Thursday, August 25, 2016

Seeing Your Students

One of the aspects of CI/TPRS which I have loved the most has been creating stories with my students as the main characters. Quite honestly, it has been for selfish reasons, because when I was learning Latin in high school back in the 80's, my textbook had no stories but rather very stilted sentences like "On the island, the farmer carries water to the daughter of the sailor" (which if the sentence were part of a story would actually be rather compelling). For me, using students as characters in a story is what makes the reading interesting and compelling for them. How I wish that my Latin teacher would have made Latin stories about my classmates and me!

From my students' perspective though, I now realize that when I create stories about them, they are not thinking, "Wow, this story is really compelling because we are in it. I am so glad Mr. Toda did that, because now the reading is so much more interesting." No, my students rather are thinking, "Wow, this story is about ME. Mr. Toda actually wrote a story in Latin about ME!"

Bryce Hedstrom, in his "Feeling Like a Citizen" presentation, quotes Matthew Lieberman:
Food, water, and shelter are not the most basic needs...Instead, being socially connected and cared for is paramount… our need for connection is the bedrock upon which the others are built.”  
                                                        - Matthew Lieberman, Social, p. 43
Mother Teresa says it best:
The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love.
Just recently, my colleague Rachel Ash was writing an article on Comprehensible Input for submission to an online classical journal. When I asked her what she was going to include, Rachel said, "The main three parts of CI - comprehensibility, compelling, and caring." I was a little taken aback by her answer, because although I knew that it was important to deliver comprehensible, compelling messages, I had never heard about the "caring" aspect. Rachel continued, "Caring is what lowers the affective filter for students." I had never thought about it that way, but she is so right. When we as teachers "see" students for who they are and gain their trust, then they feel connected, thus their affective filter (and walls) lowers.

When I first started TPRS years ago, I lasted only 6 weeks before I gave it up and returned back to the textbook due to not knowing what I was doing. I only returned back to TPRS, because students were asking me, "When are you going to tell those stories again about US?" I have come to the realization that personalization of stories is one way to tell students "I see you." In the beginning of the school year, I am very selective of which students I make characters in my story, because I do not want to embarrass anyone or to bring unwanted attention. What I love though is over the course of the year hearing students gradually say, "When am I going to be in one of your stories?" In other words, they want to be part of the community now.

In a CI classroom, there are many ways to personalize the curriculum for students:
  1. Creating stories about students 
  2. Asking students for suggestions as to where the story should go (Asking a Story/TPRS)
  3. Personalized Questions and Answers (PQAs)
  4. Student jobs, such as the light monitor, grammar experts, word counter.
  5. Special Person Interview
  6. Social Emotional Learning
However, there are many other simple ways you can let your students know you "see" them outside of CI/TPRS.
  1. Greet every students by name when they enter the room. This actually sounds so basic, but if you really think about it, I wonder how many students' teachers actually greet them at the door BY NAME (I wonder how many teachers actually greet their students at the door). One's name is so personal to a person. To me, a basic greeting without a name can be blown off, but it is difficult to ignore when someone greets you by name. I always make it a point to stand outside my classroom every period and welcome each student individually with a smile by saying "Good morning/afternoon, _________" in English. I suppose that I should say it in Latin, but greeting them in English is important to me and a non-negotiable. It is even all the more important for me to greet students who have given me "trouble" in class or with whom I have had to talk after class the day before. I need for them to know that I am not mad at them and that I still value them as part of the community. Just recently, I was not able to greet a number of my students, because I had to reply to some emails. A girl who has been rather reserved with both me and the class came to me before the bell rang, saying, "You weren't at the door to say 'Hello' to me this morning." I was absolutely floored, and believe me, I was there the next day to greet her!
  2. Find out your students' interests and talk to them about it. I have a student who loves Pokemon Go. I have a basic idea of the app but have no clue what a Pokemon is (I thought that Snorlax was a nighttime, sleep aid), let alone would I try to catch one. However, at the end of class when there are a few minutes left, this student loves to come to my desk and to talk with me about the new Pokemon Go characters which he has caught, which ones he has yet to get, etc. Why, when he knows that I know nothing about Pokemon and have no real interest in Pokemon Go? Simply put: Because I enjoy listening to him tell me about it. Believe me, I am always asking him questions, and he gladly answers, even though he knows that I do not have a clue what he is talking about. However, because Pokemon Go is important to him, it is important to me, and I want to support him in this. 
  3. Talk WITH your students in class (in the target language or in English). I cannot tell you how many students have told me, "You're the only teacher who talks with us. Most teachers talk AT us." Students want a dialogue in the classroom between them and the teacher. Ask the class about their weekend, if they went to the school football game, who saw a particular movie, etc. Even better, tell them what YOU did over the weekend, what movie you saw, etc. Tell your students a story about yourself from when you were in school. Believe me, it both personalizes and humanizes you as a person in their eyes.
By no means am I an expert on this topic. Check out the following people such as Laurie Clarcq, Bob Patrick, Grant Boulanger, and Bryce Hedstrom who all know so much more about this, and I certainly know that they could state what I just wrote so much more expansively and eloquently.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

