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.

                                                                (taken from the blog Pomegranate Beginnings)

Back to me now. 

1) Using your script, show the video but stop at the times where you wish to talk about is in the screen.
2) Circle, and ask questions about what is on the screen.
3) If you wish, ask a responsible student to serve as the "Movie Talk pauser" - this student will need a copy of the script to know when to pause.

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
  • Movie Talk database - this is a MASSIVE searchable Google database started by Jason Fritze. As it is a collaborative document, new Movie Talks can be added.
  • Mike Coxon explaining and demonstrating how to do a Movie Talk

  • Alina Filepescu demonstrating a Movie Talk in Spanish

1 comment:

  1. I started using MovieTalks this past year for the first time and I loved them. I posed a question to a group of TPRS/CI teachers about showing the movie in its entirety without stopping since most of my students would complain about me pausing it. The consensus was NOT to show the movie in its entirety until the end. The ideas were 1) keep students engaged 2) builds anticipation 3) can talk about/make predictions. Then the reward at the end is to watch it interrupted.