Okay, so what is Pigeon Impossible and why is it so good for teaching tone, mood, and pacing?
Well Pigeon Impossible is a short film by Lucas Martell. It has no dialogue, is short, and engaging! If you have read anything by me before, you know I love engaging lessons, especially ones that utilize film to convey narrative techniques and elements.
When I was planning out how to teach tone, mood, and pacing, I knew I would need something engaging for my visual learners. We were reading an excerpt from Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabone– a comedic piece where he goes to lengths to escape through a window because he didn’t like school. I would read it to my students and give them an opportunity to practice reading inflection. I would pause and show them how reading the line differently or not stomping around the room would change how they thought of the piece.
But I would still need an extra step for my visual learners.
At the time, I was teaching in the Creative Media Academy of the school I taught at. Most of my students were taking a film elective, so I would strive to find interdisciplinary connections for them. I was all about letting them draw conclusions and realize that education isn’t confined into subjects, but it overlaps and intersects. So the morning after we did an activity with the Kaffir Boy excerpt, I whipped out Pigeon Impossible.
So why should you use Pigeon Impossible in your classroom?
1) It’s short
I loved that I didn’t need to break out a full length movie for my students. Sure, who wouldn’t love to sit back and relax while a 90 minute movie played? (So much grading could get done!) But I knew a short movie would be best. It would hold my teenage students’ attention, fit in a class period, and we could rewind and watch for narrative elements without needing to wade through hours of film. Studies have shown that showing excerpts of movies or shorter films to be effective in keeping students engaged in lessons and for retainment of knowledge.
2) It’s funny
I love a movie I can laugh at. And so do my students! If a movie is funny, chances are students are going to be more invested in watching it. Think all those silly TikTok challenges they love! And retainment of the movie goes towards their ability to answer standards based questions and use metacognitive skills in the follow on lesson.
3) There’s no dialogue
This one is the best for me. The excerpt from Kaffir Boy was filled with dialogue. It was amazing to show students how pacing, tone, and mood could be manipulated with dialogue. But how could you achieve that same effect without dialogue? I didn’t want student to think that dialogue was the only way for these narrative techniques to be utilized. So I made sure to find a short film that didn’t have dialogue.
All in all, Pigeon Impossible provides students with an opportunity to review tone, mood, and pacing in a way that is engaging and fun.
Thinking about using this short movie to teach tone, mood, and pacing but don’t know where to start?