EDPuzzle and MovieTalk

The following is taken from my presentation "Technology in the Comprehensible Input Classroom," which I gave this summer at both the ACL Summer Institute and IFLT conference.

I love doing MovieTalk in my classes, and quite honestly, I do not know why it took me so long to implement this CI strategy (actually I do - read my recent blog post about Movie Talks). This past summer at IFLT, I got the chance to observe both Annabelle Allen facilitate a Movie Talk in Spanish, and Katya Paukova demonstrate one in Russian. As I know neither languages well, the Movie Talks kept me engaged in the language acquisition process. 

However, whenever I have done a Movie Talk, although I was able to use the movie itself as a pre-reading activity to teach vocabulary and language structures, I never really did anything with the movie afterwards or implemented any type of formative assessment with students to determine the Movie Talk's efficacy.  

During my graduate courses in Instructional Technology, I learned about EDPuzzle, an online tool which allows students to interact with videos as they view them (N.B. Zaption is no longer around but if you have already created lessons with Zaption, you can import them into EDPuzzle. Click here to find out how). While EDPuzzle is promoted as way to implement a flipped classroom, when I saw this tool, immediately I thought, "I could use this after a Movie Talk! I can actually pause the movie in the same exact places where I had paused during the Movie Talk and now see what students acquired (if anything) as a result."

Below is an example of an EdPuzzle formative assessment which I created for a Movie Talk demo this summer at the ACL Summer Institute and IFLT. Because it was a demo, this Movie Talk only used a 24-second clip, but the target Latin vocabulary words were avis (bird), currit (runs), and cibus (food). As stated earlier, the EDPuzzle video pauses in the same exact place where I had paused the movie during Movie Talk.

  1. In the beginning, it can take awhile to create your first EdPuzzle video, because there are lots of tools which you can implement - cropping of videos, add both written and audio questions, etc. Like any tool, though, the more one uses it, the easier and quicker it becomes to create an EDPuzzle activity. 
  2. Students like being asked a formative question in an EDPuzzle video at the very same place where you asked a circling question during Movie Talk, because it seems familiar for them. 
  3. BUT there is no need to pause and to ask EVERY single question from a Movie Talk in an EdPuzzle video. Just pick the highlights.
  4. You can either use EDPuzzle as an in-class activity or as a self-paced activity for students to do on their own. 
  5. If your school is a 1:1 school, then EDPuzzle is a great tool. As I teach at a BYOD school, when using EDPuzzle as an in-class activity, I will reserve a class set of laptops for students to use. Although students can do this activity on their smartphones or tablets, as we know, a disparity of technological capabilities exists among devices. I would prefer that all students have the same access for this activity, hence, in my opinion, the need for uniformity among devices. 
  6. Because it is a formative assessment, I am only interested in what students acquired/did not acquire from the Movie Talk, i.e. what words/structures do I still need to target more and to get in more meaningful repetitions? 
  7. In order to preserve the novelty, I do not implement EDPuzzle after every Movie Talk which I do, because I do not want students to resent a Movie Talk if they feel like they have to do some type of assessment afterwards.

