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City of Cranes

Premiere Date: December 10, 2008

Lesson Plan

FILM: This lesson plan is designed to be used with the film City of Cranes, part of the POV Shorts Program.

POV documentaries can be recorded off-the-air and used for educational purposes for up to one year from their initial broadcast. In addition, POV offers a lending library of DVDs and VHS tapes that you can borrow any time during the school year — FOR FREE! Get started by joining our Community Network.

Please visit our Film Library to find other films suitable for classroom use.

Watch City of Cranes online.

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OBJECTIVES

By the end of this activity, students will:

  • Explore the role that "perspective" plays in disciplines such as literature, art and politics.

SUBJECTS: Current events, geography, language arts, civics, arts

GRADE LEVELS: 6-12

LENGTH OF FILM: Approximately 14 minutes

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ACTIVITY

  • Ask students to sit in different seats in the classroom than the seats they usually choose. Then, watch the film and have students note some of the observations made by the crane operators. Discuss how the crane operators' perspectives of the city are different from those of people who live and work there.

  • Explain how "perspective" plays an important role in literature, art, film, mathematics, politics, journalism and other disciplines.

  • Request that each student choose an unusual perspective related to one of the above disciplines and create something that reflects that perspective. Some examples of potential projects:

    • Take a secondary character from a novel the class has read and rewrite an event in the novel from that character's perspective.

    • Create a short film that captures a daily ritual such as school lunch from the perspective of a student from a different culture or social group.

    • Write political commentary about an issue such as U.S. immigration from the perspective of an immigrant in either modern times or a specific historical time period.

    • Debate a controversial issue and then explain the other side's point of view.

    • Examine a number of paintings that depict the same subject and analyze how the perspective of the painter varies in each.

    • Write a news article about an event that includes eyewitness accounts from a variety of people.
    Then, ask students to reflect in writing on what they learned from exploring a new perspective.

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RESOURCES

POV
The POV website features a number of video clips and interview segments that present a variety of topics from a particular point of view or perspective.

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STANDARDS
These standards are drawn from "Content Knowledge," a compilation of content standards and benchmarks for K-12 curriculum by McRel (Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning).

Civics
Standard 11: Understands the role of diversity in American life and the importance of shared values, political beliefs and civic beliefs in an increasingly diverse American society.

Geography
Standard 4: Understands the physical and human characteristics of place. Standard 6: Understands that culture and experience influence people's perceptions of places and regions.

Behavioral Studies
Standard 1: Understands that group and cultural influences contribute to human development, identity, and behavior.

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What I didn't realize was that making this film might actually take longer than it would for the crane drivers to put up a 50-story building.”

— Eva Weber, Filmmaker