Movie Talk

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37 thoughts on “Movie Talk”

  1. Glad Jody got this to you. I shared a little demo of MovieTalk yesterday at our monthly TPRS/CI meeting, and it seemed to generate a lot of ideas. I am trying to get to the point of videotaping a lesson, partly for getting feedback from the creator, and partly because Stephen Krashen wants to see what it looks like in other languages. As I’ve said before, I think MT is TPRS on steroids, but I can’t quite yet use it full time with HS kids, thanks to classroom issues and probably to my own lack of ability and confidence. It would be really nice if those in this community who have “ideal” classes could try it out.

    Ashley Hastings (the inventor) shared with me the listening exam that would move students out of the listening module, and he agreed with my guess that his program moves students out of MT classes when their listening skills are at intermediate mid by ACTFL standards. Since we are typically aiming to get kids to the intermediate mid level by the end of high school, that means that we could use MT all the way through typical third-year classes. Only in fourth year would we be leaving it behind. Research has shown that students who do MT are far better than their peers in traditional programs in speaking ability, even though MT doesn’t stress speaking. It is focused on improving listening skills. It is compelling, comprehensible input. I think that we in the TPRS community could add the need for personalization to the mix, strengthening it. I’ve used parallel stories to introduce a reading about a movie that we’re going to watch, settling my concerns about lack of a literacy piece, but I’m not sure that it’s necessary. I would love to have a total experimental group for a semester of “pure” MT.

    1. Damn! I could actually try this w/ a group that I have right now. Except it’s not a CI-trained group. I think it would work for them, though. I am going away tonite but will study the webiste in more detail when I get back. I checked it out some this morning and it looks cool!

    2. I am so bummed I missed yesterday. I am sure Leo wasn’t contagious but I didn’t want to risk it or did I want sideways glances every time he coughed. ;o)

  2. …I’ve used parallel stories to introduce a reading about a movie that we’re going to watch, settling my concerns about lack of a literacy piece, but I’m not sure that it’s necessary…

    I think I know what you mean. It’s like we spend two years trying to teach the kids how to get on the surfboard, but once that is done we probably don’t have to work on backwards planning of targeted vocabulary because their minds’ nets are sufficiently strong and webbed to catch and keep good comprehensible input. They can surf on their own, kind of, in level three and then start hanging ten when they are in level four. Makes sense to me.

    …we in the TPRS community could add the need for personalization to the mix, strengthening it….

    True, but if we didn’t personalize MT clips consciously it seems to me that it wouldn’t be that big of a deal – a good film is sufficiently engrossing to not need that piece, unless we wanted to personalize a reading passage that grew from an MT passage and process just as we do readings now that grow from stories.

    I like the idea of short clips that mentioned. That to me, is key to the success of this idea. I could just see myelf getting like ten thousand reps on one line, if it’s a good line. Or a good line from a great song in a musical!

    This could be a kind of final answer to the upper level problems. I remember when Melanie first brought up the upper level quandary four years ago, it was like we had no idea what to do and nobody had upper level classes anyway, but now we need to act and Michele thank you for your leadership. You snoop around in WL pedagogy better than anybody, and you always find great stuff!

    The only concern I have is what about going out of bounds with this, though? How do we keep it all in bounds? Are level three kids really really able to catch stuff in their nets without backwards planning certain vocabulary. Are level four kids really really ready?

    After talking with Diana last night, I am fully back in line with the idea that comprehension based instruction should be backwards planned so that the only new things that the kids are exposed to in any single class period are a few targeted structures, at least ideally.

    I’ll still go wide but so does Jason and a lot of us and that is just the way it is. But there is so much that is thrown at a kid in a film, and we need some field research on this as soon as possible, because it seems counterintuitive to me that a kid with less than 500 hours of CI can watch a film when fluency requires so many hours than that.

    I love what you said, Michele, about how speaking is not targeted and just naturally emerges from the MT work. This is awesome:

    …research has shown that students who do MT are far better than their peers in traditional programs in speaking ability, even though MT doesn’t stress speaking….

    1. An important note: you mostly play the movies with the sound off! The teacher is providing the input. I keep having to read the examples of teacher talk on the MT site. It helps keep me in bounds every time. The best movies are those that have a lot of action and stuff you can point to. I have been stunned that kids have picked up vocabulary that I have mentioned only a time or two, probably because it resonates with them. But at the same time, you aren’t losing kids because you’ve got the visual piece there to support them all the way.

