My question for January was: What would you like to see a blog post about?
We've gotten some great responses and I want to use this format to respond to those questions. In this post, I'll discuss one topic myself and then provide resources for the other two. Please let me know of any resources I missed and any other topics you'd like to see this kind of round up for. :)
A shout out to Greg for asking about this. Greg particularly commented on wanting to know more about how to "make them contextual with the 'unit'". He also commented on tiring of hearing his own voice (which I completely understand) giving input. I think this is a great place to take this discussion.
First, if you would like resources on the basics of putting together a movie talk, here are a few resources:
Now, on to the topic at hand. I love Greg's question because it gets to the heart of why and how we use movie shorts in class. I know some teachers make the movie short the topic of the unit and turn these things into stories and discussions. I've done this some, particularly if I'm given a vocab list with no readings. I will be honest and say that I am not great at asking a story or creating class stories. I can write them, but I find discussion and debate much better for me and my classes. This may change as I make the rounds back to first year (I am teaching level 3 this year). We'll see.
For many of us (whether you are using a textbook, novella, or a series of readings), fitting in a movie short can seem like a break from the content that can harm the process. But, often, that break is a good thing. It refreshes the mind and gives the kids a new context within which to use what they know. Here are a few ways I fit movie shorts into my units.
As unrepetitive repetitions of vocabulary
Sometimes, I'll use a movie short early on in the unit, before we even see a reading. This will be when we are establishing vocabulary, using things like TPR, word webs, PQA, circling with balls, and tasks. I will pick a movie short based (often) solely on the vocabulary I can best use in it. We will spend part of a day with it or maybe use it as a beginning activity over a few days. If I were building a week plan and intended to include a movie short in my lessons, it may go something like this:
Sample Plan 1
- TPR/PQA new words
- Review words, movie talk (I lead through movie talk)
- movie talk (I lead through movie talk), PQA/TPRS/etc.
- movie talk (I ask questions while they lead), PQA/TPRS/etc.
- continue with reading
Sample Plan 2
- TPR/PQA/etc new words
- movie talk (I lead through, question and answer, they lead through)
- reading over movie talk
- follow up activity: seek and find, partner retell, etc.
- timed write
As a break from a reading/novella chapter/etc. to reinforce vocabulary
Sometimes, I'll use a movie short in the middle of a reading. It breaks up the monotony and provides a welcome TL break from the story line. Again, I'll choose a movie short based on vocabulary and, sometimes, I'll try and choose one that goes along with the story we're reading. I won't spend much time on this in class, often only one day.
Sample Plan 1
- quick reading activity (seek and find, T/F statements), movie short (I lead through, question and answer)
- reading activity and discussion
Sample Plan 2
- movie short (I lead through, question and answer, they lead through)
- movie short (they lead through), reading activity
- reading discussion
As a point for discussion/as a topic introduction
This is probably how I most use movie shorts in my upper level classes. I really like to use movie shorts to spark discussion or introduce a topic, rather than a specific set of vocabulary. So far this year, we've used movie shorts to:
- introduce qualities like loyalty, bravery, etc.
- debate topics like: love, heroism etc.
- discuss what characters possess what qualities
Rather than providing a sample lesson plan, I'd like to take a moment and point to the way I use the movie short in class. Since the purpose of this is different, I don't repeat the movie short. This lesson takes 1 day. It can fit anywhere in a unit. You can use it at the beginning to introduce a topic, or in the middle to introduce a debate or things like qualities. You can also use it in the middle or end to hold the debate or provide another context to use words. When I do this, I do not show the movie short in its entirety prior to discussion, usually because I want this discussion to evolve over the course of the class.
When using the movie short "Dragonboy", I don't want them to know that he ends up being the hero in the end. I want the discussion to naturally move along the movie short. Here is how I'd use this example.
- When choosing the movie short, I will have written a script. This will have key words I want to focus on like qualities. I may also write some leading questions to help the discussion move along. I will have also written in some key questions to ensure understanding on the base level.