Friday, August 12, 2016

My CI Family Tree

A few weeks ago at NTPRS, Michelle Kindt (who by the way is an absolutely wonderful CI teacher, presenter, and coach!) posted the following on Twitter.

As a result, a number of folks began to tweet about their various CI "family trees" and who that special person was who introduced them to CI. I have decided to dedicate this blog post to honor those people who have been vital in my CI journey these past few years:

Bob Patrick - I would consider Bob to be my CI "father" for so many reasons. Bob was the first Latin teacher whom I knew that was involved in CI/TPRS. When I first started teaching Latin in the late 90's, I was all about grammar-translation, as that was how I had been taught Latin, and that was the only methodology which I knew; quite honestly, I did not know that anything else existed for Latin pedagogy. Around the early-mid 2000's, on various online listservs, the idea of active spoken Latin in the classroom began to emerge. Bob was involved in many of these discussions, speaking about the merits of CI/TPRS as a method to implement oral Latin. I was VEHEMENTLY opposed to the idea of any type of spoken Latin in the classroom, because in my opinion, why should Latin be spoken? I certainly had never experienced anything like that, so why should I do it since Latin was only meant to be a "read" language? At this point, I only knew Bob superficially through online exchanges, but soon, he became a Latin teacher in my district (and suddenly I was his children's Latin teacher!). Eventually in 2008, out of curiosity I attended my first 2-day Blaine Ray TPRS workshop in Dallas. When I told Bob that I was planning on attending this workshop, according to him, he was absolutely floored and shocked to hear that I, who was so adamantly opposed to spoken Latin at the time, would even consider this. For the next few years, I dabbled in TPRS but found it difficult to maintain the momentum. In the summer of 2013, I attended three CI workshops led by Bob, and that is where I learned specifically about CI and the various methods of implementation (of which TPRS is just one). In my opinion, that summer is where my CI journey officially began. Fast forward to this past February, where Bob asked me join him as the 5th Latin teacher at his school, and now as a result, I am working alongside Bob and three other CI Latin teachers (Rachel Ash, Miriam Patrick, and Caroline Miklosovic) at Parkview High School, where the Latin enrollment is around 700 students. Yes, I, who was once the biggest opponent of any spoken Latin and CI, am now one of its biggest advocates and am teaching with Bob!   

Although I consider Bob my CI "father," I also realize that it took a village to nurture me in those early days (and current days too). The following are those who were part of that village:

Betsy Paskvan - NTPRS 2014 was the first CI conference which I ever attended. I was the sole Latin teacher in attendance at the conference that year, and I was feeling rather lost, because not only was I "alone," but I still felt like a "newcomer to the CI party." That all changed, however, with my extended session on Day 1 with Betsy Paskvan, who was teaching Japanese. Although I struggled with Japanese in that first hour, I remember how incredibly positive Betsy was during that time and how seamlessly she was implementing CI through various activities so that four hours later, I was actually retelling a story in Japanese on my own and was able to write my own 5-6 sentence story in the language. Because I was learning another language via CI and experiencing it firsthand like a student, due to Betsy, I now knew that CI was the real thing. Whenever I hear that folks are attending NTPRS, I always make it a point to tell them to attend Betsy's Japanese sessions because of how incredible she is!