      About the movies…the site suggests (and Stephen Krashen has suggested to me) that it’s fine to use movies in any language. I think that is because people have been using all sorts of movies in English to teach ESL. My gut feeling is that I need to use Russian movies to teach Russian, because they add a huge cultural component to the classroom.

      One last note: Stephen Krashen and Ashley Hastings are close friends!

  3. I’ve done this for years-just didn’t know it had a fancy name or anything written about it. I usually use Looney Tunes cartoons-some of them are perfect for intro level CI. Two in particular are ‘Back Alley Oproar’ where the cat is outside Elmer’s house “singing.” I usually just ask questions: Is he happy? Is he sleeping or singing? etc. Another great one is called ‘Feed the Kitty,’ the one where the huge bulldog adopts a kitten and then cries and cries as he thinks the kitten got baked into cookies. It’s adorable. One other excellent one is called Fish Tales, where Porky goes fishing, falls asleep and dreams he gets caught by a huge fish. It seems that the structures used in class stories and much of the vocabulary appears in these cartoons, students find it extremely satisfying to point out examples. Many are on youtube, but I have a couple Looney Tunes DVD’s which have French dubbing, so I usually put that on, and kids are still happy if they can just pick out a word here or there. Lots of potential there.

  4. I have a friend in Colorado who has been working for several years on a website/program using short, conversation-filled movie clips in French. His idea was that many people could use his site for independent language development, that college professors could use it as a supplement to required texts, and I have been working with him to consider expanding this for use with CI teachers. I’ll let you know when he is up and running…he promises soon. :o)

    with love,

  5. My goal with a movie would be: i + 1 for my students for the greatest duration possible.

    Easy to lose sight of this with a movie “I” understand.

    i + 1 for a few seconds here and there is good, but not optimal in my opinion–even though kids might eventually start picking out words.

    The “net” cannot lead to language gains if not accompanied by “i + 1” (not i +100).

    That’s why I see the possibilities with movietalk: teacher narration of film which keeps the language comprehensible and provides the net.

    Obviously, this looks very different at each level–less and less scaffolding needed the more language the students have.

    1. i + 1
      i = level of language student has right now
      + 1 = language that is at just a little higher than where they are right now

      Krashen posits that we do not deliberately need to directly teach structures that we deem “a little higher” than the ones they already know. We need to deliver “the net”, but the net must be comprehensible to the learner. It can’t overshoot the learner a whole lot or there is not comprehension–therein, no acquisition (or very little).

      The question is: “How” do we deliver that? I went back to Krashen’s website and the Input Hypothesis.

      Krashen writes: The input hypothesis is very consistent with what is known about “caretaker speech”, the modifications that parents and others make when talking to young children. Caretakers talk “simpler” in an effort to make themselves understood by the child. (Jody thinks that’s a very important sentence.) Modifications made in foreigner-talk and teacher-talk are not made for the purpose of language teaching, but are made for the purpose of communication, to help the second language acquirer understand what is being said.

      A second characteristic of interest to us here is the finding that caretaker speech, while it is syntactically simpler than adult-adult speech, is “roughly-tuned” to the child’s current level of linguistic competence, not “finely-tuned”.

      One thing Krashen says that I don’t understand is this: more advanced second language performers tend to get more complex input, but the correlation between proficiency and input complexity is less than perfect. (I get the first part, but the second part leaves me hanging? What does that mean? Does that mean that research has not explained this thing we are discussing very well? I need help on this one.)

      My overall point about this is that, since we are working with large numbers of students and not just one child in a family, we need to be intentionally cognizant of what “rough tuning” looks/sounds like and how we arrive at that in a classroom. What do comprehension checks look like when we use movies? I’m not advocating extreme fine-tuning of input because I don’t believe it exists in a classroom for ALL anyway. I am advocating proceeding with intention and caution so that we don’t lose our students.

      Movies are made for native speakers–not beginning/intermediate language learners. If we are going to use movies to help students acquire language, I think we must be very conscious of “how” we do it or we end up being very much like the eclectic, communicative teachers who speak a lot of TL (most of it only comprehensible to the top students) and who show TL movies to their classes, stopping from time to time to explain the scenes in English. Been there–done that–works for fast processors, but not for the rest. If I am honest, there are too many tuned-out students for it to be worthwhile for me.