- I will introduce any new words at the beginning of class. I will write the Latin and the English on the board. Students may take notes on these at the end of class OR I will send them out via Remind.
- We will start the movie short.
- As the moments I chose, we'll pause the movie short. The following will ensue:
(a) I will either: make a statement and ask comprehension questions OR ask them to describe the scene for me.
(b) If appropriate, I will ask the debate/discussion question. In this particular movie short, I might ask who loves who, whether they think the person loves them back, who demonstrates qualities (like bravery, loyalty, etc.), who is the hero, etc.
- As the discussion continues, I will try and lead the conversation if necessary.
(a) bring focus to the main character or a unique situation.
(b) suggest key words that they may have missed or need more repetitions of.
(c) ask leading questions that bring up future questions. In this short, I may ask if they think they'll fight or who will win the fight. I may ask how the girl will react, etc.
- When it is time, we'll enjoy the end in silence. They'll get to focus on how things actually occur. Many times, it may not be what they thought and will inspire even more discussion.
- I would reserve this for when you are sure kids are ready to have this kind of discussion. We began using this some in Latin one (although mostly with images) and Latin two (with movie shorts). Now, in Latin three, they are ready.
- This is a great way to change up a movie short. In this example we are no longer the sole source of input and we are showing the caring aspect of CI by letting the kids lead the discussion.
- You can follow this up, easily, with a timed write. You can have them reflect on the story, the characters, or even discuss themselves.
One Word Images
Thanks Greg for this suggestion! I will be honest and say that I am not very skilled in this area. I love images and using them, but I prefer to use complex images already made and use them to lead discussion. OWI is a great tool, however. Here are some resources on the OWI.
- Keith's post on One Word Picture
- a PDF from Ben Slavic on One Word Image
- Lance's discussion on the things that came come from one (word, sentence, thought)
- a video from Ben Slavic on One Word Image
Thank you Christina for this suggestion! I am sure there are variations of this, everywhere :). What I am going to point to today, however, is Bryce Hedstrom's la personal especial and how I've used it in class.
First, here are some basic resources on student interviews
- Bryce's original info on the interview and a variety of resources in various languages.
- Gerry's discussion on the process of the student interview.
- Miriam's variety of blog posts on using student interviews in class.
Are there more resources out there? Share in the comments below!
Generally speaking, you can use this interview to get to know students better, provide task based discussion in class, and allow students to shine. It gets at all three C's: comprehensible, compelling, and caring. There are lots of variations on the process, but generally:
- student comes up
- teacher interview student, circling through each question
- teacher reviews answers with students
- students write down questions and answers
- student check each other's work
- teacher and students review again
Variations and Edits
I've now done this for a few years. I love this, but I do find that sometimes it can become repetitive in a way that takes away from the compelling piece. So, I've experimented with a few different variations of this:
- Blogging: I got this idea from Meredith White and it worked really well. Students created blogs and each week completed a prompt. They talked about themselves, a dear friend or pet, a celebrity, and a fictional character. They responded to each other as well.
- Changing and Adding Questions: This year, I edited the questions to include some more things that fit alongside our units. We talked about qualities that people have and in the questions, students told me what qualities they had and showed. You could expand this to include qualities they want to have or don't want to have.
- Persona Illustris: Towards the end of the semester, when most/all students had been interviewed, I changed how we did this. Students answered the questions about a fictional character or celebrity they loved. The more information they knew, the better. I chose one each week to "embody" and they interviewed me. Then, they took a guess at who I was.
This is something I continue to play with. I have no idea how I will incorporate it in this semester... but:
- My kids are really good at this now. They know these words and can easily use these words, phrases, and questions.
- The questions are EASILY adaptable. For example: rather than asking students where they were born (natus/a est) in Latin, I asked where they were native to (generare).
- This can be done as a quick warm up or lead into further discussion