Laurie Clarcq - Laurie has one of the biggest hearts around and is also one of the positively funniest people too; she is the type of person who does not try to be funny but just is. I could repeatedly hear Laurie's story about "Justin," the student who inspired her to co-develop embedded reading, and still tear up every time. I first only knew of Laurie as one of the developers of embedded reading from an ACTFL session which I had attended in 2013. At NTPRS 2014, she was presenting a session on embedded reading, and as I entered into the room before it began, I passed by her, and upon seeing my nametag, Laurie said to me, "Keith, oh my gosh, can I get permission to include your blog post about embedded reading on my own blog?!" I was absolutely dumbstruck that: 1) although we had never met, Laurie knew who I was; 2) Laurie knew that I, some random Latin teacher, had a blog; and 3) she wanted to reference on her own blog what i had written. I think that I mumbled some type of "sure," but I cannot tell you how so valued and important I felt at that moment (I need to remember this for my own students). I have gotten to know Laurie better professionally at various conferences, and I can honestly say that she always makes me feel like a better person every time we meet. 

Carol Gaab - I feel like I cannot say enough about Carol. If you have ever attended one of Carol's presentations, you know what I am talking about. At NTPRS 2014, Carol's session on reading strategies transformed the way in which I present reading now in my classes. Carol was the first CI "guru" whom I ever heard say, "Circling gets really old really fast;" when I heard that, I wanted to run up to her and to give her a huge hug, because I had always felt that students got bored easily with circling but I thought that I had to stick with it since that was what I had first learned. I cannot tell you how relieved I was when I heard her say that. Carol taught me to vary up my questions, because "the brain craves novelty." She demonstrated so many different, engaging reading strategies in the target language which not only included higher order thinking but also presented repetitions of the language in novel ways. I owe so much of my teaching style and CI strategy implementation to Carol.

I am incredibly grateful to these four people and am proud to consider them as part of my CI family tree. Who are the people whom you would consider to be part of yours? Honor them by listing their names in the comment section.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Pre-First Day of School Jitters

Tomorrow is the first day of school for students. I have been back at work for a week now for preplanning - my classroom is all arranged (I have gone deskless this year - expect an upcoming blog post about this in the future), my syllabus and beginning-of-the-school year forms have all been printed and are ready for students, and my lesson plans for this week have been written. I am all set and am now just waiting for students to arrive tomorrow. I have been teaching for almost 20 years, so the 1st day of school routine is pretty much ingrained in me. In spite of all this, I am nervous about tomorrow.

To be fair, I always experience this the Sunday before the first day of school, so this is not a new feeling. Even after almost 20 years, I still worry:
  • what will my students be like?
  • how will they view me?
  • what will each class' chemistry be like?
  • will I do a good job?
  • am I going to have any discipline issues already on the first day?
But at the same time, as I have been doing this for almost 20 years, I also know that once students arrive and I get started, I will be fine. It is the same way I feel before presentations: I am nervous 10 minutes before, but once I begin, I feel completely relaxed.

So I guess that these jitters are all part of being a teacher. I am sure that I will have difficulty getting to sleep tonight, and then once I do get to sleep, I also expect waking up every hour due to fear of sleeping through my alarm. I also know that once I get started tomorrow with students and get back into the zone of teaching, I will say to myself "Why was I so nervous?"

So to all you 1st-year teachers (and even veterans of 25 years), you are not the only one who is nervous about the first day of school!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