      However, hard to measure and very important, as has already been stated, is that “cultural hook in” which native language film can provide. All of of us swallowed it at some point on our own language journey–likely thanks to some teacher who provided us the opportunity.

      Too much rambling–sorry.

  6. I think, like the “Best Novels” category here in the blog, a category for “Best Movies” (or best movie clips) from different languages would be helpful.

    1. I agree that a list of movies would be helpful. One thing that bugs me, though is that in L2 the subtitles and voices often don’t match (even most of the time, actually) if it’s an animated or dubbed film.

      Who’d have thunk that movie producers would have made their films without language teachers in mind? (sarcasm)

  7. Thanks for sharing this link! I’ve tried just showing movies, but there are always some students who tune out. The idea of using very short clips with teacher narration is perfect. Ads are a great source–I’m going to use the sample of the dog getting in shape to chase VWs with my class next week! Love it!

  8. So, if you can’t find a suitable clip in L2 with L2-subtitles, do you just use any old clip with the sound turned off and teacher narration instead? Sounds like an intriguing idea. I have been looking for short movies in German with German subtitles but have not been successful on the internet. I know I could buy feature length movies but I would rather start out with something shorter.

  9. For Chinese teachers: I have a recommendation for a “Movie Talk” movie that probably would work with Year 2 or 3. I use it with my 8th graders (sort of like a Year 2 of high school). Official translation of its title: “Lost on Journey”. (This blog doesn’t display Chinese characters.)

    It’s funny, has a positive message (about what is really important in life and what real success is), and in my mind is appropriate for grades 7-12 (it’d be PG if rated, I suppose). It deals with a lot of modern Chinese life: wealthy businessmen living away from family, marital infidelity, countryside people, problems with money, and points such as Chinese New Year travel difficulties and how upscale urban and downscale rural areas and people look and speak. Production values are very good. I really like this film if you can’t tell! I have a DVD but it’s also available on last time I checked.

    I’m putting together a “Movie Talk”-type guide to this film including a PowerPoint for the day before starting to watch, and sheets that ask comprehension questions about the segment viewed and then previews the next day’s content without spoilers. The movie divides into 7 segments of about 15 minutes each. I plan to use it for about 9 days of class in December. I’ve used the film two previous years & I’m excited to have an improved way to make it comprehensible.

    If you teach Chinese I’m willing to share my files. Let me know at

  10. Sabrina Sebban-Janczak

    I have a great movie recommendation for French (can be played in Spanish too) called “the class” (Entre les murs, 2008), which won many awards about this tough inner-city high school in Paris in which a few teachers try and push their kids to naviguate school life and all the challenges that go along with it.

    My kids are absolutely mesmerized and I can tell they are really into it. I could see using this movie for movie talk . My kids are just watching, while writing whatever they hear/recognize since we don’t have enough time to do the movie talk thing .

    It s finals and we have a modified schedule. Even my 8th graders are so much into it, I m trying to figure out why . May be it s b/c I teach in a urban school with a big melting pot and some of the themes resonate with them.
    I m sure most of you have heard or even shown it but in case you haven’t , you can try it .

  11. Thank you guys … you never fail to surprise and clarify and inspire me to teach better…

    I’ve not been logged into the community for a while and then I saw this Movie Talk stuff and looked up the guy’s website. My situation is a little different because I teach small private classes of English – mostly 1:1s – in Bangkok. The Thais are bored with English at school and they want everything fun.

    I did a movie talk stylee session with a 14 year old. She is false beginner – elementary level ish. Actually lower because I don’t think she gets enough CI. She has Thai teachers who do grammar lessons and speak in Tinglish, and farang teachers who she just doesn’t understand.

    Anyway she loves a Phantom of the Opera graded reader they did 12 months ago in class so we are doing it again. I’m going through it slowly doing circling. And I found the trailer for the 2005? musical movie. I talked her through what we saw on screen and wrote down what I was saying. I asked her circling questions or open questions and she answered correctly. She loved it. It is just a 6 minute trailer.

    My mindset doing it is like I”m talking through a picture book with a little kid. You know you point at the pictures and say”who’s that?” “Oh what’s she wearing – is it a black dress or a white dress? Is her hair brown or red?Oh look she’s turning her head. ” and then I turn my head to show what I mean.

