This TV ad, called Harvey and Rabbit, made me laugh and on that basis alone, I had to come up with an activity for it! The idea of the ad is the unexpected nature of the scenes, which both grab your attention and make you eager to see the next one. I’ve made the activity into a group competition combining memory and accuracy of expression…..
And that’s all from us for the time being. Tom’s working on a teacher training course at a Dublin University in July and August and Steve’s going to Hong Kong to work on summer school at the British Council. We’re both back to real life in mid-September, so look out for a new blog post shortly afterwards. In the meantime, have a great summer!
During first day “getting to know you” activities in my classes, the subject of dogs usually comes up. Like many teachers, I bring in photos related to my life for one reason or another and ask students to guess the connection. One of the photos is of a dog. After establishing that it’s the dog I would have if I were to get a dog, I ask students who has a dog, who likes dogs etc., and more often than not, dog owners and dog lovers make up the majority of the class. And that’s the topic of dogs done and dusted. We move on to the next photo, I make a mental note to get more mileage out of dogs, and never get round to it. Until now.
This lesson is based on an advert for Purina, a pet food company, which may make the dog lovers in your class have a “cute attack” or even go a little bit misty-eyed! The lesson starts by exploiting the the song used in the advert , then the images, and finishes off with a ranking activity and some conversation. All the way through, there are lots of opportunities to use both canine and non-canine related vocabulary.
This is a summary of the #eltchat which took place on Wednesday 28 March at 9pm (GMT)
New to ELTchat?
If you have never participated in an #ELTchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Wednesday on Twitter at 12pm GMT and 9pm GMT. Over 400 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #eltchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out this link and this video, Using Tweetdeck for Hashtag Discussions!
Apart from the odd occasion when I’ve lurked a little, this was my first #eltchat since I started using Twitter just over a year ago. It had been on my to do list, but with a class at midday, and dinner getting in the way of the evening session, there had always been a reason or excuse not to join in. When I saw this week’s topic though, I put dinner on hold, poured myself a generous glass of Rioja, and settled down to chat about using films in and out of class.
I’ve always enjoyed using video in class; I remember visits to the UK in the early 90s when I’d pore over the Radio Times, highlighting anything that sounded as if it might have even the slightest possibility of classroom use. At the end of my stay, I’d set off for the airport with my suitcase stuffed with tea bags, sausages, and videos where I’d recorded everything from documentaries to chat shows and sitcoms to soap operas, which I then topped off with films bought using my last few pounds at the duty free HMV. Since those days, the only thing that’s remained the same is my enthusiasm for using video.
So, on to the summary:
I say I settled down to chat – perhaps settle down is the wrong choice of word as that might imply I was relaxed; by the end of the chat, my brain was exhausted and buzzing and rushing and inspired. Especially inspired. The discussion was fast-paced and lively, ideas were coming from all directions, my fingers were tapping furiously, so much so that a lot of of my own tweets went over the 140-character limit and didn’t make it into the chat. Many others didn’t make it into transcript because I kept forgetting to include the hashtag, and it wasn’t until I read the transcript that I realised there was a stack of tweets I’d missed entirely.
Why (not) use films?
I got the feeling that everyone wanted to get down to the how rather than the why, perhaps because we all know that a well-chosen video can be motivating, inspiring, engaging, memorable, educational and entertaining.
As @theteacherjames says, “most people like film, why not use it?” However, he recommends checking students’ tastes before doing a movie module in case you come across a student who isn’t at all interested in film.
Something else to take into account is the students’ culture, points out @Victor_K.
@Naomishema says that the beauty of film is that you can find something acceptable to ALMOST every population. If not, don’t use.
Just be careful that the film doesn’t become a babysitter, warns @SueAnnan.
What are they good for? Any guidelines?
- There should be something to do before, during and after watching (@Sue Annan, @KieranDonaghy)
- Using bits of films is very useful for context setting (@thetheacherjames)
- They’re stories, like books, so great contexts for doing language work – role playing, storytelling, review (@AntoniaClare)
- Film takes you into another world: slices of life, full length projects, discussions from scenes or descriptions and speculation etc. (@hartle)
- Short clips good for intensive listening and pulling out language to practise (@theteacherjames)
- Good for body language (@SueAnnan)
- Great for looking at socio-cultural elements (@AntoniaClare)
- Showing whole films in one session can’t be justified. Much better to show over a series of lessons (@kierandonaghy) This idea was echoed by several others, including @Marisa_C, @leoselivan, @SueAnnan, @AntoniaClare and me.
- The closer the film extract is to behaviour rather than language per se, the more successful using film in ELT can be (@Muranava)
- Prefer to use short films with little or no dialogue. Prefer the language work to come from their reaction (@theteacherjames)
- Vimeo is much better than YouTube for decent short films (@KieranDonaghy)
Give me some activities, please!
