I used Movie Talk to show a videoclip suggested in the Teacher’s Guide of Houdini Chapter 5 with my Spanish 2’s today.
IT WAS AWESOME!! I need to do MovieTalk at least once a week. It took us 35 minutes to talk through a 3 minute clip, including re-watching it straight through at the end. I muted it and paused it every five seconds or so to talk about everything that could be observed on the screen, and once we worked through it I turned the volume on and we watched it in its entirety.
I love this technique because it exposes my students to tons of vocabulary that we would NEVER study in my class otherwise because it’s not high frequency and so it doesn’t take priority. Today, my kids heard many repetitions and left being able to interpret words like hose, sink, bathtub, towel, carwash, dryer, shadow, tears, stool, etc. The great thing is that there is no expectation for them to learn the words, but each student will remember words that stood out to them for whatever reason. I was thinking about this earlier this week, actually, when I realized that my 14 month old knows what “brush your teeth” means. He only says about five very simple words (mama, dada, ball, dog, book), so there is no reason for him to understand a phrasal verb like that, but he LOVES brushing his teeth. If we are in the kitchen and I say, “Go brush your teeth”, he runs to the bathroom and points at his toothbrush on the counter. Moral of the story being that kids are going to learn the vocabulary that is meaningful to them most easily. MovieTalk is a great way to expose them to loads of vocabulary in a no-pressure situation, and they will remember those words that are meaningful to them (presumably, words for which they have a use in their own lives!).
The strategies that I used to keep the kids engaged are the same ones that CI teachers use when interpreting any text: asking questions and personalizing the information. You can ask circling questions about the obvious (The car is blue. Is the car blue or is the face blue?) or ask inferential questions (Why is he bald? What does she say to the man?). To personalize the information, connect what you’re describing on the screen with students in the class (He’s wearing shorts. Who in the class is wearing shorts? Why is (student) wearing shorts in the middle of winter??). I try to not let the discussions get too long before bringing them back to the movie clip.
If you haven’t yet tried MovieTalk or want to learn more about it, I suggest visiting Michele’s blog. She has some great posts that include links to good material.