    To be honest I haven’t done all the back planning of language. I’ve busked it a bit, which you can for 1 on 1 classes. I’ve marked up new vocab from the text of what I said. Next time I will teach her this vocab. Some words like ‘mask’ will be useful for the book. I hope that will be good enough to help her acquire the new language. We will see.

    I’ve done 14 hours of privates with this girl and at the beginning she hardly talked. she took a long time to answer or didn’t understand unless it was TPR, TPRS with circling – then she’s great. But I’ve given up on her school books which are set at pre-intermediate – far too complicated language… and soooo boring. Even the lowest level graded readers are a bit tricky for her – unless we go through it in a circling conversation.

    How did it go? Well after the movie talk he was talking spontaneously. She seems very happy and excited. She gives the story 9 out of 10 for interesting. I was quite proud of her! I’m thinking to get her the full movie and splitting it up into movie talk sessions with the sound down.

    I have some 10 year olds who are reluctant learners doing a trial class next week. Oh gawd, their mum is my friend so I can’t say no. Anyway they want to do Twilight so I will try Movie talking it with the sound down. I will need to plan this 1hr lesson properly, work out my script I think. TPR main vocab and do circling conversation to prep for my film commentary.

    One questino – should I limit my talk time to 20 mins? Perhaps this is too long for this age group ?

  12. Judy must answer this last question. Or someone who has the experience with Movie Talk.

    Your description of how you are handling the 1:1 teaching is cutting edge. We have no one that I know doing 1:1 circling and CI. You had asked for help with it before, how to do it, and nobody here knew – that was about eight or nine months ago as I remember, so now you’re doing it yourself.

    We need to stay aware of what you are doing. There isn’t one of us here who wouldn’t benefit from a little properly done Movie Talk in our classes.

    With all due respect to Judy who has painstakingly explained technique details to us over and over, most of us need a refresher course or a template for the hard link above, just more information clearly explained, plus a little moral support on it. At least I don’t think I am alone in needing a kick in the pants to move forward with trailer length movie talk instruction. Why?

    It’s spring and many of the wheels of CI have ground almost to a halt with all the distractions of standardized testing, not to mention the usual crushing wheel of daily teaching of unmotivated kids, etc. – all that stuff that wears us down so emotionally at this time of year. We need some Movie Talk, is what I mean.

    This is just a call for a reprise of some sort of Movie Talk in the next few weeks here. A template is needed, definitely, of how to do each step. Like, first you take the DVD out of the case and put it in the computer kind of thing.

    I will try to find what we have on it now and mount an offensive on this. It’s the perfect time of year for it. I for one am very impressed with this Katherine bc if we could say we have someone here who is making a 1:1 TCI thing work, that would be important for others in the same boat and a feather in the site’s cap.

    Not all of us are going to want to stay in teaching large amounts of rude kids too much longer. Just sayin’. Some of us are fixin’ to bust out. Some of us are thinking of working with small groups of rude kids instead, or, prayer or prayers, polite adults, maybe in a language school or freelancing or just plain running like hell out of our buildings to find less evaluative bullshit and, hope of hopes, real motivated students. Or just less one rude kid, right?

    [Stop reading here, the rest is a useless ramble.]

    Now, how to get a template going, bug James about it, go find what we already have on it. Sigh….I feel like Jeremy in the Yellow Submarine – ad hoc loc and quid pro quo, so little time, so much to know! Not that that phrase matches any of the signatures of the Latinists here. Have you noticed it’s just them with the cool signature quotes to their comments? They write this stuff at the end of their comments and I just want to go learn Latin real fast and tear into those little Salve things like popcorn chicken. I will say this as I ramble along here that the rebirth in Latin we are seeing here is just totally kick ass. I mean, our Latin team here is actually bringing back to life, one kid like Brickler’s kid at a time. This so-called dead language is now rumbling back to life in these ten or so teachers we have here, a little more each day. It’s kind of spectacular, right? Do we get what is happening with Latin here? Has it happened before? Have their been pockets of time since nineteen hundred years ago where there has been a reprive of Latin for the masses? I’m not talking Boul’ Mich kind of stuff down Sorbonne Ave. there in the Latin Quarter. I’m talking Latin for the guy in the street. Now, tell me how I got from Movie Talk to Latin, from Bangkok to Paris in one comment here. Dang it. What this group is doing from Thailand to Latin Recovery, USA, is indeed boggling my mind. Oh well, if boggled it must be, boggled it will be. And one last thing, Katherine, and I know you are a writer – this is a great sentence with a verb I’ve never even heard before – I didn’t miss it:

    …I’ve busked it a bit…

  13. Oh thank you Ben. What a great reply – very sane with a hint of craziness. Well yes the Latin guys I think are amazing. I did Latin at school (and some ancient Greek) and of course I loved it. But I was in the minority. Imagine doing it this way – how amazing would that be? I read the comment from the Latin teacher who was having problems with other teachers questioning his methods. And I was thinking what’s wrong them? He’s too cool for school, that’s what. All the cool dudes will be giving up music technology and rapping in Latin instead.

