This is a lesson template that works with any age, level or video clip – as long as the clip doesn’t have any dialogue. Short animated videos or clips are best, and there are plenty out there. My personal favourites, especially for young learners, are Shaun the Sheep or Tom & Jerry as these not only have a musical soundtrack that reflects the action going on, but also a large range of sound effects to give clues to the action.
(1) Learners listen to the audio of the clip (or if it is a long clip, maybe the first minute or two) without seeing the visuals. In pairs, they then predict what they think is happening. Nominate some of the learners to describe their predictions.
(2) Learners watch the clip. Do feedback on their predictions.
(3) Divide the class into two groups. Group A has to write down all of the characters and objects they can remember. Group B has to write down all of the actions they can remember. Monitor and provide input and assistance as necessary.
(4) Watch the clip again so the groups can check their lists for accuracy and add any additional items they need to.
(5) Pair the learners with one from group A and one from group B and ask them to write a synopsis of the clip. At this stage, I also highlight a number of tenses I expect the learners to use (for example narrative tenses). Or if I am doing this as part of a revision & review lesson, some of the recent language points that we have worked on, and I ask the learners to make sure that at least one example of each is included in their summary. Monitor and provide input and assistance as necessary.
(6) Feedback and error correction.
(7) An optional extension is for the learners to write some dialogue for part or all of the clip and to perform it with the clip running in the background. Though this can get a bit unwieldy if you have a large class!
Kieran Donaghy, the man behind Film English, has just posted “The Seven Best Short Films for ELT Students“. I’ve seen two of them that I think would work with this template – The Present and Soar – I haven’t seen all the others, so I couldn’t say. But if you’d like to use something a bit more meaningful and thoughtful than Tom & Jerry, then these will almost certainly be worth a look.