If you love using short films as a tool for storytelling in your language classes, I have something you are going to LOVE! In this post, I’ll share with you an amazing video and a full set of ClipChat* resources that are ready-to-go in Spanish. Massive thanks to Nelly Hughes for writing out a ClipChat script in Spanish that you can work from, and I built the materials from there.
*ClipChat is the name that World Language teachers now use to refer to our adapted version of MovieTalk, which you can read about here.
Five by The Mercadantes
Five is a beautiful short film that follows the daily routine of five children, each living in a different part of the world and practicing a different religion, as they prepare to go to their place of worship. The creator of the short film uses beautiful imagery and thoughtful sequencing to show just how similar the routines of these five different children are.
Watch the video on YouTube!
I love this video for so many reasons. First of all, from the perspective of interculturality, the five children represent a range of ethnicities, cultures, and belief systems. Second, from a language teaching perspective, the parallel stories allow for built-in repetition of vocabulary. Third, there is natural use of vocabulary from the first few units of Somos 1 / Nous sommes 1 / Sumus 1, which makes it easy for students to ‘stretch’ and focus their interpretive attention on new vocabulary terms that they may encounter in the video.
Find the resources in the MovieTalk/ClipChat folder of the Library
Teach the ClipChat Lesson
Like most ClipChat lessons, this one begins with… drum roll please… a ClipChat! Then, we continue to work with the story to better understand it and to connect with the stories being told.
ClipChat is a very simple strategy, but it does take some prep work to be done well. Essentially, you will be playing the video but pausing very frequently to describe each new image that appears on the scene.
Because this short film switches between scenes VERY quickly, you may find it helpful to play the video at .5x speed. You can do this on YouTube by clicking on the Settings/Gear icon, then going to Speed, then .5x. This will slow it down and make it easier for you to pause the video where you want to. Alternatively, you can capture still frames of the video before class and then click through them in a presentation (we have prepped this for you and have them available in our resources!).
Next, READ TOGETHER a simplified version of what you just said as you narrated the short film during ClipChat. I always like to do this by grabbing screen shots of the short film, popping them in a Slideshow, and adding text boxes so that students have the visual support of the still frames to support their understanding of the text. As you read together, take time to support understanding, personalize the stories and connect them to your students’ lives, and check for comprehension.
Story Sort is a really useful activity that will work well with any story that has multiple characters that are each doing a bunch of things or with multiple plot lines. Write out all of the things that each character does in the story. Create a table and drop one action in each cell of the table, then print them out and cut them up to create cards. Mine looks like this:
Give students time to read all of the cards and to sort them into groups based on the character to which they are connected. In this case, students sort the cards into five piles: one for each of the children featured in the video.
Once students have the storylines sorted out by character, have them sequence them! Show your students the video again, several times, so that they don’t have to do this based on memory. To speed things along and to give students autonomy, you might allow them to pick just ONE of the storylines to sequence!
The stories told in FIVE are simple, but they do involve a fairly broad range of vocabulary that students in Level 1 or even Level 2 might not be familiar with. Understanding the story when you are telling it during ClipChat is one thing, but being able to make sense of a written text–without the support of strong visuals–is something else!
Since students have already interacted with the text a good bit at this point, this is a great time for a Context Clues activity that will help draw students’ attention to the specific meaning of words that they have been hearing and reading throughout this lesson. Give students a printed version of the text (simplified). Also give students a list of words in their shared language that they need to find in the target-language text. For example, you might give students the words “wash, pray, shoes, put on” and tell them to find the Spanish words for these terms in the text.
To keep things simple and to give another opportunity for autonomy, I chose to write up one simplified storyline about each child so that students can choose which short text they want to work with. It takes more work on the prep end, but the payoff is real! Plus, that’s what we’re here for – doing this so you don’t have to ;-).
Finally, I created an activity that I -love- and for which I can’t wait to find more uses! With each student looking at one of five different texts (each of the five is about a different child in the story), present to your students a theme or action and task them with finding a sentence in their text that connects with the theme or action that you are showing. Here’s what I mean:
In this example, students see an image of footwear and putting on shoes, and they need to find a sentence in the story that they are looking at that describes this part of their child’s day. If you’ve seen the video, you know that there are video clips of all five children putting on their footwear as they prepare to go to their place of worship.
Students can raise their hands to share their responses, or they can write them out on whiteboards or using a web-based tool such as Pear Deck!
Wrap it up
As a culminating activity, you could have each of your students identify which of the students they think they are most similar to or feel the most connected to. Depending on your students’ proficiency level, you might have them do this task in Spanish or you might have them complete it as a simple Exit Ticket in English.
Don’t tack a summative assessment onto this lesson unless you absolutely have to!
Get the Five ClipChat materials
The ClipChat materials are available in our Subscriber Library, and they are in Spanish. You are welcome to translate them into other languages for your own use, and to share your adaptations back with us to add to the library for other teachers to access. You can find the Spanish resources in the MovieTalk/ClipChat folder in the library.