CI Goals for 2016-2017

Alas, my summer vacation has come to an end. I had a great but very full summer. After a little over 1 1/2 years of grad school, I finally completed my Ed.S degree in Instructional Technology this summer, while also attending and presenting at the ACL Summer Institute and IFLT. One of the best things about attending IFLT (click here for my blog post on it) was that it kickstarted me to thinking about the school year. As I have done before on this blog at the beginning of each school year, here is my list of CI goals for the year. This year's list is short - only three goals:
  1. Personalize the class for students. I have always made stories about students in my classes and elicited their suggestions when asking a story. I have tried my hand at implementing Circling with Balls, facilitating PQAs (Personalized Questions and Answers), and incorporating Social Emotional Learning with success. At the same time, I really have not used the language to learn more about students as my goal - in the past, personalization was just a way to keep things novel and to engage students' interests in class. When students feel like they belong in the class, realize that they are valued, and feel part of the classroom community, they are more likely to be engaged and to want to be there in the classroom. This year, I really want to implement Bryce Hedstrom's Special Person Interview.
  2. Utilize more processing time when asking questions. When observing Anabelle Allen during a lab at IFLT, one of the great strategies which I noticed (and believe me, she did SO MANY wonderful things during that lab which I want to implement) was giving her students time to process their answers whenever she asked questions. After asking a question, Annabelle simply said, "uno, dos, tres," and then students responded. I thought that this was great, because it was a way to level the playing field for all. Normally, when asking a question in class, I do receive a choral response from students, but is it just from the fast-processors? How about the slower-processors who wish to respond but need that extra second or two? Anabelle's strategy is such a simple way to ensure that possibility for all  
  3. Incorporate brain breaks daily. Although I have facilitated brain breaks in my classes, I never have done them on a daily basis. I will usually implement at least 2-3 different activities in a class period, since "the brain CRAVES novelty" - in my mind, switching to a different activity every 15 minutes or so is the same thing as a brain break, right? According to Diana Noonan, one of the IFLT facilitators, it is not the same thing. A brain break is exactly what it sounds like: a break for the brain, but even more, Diana stated that brain breaks allow for the break to "reset" and to store what has been acquired. She also advocated that a brain break be given every minute for the age of the students, e.g., 8-year olds should have a brain break every eight minutes or so. Again, this is something which I saw Anabelle demonstrate with her elementary school aged students, as every ten minutes or so, she gave them a brain break, and she did SO many different kinds: various versions of rock, paper, scissors; and doing a dance to a video. As the class progressed later in the day, Anabelle did a brain break every 5 minutes or so, since the students were getting tired. 
Some resources for brain breaks:
  • Martina Bex - a great writeup about brain breaks
  • Cynthia Hitz - how one can use balloons to give students a choice in brain breaks
  • Michele Whaley - another great writeup with some quotes from Karen Rowan and Carol Gaab
Below is a short video clip of Anabelle Allen teaching elementary school students at IFLT. Thanks to Martina Bex for uploading this to YouTube. In fact, please read her writeup on Anabelle at IFLT.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

IFLT 2016

I have returned from my first IFLT, a CI/TPRS conference sponsored by TPRS Publishing, and wow, what an incredible experience I had. Quite honestly, the words "wow" and "incredible" seem like understatements, because IFLT absolutely blew my mind! Carol Gaab, Teri Weichart, and the planning committee put on a superb conference!

Now I had attended two NTPRS conferences prior to this, so I was a bit unsure about what to expect at IFLT, other than wonderful presentations by master CI practitioners! Although both conferences address teaching world language teachers about CI/TPRS, there are a number of major differences between NTPRS & IFLT: 
  1. NTPRS is held in a hotel, while IFLT is held on a high school campus.
  2. Because of this, NTPRS has more of a "conferencey" feel to it, while IFLT is more casual and intimate.
  3. IFLT is a 4-day conference, while NTPRS is five days. 
  4. IFLT has learning labs, where participants observe master CI teachers actually teaching students using CI, so folks can see it in action. 
  5. NTPRS has language classes where participants can learn other languages just like students via CI and get to experience sequencing/scaffolding of lessons in a language which they do not know first hand.
I can honestly say that one is not better than the other, as both have their differences, but both offer OUTSTANDING experiences for those wanting to learn more about CI/TPRS.

My dear friend Edie, whenever she asks folks to tell her about their vacations or an experience, will ask two simple questions: What was most as expected about _________? What was least as expected about ________? I will follow her lead and use those two questions to guide my reflection (plus Justin Slocum Bailey, who also attended IFLT, and I just asked each other these questions, as he is in town before heading off to NTPRS in Reno, so these answers are still fresh in my mind).

