14th September 2001 at 01:00
FILM AT KEY STAGE 1. Workpack and study video. Film Education pound;12.50

This is a fantastic resource, best housed on an open staffroom shelf, poised for use. It includes a video of 35 film clips from eight children's films, with a total running time of a little over an hour, carefully selected to explore a range of cinematic devices, such as animation and use of sound.

The A4 teacher's booklet contains 13 worksheets, many generic (that is, they can be used with a variety of clips); general tips on using film in the classroom; and detailed teaching notes on broad themes and individual films.

Although pitched at key stage 1, many of the ideas and suggestions for pupil tasks would be perfect for Years 3 and 4. It's really best thought of as a cross-stage Y1-Y4 resource.

Louise Wordsworth has done a good job on the teacher's notes. The cross-referencing to the literacy framework is a little over the top, with each suggested task lumbered with curriculum relevance, but the general message is a welcome one: film is the perfect medium for opening up classroom discussion about setting, characterisation, narrative and reviewing.

With more schools having access to interactive whiteboards, the class can occasionally shift their attention from the big book to the big(gish) screen. Clips 14 to 20 concentrate on Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web, so there is plenty of potential for moving beyond mere entertainment and getting down to some rigorous comparing and contrasting.

Michael Thorn is deputy head of Hawkes Farm primary school, Hailsham, East Sussex

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