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Lights, Camera, Education! Film Resources For The Classroom

Little girl with popcorn watching filmMovies have had their place in the classroom, long before there was talk of TV shows becoming ‘the new literature’. Most of us can probably remember watching the film adaptations of books we’d been studying and then bringing this into the classroom later in life as teachers.

Using films as an educational tool is often touted as an enjoyable and motivating way to teach a variety of subjects; there is certainly no shortage of source material, and more continues to be produced and released on an almost daily basis. You could probably spend hours trawling the Internet for the best planning resources that give ideas or lesson plans around films – luckily, you don’t have to, because we went and did it for you.

BFI – British Film Institute
All right – you probably already knew this one, so we cheated a bit by including this titan of British movies. It’s definitely worth highlighting multiple times thanks to its vast bank of resources, links to other helpful sites, and tools that can enhance your use of films with both primary and secondary age pupils. Be sure to visit their archive here; while it’s no longer active, there is still a huge vault of information.

Into Film
This is a great website that is dedicated to engaging young people with the film industry as a whole. The whole website is packed with useful information on training, starting up film clubs, and a large library of teach resources that you can filter by age.

Film Education
Supported by the UK film industry, this website promotes the use of film in the curriculum and has a decent library of resources sorted by Key Stage.

Teach With Movies
While this extensive website presents resources better suited to an American audience, there is still some useful information to be found thanks to their subject organisation. There’s also suggested short films, which UK teachers may find interesting when they are limited on time.

If you’re a Twitter user, you’ll already know how engaging and immersive it can be, especially where hashtags are concerned. #TeachWithFilm is another resource with an American slant, but the conversation is driven by real educators, which can be useful for gauging the usefulness of a particular film or lesson plan.

IMDb's search tools make it easy to find movies by subject

IMDb’s search tools make it easy to find movies by subject

The Internet Movie Database is well known, and is probably the first port of call for anyone wanting to find out who that actor was they thought they saw in the background. By making the tools it offers work for you, you can unlock a whole new range of ideas that can be used in the classroom. As an example, you can filter your search by plot by entering ideas or concepts. Bear in mind that a large portion of these results will often be TV shows, but movies will also appear in search results. Extra handy hint – use Google to power-up your search of IMDb by entering site:imdb.com before you search for a subject. This limits the search to IMDb’s website only and can help you sift through some of the user-compiled movie lists.

Are you experienced in using films in the classroom? We’d love to hear from teachers who have found innovative ways of using movies to inspire and educate.