Bryn Mawr Film Institute

See · Hear · Feel · Film

See · Hear · Feel · Film teaches third-grade students critical viewing skills and the techniques of telling a story through film. Using the cinema to spark their own creative expression, the children learn to write with clarity, confidence, and joy, and improve their own storytelling skills. The curriculum, designed to meet the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, consists of viewing short movies from around the world and participating in writing exercises and creative collaboration. Every teacher receives the entire curriculum, a DVD with the program films, and templates for all handouts and exercises. All students receive their own film journal. The curriculum was designed by Anne Marie Santoro of the Jacob Burns Film Center.

The goals of the program are to use short films from around the world to help third-grade students:

  • Become more active, thoughtful viewers of visual media
  • Understand how to write with clarity, confidence, and joy
  • Improve their creative expression and storytelling skills
  • Lead more examined lives

See · Hear · Feel · Film provides opportunities for third-grade students to:

  • Exercise their critical-viewing skills and imagination
  • Experience a variety of films from around the world
  • Examine how filmmakers tell stories
  • Engage their senses to focus on their inner and outer worlds
  • Enliven their creative expression and storytelling skills using the tools of a filmmaker

What Educators Are Saying about See · Hear · Feel · Film

"The curriculum is very well organized and teacher friendly. Resources are reproducible, easily accessible, and very relevant to the units. Vicki began Unit 3 and found this Unit to be a lot of fun with the kids. She said that it has been engaging for all of the students."

"We have found that some of our students have been more observant during Unit 2 versus Unit 1. Class discussions were richer, students paid more attention to different aspects of the movie—especially background scenery and how it can trick the viewer."
3rd Grade Teachers at the Marshall Street School in Norristown

"Thank you so much for the great educational morning! The students really enjoyed themselves and left there feeling confident in themselves as writers. As teachers, we enjoyed seeing our students perform so well for you all."
3rd Grade Teachers at Gotwals Elementary School in Norristown

"We really appreciate this opportunity. My third grade team really enjoyed the training session-in fact Chris said it was the best staff development session he has ever been to-so we are all very excited to see our students participating."
Principal at Conshohocken Elementary School

"My students have been working on the comprehension strategies of visualizing and using their senses as they read. I feel the boys are more focused on creating mind movies as they read and they are aware of visual clues when watching a movie." "We would like to thank you for such a wonderful morning. The boys had so much fun watching the movies and engaging in the activities."
3rd Grade Teachers at the Haverford School

"We in the Norristown Area School District are delighted to be continuing this project. Responses to the program thus far are uniformly enthusiastic. We very much look forward to continuing this partnership's success."
Superintendent, Norristown Area School District

"'The core of man's spirit comes from new experiences. -- Thoreau'
This quote is a mission of mine. I want to bring as many new experiences to my students as I can in the short time I have them. The students we service at our school are from low socioeconomic backgrounds, broken homes with one or more parent incarcerated, and many other hardships. I learn so much from them everyday about resilience and their thirst for learning new things. I would love to bring them thousands of new experiences daily but of course the funding is always a problem. Through the help of Bryn Mawr Film Institute my third grade students from the past three years have been fortunate enough to experience amazing films through the See, Hear, Feel Film program. This program has brought my students unforgettable experiences of visiting a film institute, working with intellectual volunteers, and viewing amazing films in turn teaching them to live more examined lives. This program has introduced them to the world. Many of my students have never left their hometown of Norristown, except on a train to Philadelphia. It is amazing to realize that majority of them have no perception that there are other places, cultures, and different people in the world. In school we do not teach a social studies curriculum anymore. See, Hear, Feel Film exposes them to different cultures, languages, people, and geography. My students grow into active and empathetic human beings. They learn about reading subtitles, writing critical responses, viewing films critically, storytelling and writing, filmmakers, screenwriters, and the camera."
3rd Grade Teacher at Gotwals Elementary School in Norristown

Read letters from teachers and students who've participated in SHFF. [1.2MB PDF]

Area schools that have participated in SHFF:

Independent Schools

  • The Episcopal Academy
  • The Haverford School
  • St. Aloysius Academy
  • The Shipley School
  • Westtown School

Colonial School District

  • Conshohocken Elementary School
  • Plymouth Elementary
  • Whitemarsh Elementary
  • Ridge Park Elementary

Lower Merion School District

  • Cynwyd Elementary School
  • Gladwyne Elementary School
  • Belmont Hills Elementary School
  • Penn Valley Elementary School

Norristown Area School District

  • Gotwals Elementary School
  • Whitehall Elementary School

Philadelphia School District

  • Finletter Elementary School
  • Fitler Academic Plus School

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