My teens really enjoy videos, and because of that I try to add them to lessons as many times as possible to engage and visually stimulate their imagination.
I was looking for these elements to be added to this week classes with my 9th graders. I was also looking forward to get some ideas that were fun, relaxing and yet, meaningful in learning. I’ve been so exhausted in the last couple of months working in and out of class with them through Facebook and Moodle, little time has been left for me to design my own tasks which I love doing.
They have been working on a project outside class in pairs/groups that has been pretty demanding for them as they are learning to collaborate, to listen to their peers and discuss their ideas with each other through the year, among other things. So I wanted to end our school year (before our finals) with something that was not grammar (a word they hate) related.
In Film-English website, I found a wonderful video lesson – Alphabet Lessons, which met my objectives for this week lesson. I used 2 suggested videos and 2 activities. The groups reaction to the first video was interesting. They seemed puzzled and curious by the video although it was obvious that the video was about the alphabet. I just played for them to watch & enjoy the visual effect and music. One of my students from Wed’s group plays the violin, so you can imagine how much he enjoyed it.
I had prepared colored cards for them to write on and only handed them out after they watched the second video. I told them to work individually and write down as many words that appeared as they could remember from the video. And meanwhile, I drew a table with their names on the board. When they finished, I asked them to count them up and added to the table on the board next to each name. I reminded them to continue working individually and I don’t need to mention the word game (which was not, but as they are competitive for them sounded as). The results in every group were an opportunity to briefly discuss why some of them did better eventhough they didn’t know what they were going to do after. The first video sort of tricked them, I guess. As we spend some classes in the previous lessons working on storytelling, visual clues, developing observational skills, I was interested in finding out if those lessons actually helped them raise their visual awareness of things around them.
After discussing it briefly, I told them we were going to watch it again and they would have the opportunity to add more words to their list. They watched, we counted and them registered on the board. All of them got at least 10 more words and some got them all. After that, I asked them in pairs to briefly discuss how they did it and what they thought of their results. Then, they wrote their names on the colored cards ( I choose 2 colors because later they will be grouped into A and B) and pass it to the person next to him/her for spelling correction. Here things get a bit game-like as they suspected. I played the 2nd video again, pausing at the words, eliciting them to pronounce and check the spelling. The rules for counting the points were:
If they found a word that wasn’t in the video, they had to cross it out.
If the word was right, but spelling incorrect, they would give 1 point.
If the word was right and the spelling correct, 2 points.
They loved this part for sure, but in one of my groups, competitive tasks leads to fight. No much improvement with them on that area I’m afraid.
Time didn’t allow me to go further and they would get bored to do anything else with the same video for the day, but if I had more weeks of class, I would have asked them to write on their notebooks those words and create sentences, draw pictures, or even a text with some of the words.
Follow up activities
I decided to use two activites suggested in Kieran’s Alphabet lesson, but couldn’ use both of them with the same group. Both activities worked very well with my students.
A big thanks to Kieran Donoghy for the wonderful video lessons ideas.