Most would agree that there are two organizations that for several decades have helped to tell and shape Canada’s story: the CBC and the NFB. In a media landscape dominated by the U.S., it is increasingly important that we expose students to media with a truly Canadian flavour, so that they might gain an appreciation of their own country and develop their individual and collective identity as Canadians.
Susan: I grew up with NFB films starting in the early 1960s. My older brother organized a film club in our home for his friends and we borrowed films from the local library (being the only female in the club was an impetus to attend). I am a huge admirer of the many animators from the NFB, but also of the documentary filmmakers who opened my eyes to so many aspects of Canada and Canadians. I was privileged in university to take a film appreciation course with John Grierson, the first director of the NFB. Although we watched films by many film makers outside the film board, this only served to strengthen my admiration of the NFB productions.
Kristine: We all have a favourite… The Log Driver’s Waltz, The Cat Came Back, The Big Snit, and for me… Le Chandail. I have a penchant for animation and remember seeing this animated short in elementary school in the 1980s. The film is based on the iconic short story, Une abominable feuille d’érable sur la glace, by Québec storyteller Roch Carrier. Later, as a French Literature major at the University of Toronto, I remember delving further into the narrative… but it was always the animated short that looped over and over in my mind.
Our students are even more immersed in film than either one of us was at their age. This is a medium they relate to. Watching films can…
- help them learn more about a topic,
- give them food for reflection,
- expose them to the codes and conventions of film so that they become better at conveying a message through media,
- encourage them to make connections that deepen their understanding of the world.
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB/ONF) is not only a treasure but a treasure-trove of teachable resources because of its vast library of quality Canadian-made productions. Teachers and students no longer have to go to libraries, wait for a film to appear on the CBC or go to other lengths to access these films. They are all readily available at the click of a button on the NFB site. In the wake of its 75th birthday, we wanted to highlight NFB/ONF offerings specific to educators via NFB CAMPUS (offered through LEARN to all 9 Anglophone school boards, Littoral, QAIS, Cree, Kativik, FNEC and other independent Anglophone schools).
What is NFB CAMPUS?
Here are some of the advantages of being an NFB CAMPUS subscriber:
- Resources are available in French and English.
- It is possible to create thematic playlists to share with students.
- Pre-made playlists are available that include links to supplementary resources.
- A chaptering tool allows educators to the select and organize specific clips from the videos they want to share.
- Educational guides are provided for individual films.
- Learning bundles, which are curated groupings of resources such as films, background information, discussion questions, classroom activities, articles, clips and other tools, are available on a variety of topics. These bundles can be searched by theme, subject area and age level.
- Some films are only available to NFB CAMPUS subscribers.
With an NFB CAMPUS subscription individual teachers can present all the content from the website to groups of students within a classroom setting of 150 students or less, provided no entry fee is charged.
Creating an account is simple. Visit, https://www.nfb.ca/edu/learn and use your school email address to sign up.
For more information check the links in the resources below.
Enjoy exploring the thousands of films that this great Canadian institution has to offer. We guarantee you will find many that meet your students’ needs and many others that will entertain and inform you. And please don’t forget to share how your favourites have had an impact on you and your classroom in the comments section below 🙂
Tutorials in English
Trailer – 3000 films
Tutoriels en français
Introduction à CAMPUS