“Trailers” were mentioned seventeen times, including retweets, so I’ve grouped trailer-related activities together:
- My trainees have been doing great things with film trailer clips with voiceovers this week. Blind student in class (@Sue Annan)
- For pre-viewing, getting hold of a trailer is usually nice- ask students to predict plot / events, and if they’d like to watch @Wiktor_K)
- Or put up movie trailers on linoit and ask students to watch the trailer(home) and say whether or not they would watch the film (@antoniaclare)
- Speaking of trailers, there are iPad apps that’ll turn pictures into film trailers, funhttp://t.co/x6azF27L (@ShaunWilden)
Activities with scenes from films
- One activity which I also use for plays – give brief character descriptions and some lines to decide who said what (@Marisa_C)
- If you go to http://t.co/2gxATtfH you can find key words and make these into a wordle for prediction before watching (@antoniaclare)
- Give three possible outcomes to a scene and get them to predict the correct one (@SueAnnan)
- Show scene – give word/phrase list/ ss create dialogue then watch (@Marisa_C)
- Look at pic of the characters and predict what they are like before you watch (@antoniaclare)
- Show students some stills from the film and get students to work out connections (@steve_muir)
- Tell sts the story (with a few mistakes) – sts watch and find the differences (@antoniaclare)
- Take a few things that are said in the clip, write them up and ask sts to try and work out the story (@antoniaclare)
Thinking, Telling, Reading and Writing
- For ultra-intensive listening+reading practice: watch this example of kinetic typographyhttp://t.co/ZChGk0Xv (@Wiktor_K)
- Novels /stories followed by movie versions interesting too. Ss read Of Mice & Men, drew the characters, then watched film, compared (@theteacherjames)
- I use scenes from movies to work on READING COMPREHENSION. doesn’t matter what language the movie is in, the issue is the task (@naomischema)
- How about jigsaw watching? Small groups, each watch different segments on their laptops, retell their segments to others & order (@NikkiFortova)
- I use scenes from films to practice LOTS & HOTS. From asking wh Q’s to inferring and predicting. Of course, we do it all in writing. (@naomischema) LOTS = Lower Order Thinking Skills and HOTS = Higher Order Thinking Skills.
- Idea for cultural awareness – outline context have Ss act out in own language then watch in L2 – discuss (@Marisa_C)
- I got my students to write movie reviews & post them to IMDB (@theteacherjames)
Subtitles and Dubbing – for after watching (or even before in TBL lessons)
- Use Overstream to get them to write new dialogue for film scenes a la @lclanfield – have you seen his famous clips? @Marisa_C
- You can also use Audacity and have Ss do voiceovers for clips @Marisa_C
- Use Bombay TV if you want to make Bollywood movies (@ShaunWilden)
- Did great activity with advanced students correcting Google subtitles on clip (@hartle)
- There is a lot you can do with both dubbing and subtitling in terms of contrasting language (@ShaunWilden)
Which films have worked well in class?
- “About a Boy” (@leoselivan)
- “As Good as it Gets” restaurant scene “I’ve got Jews at my table” (@leoselivan)
- “Brassed Off” – Pete Postlethwaite after winning music contest. I use it when teaching culture (@mkofab)
- “Dead Poets’ Society” – Carpe Diem Scene (@sandymillin) / There is not one scene in that movie that cannot be used for educational purposes to trigger discussion. (@DinaDobrou)
- “Erin Brocovich” – job interview at the beginnning (@leoselivan)
- “Four Weddings and a Funeral” “My Fair Lady”, “Vertigo”, “American Beauty”, “Fargo”, “To Kill a Mockingbird” (@KieranDonaghy)
- “Little Miss Sunshine” – opening scene great for test of observation (@steve_muir)
- “Love Actually” – press conference with the two leaders @leoselivan / the monologue and first few minutes (@Wiktor_K)
- “Meet the Parents” – dinner scene first night. Here’s my lesson plan based on that scene. http://bit.ly/rIx001 (@steve_muir)
- “Meet the Parents” – lie detector scene – to teach the present perfect @Marisa_C added later – lesson plan by one of her trainees
- “Miss Potter” Go to wiki page and scroll to bottom for worksheets http://t.co/cLa4cNKT (@hartle)
- “Moulin rouge” (@chiasuan)
- “Notting Hill” the birthday party scene – the last brownie scene @Marisa_C , & “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” for creative etymology to trace all English words back to the Greek language (good for classes of Greek learners) (@Marisa_C)
- “Shallow Grave” (@samshep)
- “Son of Rambow” (@theteacherjames)
- “Storytelling” – all scenes with Mike and Consuelo are great @leoselivan
- “Supersize Me” (@Sue_Annan and @steve_muir)
- “Waking Ned” (@steve_muir)
This is the section for anything that isn’t a film.
