Movie Talk Link

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13 thoughts on “Movie Talk Link”

  1. I culled, restated, and shmooshed the Movie Talk website around to come up with the following Teacher Prep outline:



    The main activity in MovieTalk consists of narration. The teacher narrates the scenes as they occur in the movie.

    Narration in MovieTalk involves:
    1 ) naming objects, 
    2) describing actions
    3) talking about the characters 
    4) talking about characters’ emotions. 

    Movie Talk is narration, a running description you might give to a person who can’t see the movie but wants to know what’s going on the entire time.

    Example: “There is a man in a car. It’s a small red car. It’s going very slowly down the street. The man’s face is very angry.”

    II. DEALING WITH DIALOGUE (Movies which rely heavily upon dialogue to carry the story line are likely not suitable for MovieTalk.)

    MovieTalk teacher can paraphrase or explain the dialogue in simpler language, repeating as needed in order to get the crucial information across. 

    Ways to get across meaning of important dialogue:
    a) by translating – may not contribute to language acquisition directly but by making the story line more clear, it contributes to making subsequent scenes and language more comprehensible
    b) acting out scene with student actors using simplified dialogue
    using realia which shows what dialogue is about
    d) drawing cartoon sequence with abbreviated dialogue


    Step One: Become Familiar with the Main Plot

    1) Watch movie or clip at least twice.
    2) Write a summary yourself.
    3) Read some reviews and comments about film.
    4) Notice how movie or clip breaks into parts/scenes/chapters/etc.

    Step Two: Become Familiar with Main Characters

    1) Learn their names if known (or give them names).
    2) Write short physical/emotional description of each character.
    3) Write down each character’s relationship with other main characters.
    4) Note at which point in movie/clip each main character appears.

    Winnie the Pooh (or Pooh for short)
    An anthropomorphic toy bear
    A little naïve and slow, friendly, thoughtful and sometimes insightful
    Always willing to help his friends and try his best.
    He loves honey which gets him into trouble a lot.
    He is best friends with Christopher Robin and Piglet. 
    0:58 (first appearance)

    Step Three: Get a Sense of the Subplots and Themes

    Subplot:  Eeyore loses his tail and everyone looks for a replacement
    Subplot: Everyone goes on a rescue mission to save Christopher Robin
    Theme:  Importance of Friendship
    Theme:  Positive thinking
    Theme: Creative Problem Solving

    Step Four: Plan Your Presentation Schedule
    Step Five: Prepare Each Segment in Detail
    1) Presentation Segments (1-3 minutes of film)
    2) Plan your narration for each presentation segment – doesn’t need to be scripted.
    3) In planning narration, note structures you definitely want to circle and focus upon.

    1     Show segment first with no narration.
    2     Then, present the segment with movie talk input. (This could be two seconds or two minutes depending on the needs and level of your class or your desire to create anticipation and excitement–in other words, compelling input.)
    3     Do any supporting activities, drawings, acting, pantomime, circling, etc. to increase students’ comprehension.
    4     Use a wand/pointer to show what you’re talking about on the screen.
    5 Speak slowly and clearly.
    6 No error correction.
    7 Pause, reshow parts and/or whole segment with repeated, more
    connected narration.

  2. ^like and thanks!

    I watched the Bex clip and did some rep counting. When she asks “is the door closing” I only heard maybe 10 reps. So I am guessing you don’t use MT for introducing vocab but more for reps of what you know.

    What I like is, this could be used literally anytime. Hell if all your kids knew was #s and colours you could do MT. This is a tech I’m starting this Fall.

    1. Yup, Chris. i + 1, not i + 100. Mostly repping what students are in the process of acquiring and introducing a limited number of new structures. It’s probably a bit easier with MT to deliver more new info because of the visual support provided by the film, but it’s a funky trap if we let it get out of control. I agree. This can be done at any level at any time. We are the ones in control of the input.

      1. And in my opinion we have to limit that input to a much greater extent that we feel is proper. It’s that way with SLOW and very much that way with limiting new structures.

        This point also explains why it is clear that we could use the same clip for a beginning level group and an AP group.

        Huge point Jody thanks.

  3. Carol made four comments about MT that I moved from a separate thread:

    1. …unless I am missing something, the teacher needs to preview the clip and pre-teach/clarify any vocabulary needed. Decide on a few structures you want to introduce and do some Circling/PQA and watch the clip and circle some more, compare and contrast. It almost as if the clip becomes your parallel story. As they gain control over more structures, the conversation about each clip becomes richer and richer. Just scaffold, scaffold, scaffold! I am trying to remember the name of a Buster Keaton clip that I love – great for showing runs, jumps, is afraid, hides, etc. Buster is trying to get to his wedding. He is running down a long hill and a huge rock is chasing him. Hilarity ensues, but I cannot remember the name…!

    2. …this DELF assessment looks similar to the NY Regents test which no longer exists. The problem we face as CI teachers is in part being taken seriously by naysayers. I think that some kind of benchmark to see what the kids can do with the language is what sets CI kids apart from their peers in traditional classrooms. If anyone is teaching IB or AP, we somehow, in a CI framework, need to scaffold the kids in that direction. Just hanging out with the kids talking French may not get us where we want to be. For better or worse we need data. It’s the way the game is played. We just have to be more resourceful. We just need to be better than….

    3. …if you do not know Simon the Cat, check him out on youtube. Perfect for MT. HT Kelly Ferguson…!

    4. …and “Trotro” for French teachers. Sweet, short cartoons. Also in German. Can be used silently by all…!

    1. I hope that Michele adds to this discussion but….

      I attended the MT workshop that Michele and Betsy did and each one had a very different approach… Michele said that her approach was more in keeping with how Hastings intended. She just talked about the scenes in Russian and did very little in terms of establishing meaning, writing on the board etc. She said that after lots of MT students just pick it up and learn tons of structures and vocab… I can attest to that, actually. I was starting to have words like man, etc. stick with me.. from merely hearing the Russian.

      Betsy took more of a traditional TPRS approach. She singled out structures, established their meanings and then focused on those…

      I think using both approaches would provide novelty and offer a variation to change it up for kids…

      1. I think this is right – there is a lot of flexibility. This year when I do Movietalk (at least as an extended thing based on a full-length Chinese movie) I plan to do something in between these two approaches. I’m planning to have movie watching days (2 classes) much like Michele did, and then followed by discussion and reading “processing” days (2 classes). Then the next viewing days. It will be 6 days of movie watching and I have added the flexibility to take longer and spill into the

        In the case of the movie I’m using, a day of teaching background info (about the characters, geography, and cultural situations) helps. I also plan to do one day pre-teaching some vocab (like Step 1, more like Betsy did) so that I can use it during the movie viewing.

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