History of Film


Course Syllabus

Mrs. Rice (B118)


Prep Period: 2nd Period (9:30 AM ~ 10L45 AM                               

Phone: (320) 685-8683 Ext 4114

Home   (320) 685-5426

Cell      (320)  290-5054

E-Mail:         ricep@rocori.k12.mn.us                                                                   


“I believe movies are the most powerful medium for change on Earth.  They are also a powerful medium for institutionalizing complacency, oppression and reaction.”


                                                                                      ~ Alice Walker, Same River Twice


Welcome to an exciting topic of study for ROCORI High School’s English Department!  I am extremely excited to see you as well as to teach and learn beside you!  This course is a study of the history of filmmaking, its technology, the various technicians, producers, and movie stars, and the directors who made it happen as well as their techniques.  Over the course of six weeks, we will examine film terminology, inventions, and genres (types) of films.  In addition, we will learn about the film industry using a combination of mediums, including, but not limited to, documentary films, sample films/ videos from each decade as well as our textbook, FLASHBACK: A Brief History of Film.



Materials Required:


Ø  Two Pocket Folder

Ø  Learning Log Notebook (single subject) or theme paper

Ø  Pens (blue or black), pencils, a correcting pen/ marker

Ø  A highlighting maker

Ø  Computer Flash Drive and/or Computer Server ID

Ø  FLASHBACK Textbook — Make sure that you have this text with you EVERYDAY of class (there may be unexpected opportunities when you will have time to work with your group and this book will be an essential reference!



Units of Study:


Overall, this class is divided up by various time periods of the Twentieth & Twenty-first Centuries (decades).  The assigned textbook and teacher notes as well as several documentaries will provide background information about the history of the film industry from the beginning of the Twentieth Century until the start of the 1960’s. Various groups will pick up and “instruct” the class on the subsequent decades in film. The assigned textbook, in addition to the afore mentioned student group panel presentations, will also provide background into the Twenty-First Century.  Sample films from each decade will be viewed/ discussed and critiqued.  Whenever possible, these films will be presented in our school theatre to allow students to get and “authentic feel” for what the movie felt like to original viewers.


Please note that for students to truly be successful in the class, daily attendance and participation is crucial! It is impossible to re-create the various topics and discussions student miss when absent, so every effort should be made to not miss class.


Assessment and assignments include (but are not limited to): 


·         Learning Log/ Journals (2 pages per week)

·         Various quizzes and discussions on the background information from each period

·         Group Panel Presentation & Power Point on a Decade of Film History (1960’s to present)

·         EXTRA CREDIT OR MAKE UP ASSIGNMENT (as needed for student absences): One Essay of Choice (3-5 pages).  This may be a Film Review or Star Paper (research based)


Each of these evaluations will be worth approximately the same amount of points toward your final grade (around 50 points each), EXCEPT for the Final Learning Log/ Journal, which will be around 100 points.  Various quizzes or worksheets may also be used to teach and ensure ACTIVE STUDENT PARTICIPATION!  The ultimate student grade (reflection of learning) will come from the Group Presentation & Power Point (visual); this assignment will earn 100 points in addition to daily participation points.



1.      All assignments must be completed!  Late assignments will have points deducted from the final grade.

2.      Please note that all assignments must be completed satisfactorily—even if no points are received.

3.      Please note that students will earn various points (or lose points) based upon the amount of time and work they put forth on their group project over the course of the term.

4.      The grading scale used for this class is as follows:




90%-100%      “A”

80%-89%        “B”

70%-79%        “C”

60%-69%        “D”


·         Please note that all grading is based upon the total points earned by the student.  All major tests, quizzes, and assignments must be completed BEFORE the LAST DAY OF THE TERM in order to receive final credit.  Grades are entered into a computer grade book and may be viewed by students/ parents as needed.


Attendance (Policy on Make-Up Work):


Obviously, daily attendance is the key to success at work or school.  Because of its very unique subject matter and focus, much of the instruction will be accomplished through the use of film/ video.  This viewing is soooo crucial that each film (or part of a film) missed will mandatory have to be made up!  Some of the films we use in this class are available through the Great River Regional Library and its branches (or even Netflix); ACTUAL PROOF of viewing must be provided in the form of a rental receipt AND a Media Center staff member, parent, or guardian’s signature.  Very few videos we use in class are actually available to rent at regular video stores, as they are documentaries and/ or “classics.”  Since we only have one copy of each video, we are unable to lend them out of the school setting.  Therefore, the only other option for making up film viewing is for students to make arrangements with Mrs. Wait (or Renee/ Theresa) or myself to come in after school.  Failure to make up ALL viewing missed will result in and Incomplete (and possible Failure).  Remember: it is your responsibility to make up any and all work missed, whether it is viewing time, assignments or tests.  Late work will not receive full credit!  In addition, group work time and presentations cannot be made up!  Students absent during any part of a presentation (prep or presentation) will automatically earn “0” points with no opportunity to make up! Please note that much of my time this spring is already scheduled with various meetings and appoints, so students must pre-schedule appoints as soon as possible!  Drop ins are unacceptable!

Expectations of Teacher:

I firmly believe that all students have the ability to be successful in this course!  In addition, I believe that students in high school have the ability to be guided by basic expectations.  This being the case, I feel that if ALL students observe the following four areas listed below, this will not only be a successful learning opportunity for everyone, but an enjoyable term as well.




Keeping the following four areas in mind, the list below are simply a few guidelines to help clarify certain issues for students.


·         Be prepared to begin class immediately at the tone.  Detention (parent call) will be assigned on 2nd tardy! 

·         Bring all necessary materials to class each day—this includes your textbook.  NO PASSES GIVEN!

·         Leave the telephone, computer station, front table, windows and blinds, as well as the teacher desk area and front table as is—Please avoid disturbing these areas!

·         Dismissal is by teacher NOT the tone! Stay in your desk areas until dismissed.  Avoid milling around door!

·         NO food or drink is allowed within the classroom at any time.  Please be advised that ANYTHING brought into class will be thrown away! Food and drink are NEVER allowed in the theatre!

·         C.D. Players (and any other technology/ device) are allowed only at the discretion of Mrs. Rice (there may be times when listening to music quietly may be an acceptable option ~ Mrs. Rice will notify students if this is an option).