1) What was MOST as expected about IFLT? Hands down - the incredible sessions! Looking over the list of sessions on the program, I knew that it was going to be difficult to choose. Like NTPRS, IFLT was a watering hole for those CI teachers whom I greatly admire, and I got the chance to learn from them!

2) What was LEAST as expected about IFLT? I have two answers for this question.
  • The language labs. To get the chance to observe master CI instructors teaching students in a real-life classroom environment is always great for me, because I learn a new strategy or I see ways in which I can refine what I am already doing; I was excited that I was going to get the chance to see this at IFLT. However, what I was not expecting to witness was the relationships which these teachers had with these students in these labs. The students in these labs were elementary and middle-school age students whose parents had signed them up for it, much like a weeklong summer camp, so these teachers only had 4 days to "work their magic." On day 2, I saw French teacher Donna Tatum-Johns personalize the stories which she was telling in French by involving the students in the class and how much they loved being characters in the story. When in a story where the character was being described as smart and Donna asked the middle school aged girl playing the character if she were smart (as part of circling) and she replied, "No, I am not smart," I saw Donna stop what she was doing, go up to her, place her arms on her shoulders, look her in the eye, and say with a motherly tone, "You are always smart in this class." On the last day, I observed Annabelle Allen's Spanish class for elementary school aged students, and I absolutely teared up seeing her students RUN to her class with absolute joy to see her and how she greeted each student individually with a hug and a kind word. I stayed for two lab periods on that day, because I could not get enough of what she was doing with these kids. At the end of the lab, when Annabelle asked the kids what she did to make the lessons understandable, one of the students replied, "Your voice is happy." 
  • My own knowledge of CI. Yes, I know that I write this blog which is dedicated to implementing Comprehensible Input in the Latin classroom, but quite honestly, for some reason I still view myself as having a novice level user knowledge of CI facilitation. At IFLT, I was serving in the role as an apprentice coach, so I was involved in the coaching aspect of the conference, but quite honestly, prior to arriving, I felt like a fraud going in. I remember thinking going into the conference, "Wow, if the IFLT folks only knew how little I know about CI compared to the rest of these coaches." However, during the week, I cannot tell you how many lengthy one-on-one talks I had with beginner teachers in the Teacher Talk area who had questions about CI implementation, assessing with CI, how to plan a lesson, etc., and I was able to answer their questions. Somehow unbeknownst to me deep inside me I had that experiential knowledge, and that came out of me during these conversations. Maybe it was because I knew exactly where they were in terms of doubts and of concerns. Maybe it was because they just wanted to hear someone say that it was going to be okay. Regardless, I am finally beginning to think, "Wow, maybe I do know some stuff about CI..."  

Anyhow, IFLT was an absolutely incredible experience, and I would recommend it to anyone (in the same way, I would recommend NTPRS to anyone). If you are interested in next year's IFLT, it will be in Denver from July 11-14, 2017. I have already decided that I am going to be there! Hope you will join me!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Movie Talks

Movie Talks are becoming more and more a staple of CI strategies which teachers are implementing in their classrooms. The premise is simple: take a very short movie or a clip from a movie (preferably one with little or no dialogue) and when showing it to students, pause it at certain points to deliver understandable messages to students (circling, discussing what is going on). 

Even though I had seen presentations on Movie Talks at various conferences, I deliberately held off on doing them, because quite honestly, they looked very difficult to facilitate. In addition, a Movie Talk seemed like it would take A LOT of planning, because not only would I have to find a short movie to fit my particular lesson needs, but I would also have to script it for places to pause and to ask questions/discuss. To me, it just appeared WAY too much effort for the result.

However, at last summer's NTPRS conference, I got the chance to experience a Movie Talk myself as a student in a session where Alina Filepescu was teaching Romanian. She seamlessly presented a Movie Talk to us in very comprehensible Romanian and had us interacting with the movie short in the target language. More importantly though, because the movie short which she was using was incredibly compelling, I was so focused on movie short that Romanian simply was the vehicle to learn what happened next, so the learning became subconscious.  

