Historic Continuity

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This lesson expands upon the concept of film continuity and allows students to implement their knowledge of continuity in film via a group project consisting of:

  • Assigning different decades to different groups of students

  • Maintaining historical continuity while the groups implement the same scene/plot


This will be a project based final that will utilize all formats of storytelling previously learned in order to produce a new product Interactive Story.

Expected Lesson Duration:

2-3 days

Interdisciplinary Connection(s) to Common Core

Lesson Procedure:

Introduction/Gain Attention

  • The class will begin with an image, video, or sound and the student and have them write a story about what is just off the boundary of the medium.


  • After the daily meme the students will utilize their knowledge and implementation of continuity to create a work with respect to historical continuity.

    • The prior lesson familiarized students with the concept of continuity as it pertains to media, including continuity in terms of look, action, movement, information, convention, etc.

    • This lesson continues to expand students’ knowledge and understanding of continuity by focusing on maintaining historical continuity in addition to continuity in media.

    • The instructor may wish to have students read this excerpt from Michael Kleen’s essay The Importance of Historical Continuity in the Post 911 World, which provides a detailed definition and explanation of the concept of historical continuity, prior to class discussion.

    • Historical continuity may be seen as a self explanatory term to students at this point, as the prior lesson should have given them the knowledge to infer the meaning of maintaining continuity in terms of history.

    • Historical continuity is “a way of looking at history that allows us to examine any historical event in context, rather than treating it as a distant object to be studied as an anomaly.”

    • This lesson’s exercise/project further strengthens students’ ability to maintain continuity on all fronts in their original media, placing an emphasis on maintaining historical continuity.

      • The project consists of the instructor specifying a single plot for all groups to create a short video about, and assigning groups of students different time periods or decades for their videos to be set in.

      • The instructor has many options in terms of assigning different time periods to different groups.

        • To get a vast array of historical representation, the instructor may wish to use widely varying time periods such as the Middle Ages, the 1800’s, the 1920’s, and the 1990’s.

        • Assigning groups time periods closer to each other, such as the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s, 1980’s, 1990’s, 2000’s, etc., would result in a visible progression throughout the decades.

      • There are also many options in terms of assigning a plot. The plot must be one applicable to all time periods. However, this does not mean that the plot must be overly simplified to accommodate for all time periods. Instead, the plot should be general but can still be detailed or complex.

        • An example of one such plot that is both simple yet detailed includes a scenario in which a babysitter is looking for a child that has wandered off. This scenario is not restricting to any specific time period, can be implemented in all time periods- even the Middle Ages, and offers more direction and specification than assigning a simple plot like “a conversation”.

        • If a group were assigned the middle ages, a babysitter would probably ride a fake horse around looking for the missing child. If the babysitter were to take out a cell phone and call the missing child’s mom, historical continuity would be broken as cell phones were not present during this time period.

        • A break in historical continuity can also result in a break in the continuity of convention, information, etc., making the audience feel even less immersed in the media.

      • It is how the students decide to portray this scene according to their assigned time period that challenges their newfound historical continuity skills.


  • Define and list the different types of film continuity

  • Expand upon historical continuity in film

  • Ability to thoroughly research a time period and/or subject and use findings to support historical continuity and prevent breaks in continuity

  • Ability to successfully maintain historical continuity in regards to a given time period

  • Ability to identify instances in which continuity is broken, and how it could have been maintained

Content of Lesson

  • Acquiring Key Concepts: incorporating and utilizing all skills acquired during the imagery unit to produce an imagery heavy story.

  • Engaging in Experiential Learning: peer reviewing comic strips created by classmates, providing constructive criticism, and identifying concepts that were emphasized in class discussion within the work being peer reviewed.

  • Building Proficiencies: using skills developed thus far to create a unique imagery heavy story and reviewing classmates’ work while paying special attention to emphasized concepts such as diversity, POV, composition, and responsibility.

  • Connecting with STEM Professionals: view a video of a professional artist, filmer, producer, etc. working with comic strips or comics and discussing their work.

  • Assessing Learning: have students explain how they utilized individual skills gained throughout the unit in the creation of their comic strip. Students can also identify these skills being implemented or the presence of important concepts such as diversity, POV, composition, etc. in their classmates’ work.

Closure and Review

  • Reiterate the importance of storytelling in media, describe the amount of written work that is consumed by media outlets and the amount of recycled material that continues to be recirculated due to the lack of new material.

  • Explain the importance of diversity in the storytellers and writers due to experiences and how it shapes our stories.

Higher Level Thinking Skills Noted

  • Developing a dynamic story

  • Adapting stories due to character developments

  • Perception due to appearance


The art and skill of storytelling that will be practiced in this class will help the students reasoning skills, cognitive constructive capabilities, and develop character. The creation of a narrative requires the student to develop a logical order from a sequence of events. In order for the student to develop a meaningful arrangement of events the student must begin to grow their narrative reasoning skills. These skills can evolve through the consumption and dissection of narrative literature, of a mixed medium. While developing of their narrative reasoning skills the students should/ will become more empathetic to others, wise to deciphering the true purpose of the story, and become comprehensive thinkers of their own circumstances. The students are finally at the age in which they are beginning to construct their own narratives. We, as educators, want them to be exposed to a great diversity of narratives in order mature those narrative reasoning skills. The more developed their narrative reasoning skills are the more they get from a story (deeper perspective). The more advanced their skills, the more likely they are to rationalize why this character chose a particular path, place themselves in the characters shoes, and develop their own character.

Explorations and Extensions:

Does the dynamic aspect of storytelling take anything away from the message that the author may be trying to deliver?

Assessment Criteria for Success:

Content knowledge, student knowledge, and appropriate resources are aligned to instructional outcomes. student learning will be assessed throughout the lesson via question responses and correlation to the project.

Students will have successfully met the outcomes when fundamental questions about the importance of storytelling and its role in imagery can be observed through their writing and reflections of their peers work. Also questions about their current disposition are taken into consideration when they see media should begin to arise. Also a fluid and respectful use of time, along with an essay that is fluid, easy to follow, and retains its essentials as an ELA.


To be completed upon the end of lesson.