I just showed my first movie ever in class this year! I needed to give a quiet class something to talk about because they weren’t excited to talk about each other or themselves. Plus, I wanted them to see and learn a little about history and culture. Like Kara has said, the movie itself isn’t the activity. I spend a week watching “In the Time of the Butterflies” and the class got tons of practice between little bits of movie. After the movie was finished, I wanted my students to retell Minerva’s story.
I have found that if I give students a task I think they can handle WITHOUT modeling it for them, I end up with much too complicated language that was clearly NOT done by my students.
So here’s how I break it down and teach some simple structure. My idea is to start simple and then build on it. I didn’t want to do their job for them so we learned how to tell a movie’s story by talking about OTHER movies.
I told them this story.
It took 20 seconds. Then I took the words in the blanks away and asked them to retell the simple version of the movie. They all did it no problem.
Then we tried this movie. I let them try to predict what would pop up in the blanks before I said it.
Finally, I left them with the basic structure and a task to describe their own movie.
When they finished, we read them in class and students tried to guess what the movie was. Many added details between the lines and they seemed proud of their newly acquired language skills.
The next day, they retold the movie on 10 different notecards. I gave them time to look up new vocab and encouraged them to give details. Amazingly enough, they could do it! Their stories were a little different based on what seemed most important to them, but that’s ok by me! Students then switched sets of cards and tried to put them in order. Good hands-on learning and students got the opportunity to see what others had written about the movie!
Hope this helps!
Thanks to Kara for showing me that movies aren’t just lazy days for teachers like I had experienced when I was in high school.
I LOVE Megan’s activity here! My classes always ask to do it again. I’ve even altered it to describe a song and events. They love the guessing part. This activity was a perfect prep activity to get them ready to write movie and song reviews. For my intermediate students, I added a “First… Next…” After the name, I added “likes to…” and “is…”
What a great idea to use this for the first unit on Level 2!
I just want to be clear: when they were ready to describe the movie you watched, you gave them the structure you had created and they had practiced with, correct? Or did they have to write the whole thing on their own? How did you get them from the structure you gave them to writing the whole movie on 10 note cards? What and how much did they write?
I really like this idea and would love to use it if I ever have the time to show a movie during class. I had the chance last year with my 8th graders (I did a whole unit on Evita and had my students come in chanting Peron Peron Peron – it was great!), but would love to have the time again and am always looking for different activities to use instead of the standard “answer these questions while you watch” activity.
I am really excited about showing “In the Time of the Butterflies” to my level 3 students in early May. However, I am still uncertain how to handle the students who may be absent any of those 4-5 days that we actually watch the movie. I like the idea of retelling the story on note cards, and may stagger the ‘viewing’ days with one day to review/rewrite what happened previously. If anyone has a suggestion, I am a good listener.
Kids are resourceful… when I’ve shown movies in class, I offer to play it during lunch periods that I can be available for those who missed it. I’ve also offered to lend it out for some (responsible) students to take home. Usually, they’ve already found it online, downloaded & watched it though. (I’m not promoting that, but just pointing out that it’s an option they came up wiht to solve their own dilemma).
Love this idea, but I am also unclear about the jump to 10 cards…did you have ten pictures of different parts of the story or ten different movies? or?
Lots of teachers find that there isn’t enought time to show a whole movie. But showing trailers of movies can be just as good an activitiy. Why not start with a trailer without the sound?!
Then ask them what they think is happening.. what the film is about: “La peli / El corto ?De qué trata?” Ask about the characters they see… What’s happening?
Then show the trailer with the sound on and find out some more.. And if there’s subtitles, show them after the next conversation.
I like to encourage them to express their own opinions: “Pienso que..” ” En mi opinión..” etc.
After the oral work, the class can do individual written “tareas”: Maybe they can write their own dialogue, or write a short review of the film for the school newspaper.. Make a film poster?
Just watched the movie this week,I made a cut out of a big butterfly and instructed them to fill it up(like a collage) with words ,pictures,names,dates,etc.. I would have never been able to do this without your ideas. Thank-you!
Cool idea! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks, Megan! I totally stole this idea to use in a completely different context (comparing places in different countries), and I think it will be gangbusters there, too. I’ll let you know how it comes off.
Great! Can’t wait to hear!
I love this idea as a guessing game even! Each child creates a clue card and the other students have to guess which movie or song the clue is describing! 🙂 thank you!