As a result, this past school year, I did a few Movie Talks. Yes, I struggled with them, but I found that students really enjoyed them and that they did lead to language acquisition. As a result, I will continue to implement Movie Talks.

Miriam Patrick has written up a great set of directions for implementing a Movie Talk on her blog Pomegranate Beginnings. With her permission, here is how she prepares a Movie Talk.

Set Up
Choose your video. I chose films based on, primarily, the vocabulary I was working with. I can edit the grammar to be whatever I want for whatever level I want, but the vocabulary needs to be sheltered, so this was key. For this particular unit, I was focusing on words like polypus (octopus), transcendit (climb across), and tam/adeo/tantus...ut... (he was so.... that...). YouTube has a wide variety of videos. All one has to do is search for Pixar Shorts, Disney Shorts, or movie shorts.

Write Your Script. You won't need it except for the first few times you use it, but it is good to have it written down, especially since you will be pausing the video in key spots. I found this to be, by far, the most time consuming of the project, but even then, if you have chosen a video and know your end goals clearly, it did not take more than a few minutes.

Set up support activities. This is a great CI activity that you can use for one day or for multiple days. You can use other activities like TPR and TPRS with this. After we spent the first day going through this video, we then did it daily for a while, but only once, and paired with embedded readings, PQA, and TPRS.

1. First, show the video - without interruption. This is a key step for a few reasons. It lets the kids familiarize themselves with the video and story line and, if it is particularly cute, funny, scary, or has a twist ending, they get to enjoy it. Here's the video I used.

2. Show the film again. This time, pause it at your pre-determined places and fill it with vocabulary. If you are using this to introduce new vocabulary, be sure to limit it to 3-4 new words/phrases. So, in this video, I would pause and introduce, new words are underlined - polypus (octopus), amat (loves), vir (man), rapta (stolen), coquus (cook), autoraeda (car), currit (run), transcendit (climb across), and so on...

3. Show the film a third time. This time, pause again, and give your sentences from your script. Be sure to move slowly, point to new words/images, etc. Here is the script I wrote for this film.

4. Show the movie a fourth time. This time, you can start asking questions and circling. Be sure to repeat the sentences from your script, circle new words and phrases multiple times, and ensure student understanding. When students start finishing the sentences for you, you know they are ready to start producing.

                                                                (taken from the blog Pomegranate Beginnings)

Back to me now. Movie Talks can be used in a couple different ways. One way is to preteach vocabulary (which is how Miriam describes in her directions). The following is a screencast of me demonstrating how to do a Movie Talk - I would not use a screencast to do with this students, but in this, you can see how I implement circling and PQAs in Movie Talk. I did this particular Movie Talk recently at the ACL Summer Institute as part of a presentation. The Movie Talk is not very long, but you will get the idea.

Movie Talk to Preteach Vocabulary

Movie Talk as a Predictor

You can also use movie shorts to get the class to predict what they will happen when you pause the movie. This takes a bit more language control though due to the output. Last summer at Rusticatio, Justin Slocum Bailey demonstrated how to do this. As a group, we all had whiteboards, and when he paused the video, he asked us what we thought happened next. Following that, we would share them in small groups and then he asked us for examples to share with the group as a whole. After that, he would unpause the movie, pause it again at a particular point and restart the process all over again.

The following is an example of this activity with the same movie clip as above. Students would not have seen this video clip prior.

So consider doing a Movie Talk.Yes, they take A LOT of planning, but in the end, it is worth it. 

  • List of possible Movie Talk shorts - this is a four page list of movie shorts compiled by Rachel Ash and Miriam Patrick
  • Mike Coxon explaining and demonstrating how to do a Movie Talk

  • Alina Filepescu demonstrating a Movie Talk in Spanish