Silent Film Camp by Quynh Cao
Camps are special at Lake and Park because children and teachers get to work with each other in new configurations. We began with a discussion about what we know about silent films and what we wonder; children collectively knew a lot and wondered a lot, as well.
We looked at Sendak's In the Night Kitchen through new eyes, looking for comedian Oliver Hardy in the role of each of the three bakers and then watched three short silent films featuring both Laurel and Hardy in the early years of their careers.
As we learned about the evolution of still photography to moving film, we created "twisters" to show how moving two pictures quickly on a dowel caused the pictures to blend together. We made flip books, another aide to understanding animation.
We combined our efforts to produce a simple video in silent film fashion, based on an old song, "She Sat in the Hammock", which we altered to "She Sat in the Armchair"; the show starred Tillie, and Gus, was directed by Owen, filmed by Rowan, with props made by River and Yael. Everyone sang as Bruce played the guitar. After a week of collobration and production, we enjoyed a matinee viewing of three silent films. Camps are a time for children to focus intensely in a thematic study with other children across the grades. It is wonderful to see children encourage growth and development in creativity and expression among each other.
Click on this link to enjoy the three silent films children created; The Man with a Burned Face, How to Make a Silent Film, and Who Did It?