support a range of attainment targets relating to visual literacy, editing and presentation in English, ICT, Media Studies and Drama. Other activities could be created using the film editing tool or by downloading video clips from the archive and working in your preferred video editing software. Please note that all of the audio files can also be downloaded. Right click on the file and "save target as" in the usual way.

Additional Online Sources for Film

The following websites provide access for schools to a wide range of film sources, many of which can be used freely for educational use. However, you are strongly advised to check copyright and licence agreements before making use of material in your teaching and learning.

Feedback

If you have any enquiries, suggestions or problems regarding Focus on Film, please contact us at education@nationalarchives.gov.uk Email.

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