- I love using Pingu to train intonation (@SueAnnan)
- TED and Billy Collins http://t.co/4o8aoiIZ (@Mikeharrison)
- Music videos with a strong narrative
- TV series. @sandymillin enjoyed the Hustle clips from @antoniaclare´s Speakout http://t.co/ns06ga6K
- I use Tom and Jerry cartoons lots, ask students to make the dialogue (@dalecoulter)
- I like to use adverts – predict what about. Then see if correct. See how to improve it (@louisealix68)
- 1-minute headlines by @chiasun http://t.co/qJX2P3yT
- I have used film of 2 cats miaowing (1 minute). Get students to invent, practise, act out dialogue. (@louisealix68)
- I used “how-to” videos & made groups teach each other stuff they’d watched (Wiktor_K)
- Getting ss to make own commercials can be great fun too #eltchat – based on video commercials (@Marisa_C)
- The Power of Words is a powerful & short , great message . scroll down to find link & four levels worksheets for it. http://t.co/klyrs7rq (@naomishema)
And what about out of class?
- Been encouraging my esl students to watch local S.African films – good for previously mentioned elements (socio-cultural etc) (@SheetalZA)
- @noemischema says short films are good for “flipped class” style work – students watch the film out of class.
- I have two boxes of DVDs they can borrow (English films or English related topics) Lots of interest from students! (@mkofab)
- Abu Omar YouTube channel is one of the ways we can use movies outside classroom to teach English http://t.co/thM418ps (@SaeedMobarak)
- I get IELTS students to watch movies as a way of being exposed to English & relaxation – need to give guidelines, though (@rliberni)
- I tell my students to watch with subtitles in English as this helps improve reading, listening, noticing grammar and more (@sandymillin)
- I get my adult students to choose a series and watch at least 3 episodes a week (@SophiaMav) (Me too! @steve_muir)
- I give my classes the task of watching a film per week and we discuss them in class (@dale coulter)
This is the section for anything that doesn’t fit neatly anywhere else.
@SueAnnan brought up the subject of copyright and responses ranged from “it’s a minefield” (@leoselivan), to “it depends on the country” (@vickyloras), “it’s a big issue” (@antoniaclare) to “good question” (@sandymillin). I suppose the best thing to do is find out the legal position wherever you are.
Creating films with students
@teacherphili wanted to know if we were “talking about using existing films or creating our own with students?” Check out examples of some of his past projects here http://t.co/p4YYyoqm
A topic for a future #eltchat?
Lots of great links were shared.
Lesson Plans and Ideas
@KieranDonaghy’s brillant blog http://film-english.com/
https://allatc.wordpress.com/ (Thanks @sandymillan for suggesting our blog!)
A fantastic post by @theteacherjameshttp://theteacherjames.blogspot.com.es/2011/12/silent-movies.html
Business and film by @muranava
Learning English Through a TV Series by @chiasuan
Creating a video review
I’d sign off here, but there’s one more thing. …..The morning after #eltchat, I just happened to be on Twitter when @KieranDonaghy was sharing film-related link after film-related link, which I reproduce for you below. Thanks Kieran!
Watch films online
Film Term Glossary
Film in Language Teaching Association (ask for an invite to join)
Speeches in Movies
Movie Scenes for Classroom Use
Lesson Plans and Resources
Quizzes and Games
How to Watch a Movie
Bowling for Columbine
1000 Greatest Movies of all Time
Last but not least, I just happened to be on Twitter again the evening after the chat when @mkofab posted a link to this documentary site. Thanks Mieke!
And that’s all from me. I’ll sign off by thanking everyone for a great chat, and congratulations to #eltchat on being nominated for an ELTon.
I came across this and was spellbound by the beautiful music, the wonderful little boy and the unexpected ending. It also fit the bill perfectly for a jigsaw-style video activity I’ve been wanting to try for a while now. It’s taken a good hour-and-a-half with every class we’ve tried it out on but they’ve all said the time flew. And they were desperate to see the ending! Try it out and see what you think, but first, watch it yourself!
Thanks to everyone who came to my talk. As promised, here’s the handout:
In this lesson students watch two clips from the TV series The Walking Dead, which is based on the graphic novel of the same name. First, students predict the title of the TV series from the word cloud, which is made up of most of the words in this newspaper article . Then they test their observation skills by watching the first scene of the first episode and answering some true/false statements about it. The next task is to listen to a spoken description of a scene, note down key words, reconstruct and then watch the scene in order to identify the differences between the two. Finally, students talk about a scene from a TV series or film which sticks in their mind for some reason.
This activity is based on the beautifully animated Aardman clip Blind Date. Apart from finding or downloading the clip, there’s no preparation required. The activity starts off with a vocabulary game and finishes with storytelling. Between the two, students watch the clip, order the vocabulary and predict the ending. I’ve done this activity with several classes over the last few months and they’ve all really enjoyed it.