I was talking to someone today and they commented among other things that I should spend more time writing on my own blog than elsewhere! I'm still not sure about that and like flittering around the bloggersphere but I'm going to add a few more entries here in the coming weeks.
So instead of posting a comment to Larry Ferlazzo's blog, I'll cross post here. Larry's call was for comments about using movies in the EFL ./ ESL classroom.
I have a lot to say. Movies are such great things and see the attached essay about using video/movies in the classroom. We all like a movie! But they have to be handled with care. After 5-10 min, learning significantly drops off and movies should be broken up into scenes with plenty of activities and student speaking to support.
On our main page discussion forum, I've uploaded some great examples for use with the movie BIG. A hit with all ages of learners. Here are some others I'd recommend and that were missed in the above post.
A classic is "The Princess' Bride". Funny and breaks into scenes well. Great for retelling or student's rewriting the story. There are quite a few resources floating around the web to support this movie. Just google it.
Mr. Bean. -- a classic and very thematic. Great when studying one particular aspect of English. Larry mentions using video by having students in pairs and one describing the action to another student who has their back to the screen. This works great with intermediate levels and above! I also get students to act like Mr. Bean afterwards and have others describe the student actor (choose someone very "dramatic" to be Mr. Bean. ). I've even done this lesson focusing on the use of "has been" -- I called the lesson, Mr. Had Been. I don't know how many student's got the pun.
Neighbours. The NFB (National Film board of Canada) has produced some amazing video for use in the class. Neighbours is the best but George and Rosemary and The Big Snit are awesome. Special Delivery also is great for teaching past possibility, a tough one for students. See their animation site for the best of the best. I used to have a VHS tape called Discuss It with these videos for the classroom and they worked wonders!!! (this was BYT - before Youtube!). But Neighbours beats them all and is about peace and understanding -- but be careful it is very "strong" in content and only use it if you have a close relationship with your students. Norman McClaren is a genius. Go here for these "shorts" and you will be amazed at the stories. They make me proud to be a Canadian!
I'll mention here a few recent documentaries of note to teachers.
1. Vote for ME! -- a great doc about a grade 3 class in China. Follow along their experiment in democracy as one class votes and holds a campaign for classroom monitor. Hilarious and engaging....so real and a microcosm of the real world.
2. Children full of Life -- A grade 4 classroom in Japan documented for one year. Amazing and heartwrenching.....
3. Red Hot Ballroom -- high school students compete in a N.Y. City dance competition. Award winning and you'll be captivated!
I'll leave you with this scene from a famous movie, Stripes. Before joining the army the protaganists try their hand at teaching ESL . Here's how they do!