    Ok so first about the circling. Look I’m not sure I’m doing it up to any minimum quality standard as set by the TPRS group here. I simply ask comprehension questions of the like “Is she wearing a red dress or a green dress? Oh right? Sorry, is it a black dress or a red dress? Oh is she wearing the dress or is she eating the dress? Right is she wearing a red dress or a red pencil?” And they laugh at me a bit. And then I would have to stop right there. I run out of steam. And they are happy they’ve got it. It doesn’t seem to lead to stories or craziness.

    Out of interest I used this for numbers. My girl Pure (they have great names here – her best friend is called Sweet Water – “nam wan”) couldn’t remember numbers in English – well they’re quite irregular aren’t they – 11, 12, 13 etc? So I do that as circling 2 choices. And that way she always gets it right – cos she almost knows it. Since making numbers easy for her – we practise them a bit each lesson – she is now good with numbers. She’s remembering them.

    If any of you guys go freelance I think you would kick up a storm. The problem with school is when we’re told we’ve got to do something we instantly rebel. And you guys are up against all that mental resistance. But if they are coming to you as adults or as an out of hours tutor then the barriers come down. You guys would find it a doddle – especially if you could get some small groups together of students. I mean it’s about 10x easier than what you are all doing… I take my hats off to you for keeping swimming against the current. I had some great teachers at school and I didn’t think about it – I just enjoyed the lessons. I had no idea of the flak they might be taking behind the scenes to keep teaching in an inspiring way.

    OK that’s me done. Thank you all for your expertise and patience with a newbie

    Busk it – ha ha I mean improvise, play it by ear…

  14. Kath I often wake up with weird shit in my mind about how important this work is. It’s not fully conscious thinking but kind of a deep awareness. Guess what my awareness was this morning? Exactly what you said here:

    …when we’re told we’ve got to do something we instantly rebel. And you guys are up against all that mental resistance. But if they are coming to you as adults or as an out of hours tutor then the barriers come down. You guys would find it a doddle – especially if you could get some small groups together of students. I mean it’s about 10x easier than what you are all doing…

    I wish people could get what you said there and be provided with the economic means to be able to just walk out of the buildings. It’s too hard for some of us. I am honestly disturbed when Brickler writes about this being his third hardest year in teaching, all because he is trying to do what is right by the kids. That should not be.

    My awareness just now was a deeper kind of awareness, the kind we get when we move through waking up from 8 cycles per second (sleep) to the awake state (22 cps) in that alpha transition state (14 cps). It wasn’t an awareness that can be put in words, but it was a slam in my head like it isn’t about it being 10x harder than if we weren’t in schools as you suggest but like 5,000 to 10,000 times harder.

    It’s a serious thing and since I am lucky enough to be nearing full retirement I am really getting that what we do may not be do-able for much longer by most of us except some of the very strongest. The screws are tightening in the buildings and the kids are becoming not less but more robotic as they can only interact with machines (they are becoming cyborgs) and facing nothing but testing.

    The kids – esp. those trained in previous years out of the book – literally look at us like we’re crazy when we ask them to bring their emotional quotient and not their intellectual quotient to the table in our classroom, bc what we do is totally about exercising the muscles of the E.Q. as per the Three Modes.

    But their E.Q.’s don’t really exist in schools, do they? And we take that on. Annick Chen are thinking of starting a language school in Chinese and French in Denver. Very part timey as we have families, but we just want to not feel that hatred from others about this work. Yes, I used the word hatred. I know it’s a strong word. I used it anyway bc that it what is has felt like to me for twelve years.

    I did like this very much, thank you. Another cool word used well:

    …you guys would find it a doddle…

  15. Hi there – jumping into your conversation related to 1-1 instruction. Kath, I lived in Thailand short-term and enjoyed your references to Thai nicknames & life! I can hear “nam wan” in my head.

