MovieTalk tweaks

When I teach teachers, I assume that no one knows any Russian, and I start at the very beginning, even when there are some who have been in my audiences before. 

When I teach parents, I do the same thing. 

Today, I realized that I often leave off the step of reviewing vocabulary structures with students before I launch into a MovieTalk session. That review is not really part of MT, but I like the kids to know what structures I’m hoping they will hear a lot. As a result, I did my full-gesture-review of critical vocabulary before going to the Embedded Reading that was going to lead to a MovieTalk session (and then of course the Internet didn’t work suddenly, and I couldn’t use the ER that I’d planned, but that’s another story, and one that I should have expected). The kids pre-told the story to me! I couldn’t believe it. Turned out they’d heard about it from another group, and were all wired to watch. That made it even more fun. They were so alive during the viewing that they were almost MovieTalking for me. 

Lesson learned. Maybe not acquired. 

I’m really enjoying combining Embedded Readings with MovieTalk in such a way that each reading piece opens up the story a little more as we work our way through the film. The kids seem to be very engaged, since I’ve given them a basic plot line, then a little more, and when they watch, they aren’t as bothered by my going slowly through it because they know at least part of what’s going to happen. 


8 responses to “MovieTalk tweaks

  1. I’m fascinated by the possibilities of both MT and ER. I wonder if you could give a few more details about how you do this. Do the kids read through the ER first (kind of like a script or narrative of the movie clip) and then you do the movie talk piece? I’d love to hear more.


    • I’m doing some of the things that Natalia (the genius) mentions below. I’m trying to keep in mind that MovieTalk is for listening, and I do want the kids to have a big chunk of that at once. In my case, that might mean most of a short cartoon, or half of a longer one.

      I’ve tried it all ways now: doing a parallel story beforehand with the structures that we’ll be seeing a lot, then starting the ER with some of the kids’ ideas written in if possible, then viewing the video, backing out into a longer ER.

      This morning, without even having read what Natalia wrote, I used a page full of screen shots to talk about what the kids had read and seen. I was trying to get them to contribute as many ideas as possible about each picture: both the description and what was going at that point in the cartoon. I’m always amazed by how much they can contribute when we do it that way.

      We did a series of three ER’s leading up to the video. Yesterday I added a few things on top of that final version, and now that we’ve talked through the screen shots, we’re going to have a lab day next week. I set up a power point with each picture on a new slide. They’re going to get to re-read the long version of the ER and cut and paste sentences that they think go with those pictures into the powerpoint, then show their powerpoints to a group. That way, they’ll have re-read everything and will continue to read the little bits that each group member attaches to the slides.

      I hope that makes sense. I’m not sure I am answering your question…

      I am definitely using the film, in MovieTalk method, as an activity between Embedded Readings. It’s hard to say which is the chicken and which is the egg.


  2. Any time I do MT, it’s always followed by a bunch of reading activities. I usually make screenshots of the important scenes 9-12 max and create a simple storyboard. Then we do any of the following reading activities:
    – match a sentence to a picture
    – fix factual errors in a basic level reading (should be clear from pictures)
    – separate long reading into paragraphs corresponding to the pictures
    – find the most important sentences for the story (limit number)
    – list of “I” statements from the point of view of the characters – who could have said it
    – broken sentences – In level 1 or 2 reading, leave first part of sentences intact and in order, put the second halves out of order. Students need to restore the story by finding the right ending for each sentence.
    Most of these are intended for any level of students. I never do all, but a min of 3 different types. Then you can follow up with a comprehension quiz on both listening and reading.


  3. I download the videos from youtube with “YTD video download”. After I downloaded the video I click on convert (also in YTD,you can see a link to it) and choose the video I just downloaded. THan after converting it, I open powerpoint. add video, select video that is converted, make as big as you like. and there you go, video on the computer, no internet needed and a powerpoint to start the presentation. 🙂


    • Love it! I’ve been downloading, but this looks like a better method. You could probably also add in some structures that you want to keep hitting underneath. Thank you, Anouk!!


    • Anouk, I have a question: when you do this, can you stop and start the video? Are you using a Mac? I am trying to do it, but the Power Point goes out of the slide show every time I stop to talk.


      • Use Keynote. It embeds the video into your Keynote and you can transport the Keynote without having to have the video file on your computer be mailed to new destination, etc. you can start/stop the video as well while playing.


      • Thank you! I will try that out.


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