Movie Talk

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imagesMichele has been blogging about Movie Talk for quite a few months now, and she introduced it to our First Fridays group in November with a brief demo using a Cheburashka cartoon. I won’t write about the background of the method, but there is quite a bit on Michele’s blog, and here is an article by the method’s founder, Ashley Hastings. Hastings is a good friend of Stephen Krashen, and our First Fridays group will be Skyping with him tonight–yippee!! :)

The basic gist of Movie Talk is that you are describing and circling a movie as you watch it. Ideally, you would have the volume way down or off so that you can describe what the characters say (if there is dialogue in the movie). You pause the movie frequently–every few seconds–to describe what is happening, circle important structures, check for comprehension, etc. The technique is great because A LOT of vocabulary is ‘in bounds’ since you can point to pictures of the vocab. It’s also fun because students want to know what happens next in the movie.

I gave Movie Talk a try for the first time on Monday. It was slightly modified, because I used it with a movie that my kids had already seen–Alma. The kids had taken the Alma midterm right before break, and we reviewed the exam on their first day back by using the Movie Talk technique. It was super successful! They picked up on a lot of vocabulary with which they were unfamiliar or uncomfortable on the exam, and I was able to correct and clarify some expressions that they had tried unsuccessfully to use or interpret. Alma is a five minute movie, and by the end of it the kids were getting antsy. I think that is about as long as you would want to go with your clip, or perhaps this was a bit more limited than usual because the kids had already seen it. I’ll need to do some more experimenting before I can really answer that question.

I’m excited to Skype with Dr. Hastings tonight to learn more about this intriguing method! Will report back to you soon on what I learn :)

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6 thoughts on “Movie Talk

  1. Have you tried Blabberize.com? In my AP class, we read Chac Mool and add a voice to a picture of Chac Mool, giving the still picture a voice. Seems right your your alley. We are doing this on Monday if you want me to send you a copy.

    That said, I used to do what you mentioned with some crazy Telenovela clips when I first started teaching. I would be interested in seeing and knowing more about this, as I am not sure my method was as engaging as it could have been.

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    • Did you have each of your students do their own ‘voiceover’ (or whatever you want to call it), or did you create one as a class? Movie Talk seems really promising to me, from what I’ve heard second-hand via Michele. Until now, it has been used in ESL classrooms exclusively. I’ll hopefully be posting more about my experience with it in the coming months :)

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  4. Is there a demo I could watch of Movie Talk? The only thing I’ve ever done with movies is use subtitles (either way) and have them write five “colloquial” phrases each time we watch. I check them for accuracy and then on some tests, let them write up to five (or however many you choose) for extra credit. They learn a lot of fun phrases, “slang” phrases that way!
    (Disney movies, usually)

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