    I have some limited experience this year doing CI 1-1. I am tutoring one student outside of school (and I’m his only Chinese teacher – he takes Spanish in school). He’s less motivated and intellectually cooperative (expects something more like his Spanish class, heavy on output and memorization of words) so I have that problem. But I’m accomplishing CI work with him one-on-one. A less “my mom hired you and 3 other weekly tutors” situation would be easier.

    I had not considered Movie Talk for him, so thank you for the idea as a 1-1 approach! I think it would be so interesting to him it’d get him past the “weirdness”. Teaching 1-1 means second-by-second adapting to only one student. I think I would try to prepare a few key structures before showing whatever video and do some work with those with him first (gestures, PQA). Then video. In his case, I’d imagine 20 minutes would be the maximum time. Then a break and a switch, ideally, to reading about the same content. I think it would depend on the person you’re working with how long each segment could last.

    For my next time with Movie Talk in a more advanced class, I’d like to add some reading and writing elements in follow-up to viewing the movie I’ll use.

    The other thing I did with this student recently (which was very successful) was a cooking lesson. We made dumplings (jiaozi) together. For a couple of weeks, we worked with really basic versions of the instructions. “Pick up this and put it inside this. Like this.” Made sense when I had the props there. Anything too diffcult to explain was “like this” because of his level. I got to use a lot of directional terms. He found all this compelling because there was a clear goal in sight. While cooking I could both demonstrate and ask questions about the order and technique. He liked the dumplings, too, so that helped.

  16. So Diana I’m hearing you say that in Movie Talk we first pull structures from the video and PQA them, getting reps, as we do before starting a story. Then we show the video and it’s kind of a step 2 of TPRS story thing but only talking about the movie. Then we do a reading. Is that pretty much it?

    It would help me a lot to stare down the Movie Talk beast if I knew that it was really just about applying the Three Steps to a five or ten minute segment of a movie (Kath mentioned using a trailer which I think is brilliant) and doing the Three Steps.

    1. I think it’s an option but it’s not the official way. The MovieTalk website doesn’t do it that way – just uses the video in segments, with the second time through having the teacher explain in comprehensible language what’s happening. That works too, but in the case of my tutoree he will need prepping for even fairly basic sentences to be comprehensible. He’s a beginner.

  17. Oh thank you to Diane for this suggestion. Ha – your Chinese student sounds like a nightmare. I will do the movie talk in the sequence you suggest.

    Do you know a funny thing, I have offered cooking classes to the reluctant 9 year olds. I mean this is a dangerous thing – I could lose face big time – as a not particularly adept farang person living in a condo with a toy kitchen… Thai people seem to come out of the womb being able to cook amazingly. Still I don’t care. We could do no-bake desserts or whatever. It is yes a hidden sort of TPR I was thinking. Thank you.

    I also offered science lessons if they like doing those crystal kit type things – there are lots in ToyrsRUs of fun science kits for 9 year olds. But they didn’t go for that. I’d be interested if anyone has done that.

    Ben yes… I can imagine 10x doesn’t really express how frustrating it must be. Why not start a school? Surely it is possible to start one via skype while you still have the full time job? If you would be happy to teach English too you could probably pick up business from Asia – China, Japan? Presumably some must want to learn French esp if they are going to relocate in Canada. I don’t know.

    I was in touch with this teacher Terry Waltz, who’s a TPRS lady, when I was looking for Mandarin lessons via Skype – she has clips of her teaching on her website I think and it looks great.

    1. I don’t understand. In Movie Talk, you speak in the target language. Are you saying, it would feel weird to make the switch to the teaching a new target language, “English”?

    1. Good job, Nathan! The gang was at my house yesterday for our last meeting of the year. We were going to talk assessments, but ended up requesting a do-over from Julia on this video. The only bad thing is that the laptop was so little.

      No less a person than Ashley Hastings (the inventor of MT) commented that Julia is doing MT perfectly…except for the fact that she didn’t do what he said he recommends: she didn’t pre-show the video and then talk it through.

  18. I have not yet worked out all of the kinks in my use of Movie Talk, but I am getting positive vibes back from my French 2 students. They were up for a change of pace and watching the classic “Parapluies de Cherbourg” seems to have encouraged membership to the “club of French speakers” . It’s like they were “frenchified” or something. There is a certain level of “sophistication” that they felt as a result of discussing a French film in French. Yesterday they had tons of questions about the actors and wanted to look them up on their phones. There was so much culture in the film that they saw that we never got to discuss, but they saw it. One of my 4%ers came to me after class to tell me that Movie Talk was great because it opened up so many possibilities for learning new structures and vocabulary – from the mouths of babes! Via Film Aerobics, I was able to use a reading about the war in Algeria, discuss changes in cultural mores, the changes that access to technology may have had on the doomed relationship, map skills, there is lots that can be discussed in the TL using a film. They got a bunch of structures – I did not have enough time to concentrate on each part of the film. I focused mainly on the main events. Taking screen shots of certain scenes allowed me to assess listening, speaking, and writing. Using Michele Whaley’s new embedded reading template was an interesting exercise in distilling the story to its bare bones and adding in some details. Another benefit was the chance to recycle old stuff and introduce some longer or more complex structures like apres avoir quitte Cherbourg, Genvieve est allee a Paris; est arrivee devant l’opera en courant; lui a interdit; a desobei; n’a pas fait attention; a menti; essaye d’oublier, a fini par se marier avec Madeleine, elle veut que Genvieve attende Roland, and lots more. I was worried that the movie would be a little too much of a “chick flick” for the guys, but they were equally upset with the ending. I prefaced the film by telling the guys that sitting through a “chick flick” was a life skill that would pay off big time later in life. They were good sports.They all were fine with the singing. The main Legrand “tube” from the movie is shot through with the future tense which allowed me to show it without even discussing it much. I did take one period to get through a chunk of film to get to the end, but it was worth it and kept the discussion from dragging on too long and running out of energy. I took a chance on this old school film and it seems to have paid off. It was a good way to get to the end of the year.

  19. Can anyone recommend movies for me to preview? I’m already bored this summer waiting for my busy July and I have some time to prepare materials.
    I’ve already watched La misma luna and También la lluvia.
    Any suggestions for good Spanish III/IV films?

    1. Robert Harrell

      It may be a bit advanced (I’m not real good at judging these things in Spanish), but I thoroughly enjoyed “El Embrujo de Shanghai” when I took a Spanish film class. It is a coming-of-age story set in Barcelona during Franco’s regime. There are actually two stories running parallel and informing one another: the story of Daniel and his coming of age and the story of Kim, a maqui, that is done in the style of a film noir. There is also a book of the same name.

    2. Hopefully at least one of the following will be “new” to you….
      Carol’s journey (Spanish Civil war)
      Silencio Roto ( SCW)
      Alamar (very little dialogue – story of dad and little boy in a small fishing village) I was very surprised by how much students liked this movie because it is VERY slow – which of course is the point….:)
      Viva Cuba
      Cautiva-(guerra sucia)
      La lengua de las mariposas(coming of age-Spanish Civil war)

  20. Another great idea are these new Mickey Toons they are showing on Disney. They really aren’t appropriate in my opinion for my daughter who is 3 but they are hilarious and I think our students would LOVE them. The last one I saw had Mickey and Donald. They wanted to go buy food for their ladies but the sign read “No shirt, no shoes, no service.” Well, Mickey had the pants and shoes, and Donald had the shirt so they battled to see who got to switch. Here is the video link:

  21. Most excellent.

    About a year ago we started a thread here – skip started it I think – on how to best use CI to teach upper levels. I know that this MT clip can be used at any level (anything can be used at any level) but I see this as most useful for upper levels. This one clip could be used over a two week period or even three week period as a curricular “unit”.

    Here is the link to the teacher prep guidelines provided for us by Jody:

    Here is the link to the category selections on Movie Talk:

    I would suggest that the order we would use this in would be to just follow the natural order of acquisition as James’ video did. First the kids would watch the clip. Then we would discuss it for as long as we could, milking the CI, as slowly as possible of course. Then we would create a reading. Then we could send it through Textivate for some more reading practice which would then lead to writing. James’ video shows an example of that process. Then we could try for some speaking output if the kids wanted to. They probably would speak some after hearing it discussed, having read it, and having done some limited writing about it over a period of days or weeks.

    Thank you Erica I will place this in the Movies – Best Clips category. I was going to read a novel with my upper level kids today. I think I’ll use this instead. It’s fresh. Donald Duck is always fresh.

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