MovieTalk Magic w/ Carol Gaab iFLT 2016

What is MovieTalk?

***MOVIETALK is NOT A TEXTBOOK. It is a PROP to interact with students ***

NOT – narration and paraphrasing

YES- Focusing on high-frequency structures and ask questions to clarify what is happening, DISCUSSION

Why are you using a video in class?? 

To engage students with comprehensible input, to provide mental representations for the target structures, platform to interact with students, something to talk to them about in the target language

TIP #1 Don’t pick random videos, match your kids or your culture PLAN IT OUT

  • Can you understand the video without the dialogue? Don’t pick a video that you can’t know what is going to happen if you can’t understand the dialogue
  • Pick a video that is short and minimal dialogue/words – You have more freedom to pick the words you want.
  • We shouldn’t be doing the same kind of videos (keep it novel)
  • NOVICE- commercials, movie trailers, Mr. Bean, just for laughs/prank shows (Just for Laughs on Youtube)
  • INTERMEDIATE- extend the length as you go up in proficiency level: movie shorts, news reports, interview speech, dialogue driven plot

TIP #2 TAKE THE FOCUS OFF THE VIDEO- You are only going to get so much of the MovieTalk in the actual video so front load with pre-viewing activities (PQA and discussion)

BEFORE viewing:

  • Students make predictions on the image of the video- What is it? Where are they? Who are they? What are they doing? Why?
  • PQA of those predictions (voting on opinions)
    • Start with the image and branch out from there
    • When you hit a dead end then go back to the image and pick up something else
    • Get to your out-of-bounds vocabulary in this discussion and go ahead and post it on the wall
    • Get repetitions of core structures BEFORE so they are comfortable when you go through the video
  • ACTIVITY- Have screenshots and kids make predictions of the order. What is going on? Students talk to a partner about what is happening. Class discussion- Which one goes first? What do you see? Do you have that? Come up here. What do you have? Show us!(PQA) DON’T TELL THEM THEY ARE RIGHT or WRONG- Create your own class story
  • Prolong the introduction for a long time to get the repetitions


  • You can keep it super simple (1 sentence per scene)
  • Watch the video in chucks over several days


  • Create the reading with the class
  • Read a narrative of the video with your target structure of one scene
  • Then go back to the video to watch again then ask questions that have the answers in the reading
  • Cloze passage

POST VIEWING- DISCUSSION based on language proficiency

  • Compare and Contrast your predictions to the video
  • List the emotions (basic recall)
  • Do people treat you differently as a rookie (compare and contrast)
  • What is the figurative and literal meaning of “Oh man!” (compare and contrast)
  • Describe a time it happened to you (create)

POST VIEWING- WRITING (not novice learners)

  • modified cloze passage – instead of a word put in a phrase
  • Sequence Prompts. Start the sentence and they fill in the blanks.
  • Screenshots
  • Prompts to write about a simular situations you have had, and then SHARE

Have a kid that saw the video already?? Then their challenge is to convince the class that it is a different story.


  • Write out transcription and have students read it. (Circle, PQA, compare, act out)
  • Make your own predictions of the video based ONLY on the transcript in class then compare and contrast to the real video

**Carol tied this video to hostage situations around the world (PRE-VIEWING)

Narrow-listening hypothesis (Dr. Stephen Krashen)- video driven not just audio listening

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 3.42.24 PM.png
  • Listening along a similar NARROW topic with similar vocabulary
  • Listeners can listen as many times as they want

VIDEO FOR USELESS TRVIA (that uses your target structures)

  • Pre-viewing ACTIVITY – Reading on Cheetah (transcript of commercial) – How fast can a Cheetah run?
  • Reading ACTIVITY- Highlight words in transcript then have a word back of synonyms . They have to replace the highlighted word for the synonym.
  • Reading ACTIVITY- Give the brief main idea of each paragraph/section and then students match the paragraph with the brief description.


CONTENT-BASED / INFORMATIONAL VIDEOS – content videos (lots of dialogue)

  • LOWER levels-
    • mute and discuss
    • write out transcript and create narrative (SIMPLIFY)
    • unmute watch & listen as you read
    • listen repeatedly until you understand (put it in a station so they can independently as many as they want)

** STATIONS- reading the transcripts from previous videos, listening as much as they want

A-Z READING– site with fiction and NON-FICTION simplified readings

PRE-VIEWING- pre-load vocabulary so you don’t have to stop the video as much or at all

  • PQA with narrow vocabulary (Do you work out? Do you work out in the morning?)
  • Read some informational text first
  • Ask the questions about a screenshot
  • ACTIVITY- Possible or Probable- set of statements and partner then class discussion to decide if a statement is possible or probable
  • Tie the NARROW vocabulary to their context (baseball players want to know the word “lead”)
  • QUIZ- using a website like Kahoot/Photo Peach to create a quiz within the video


  • Students have access to the video to LISTEN as MUCH AS THEY WANT and fill out a “quiz” online quiz reporting (add in high-order thinking and/or new reading)
  • ACTIVITY- Find 3 imposters (simplified)- Write up a text of the video but replace the important words/concepts with false information and students have to find the wrong information.
  • NOVELTY- PLAYPOSIT – website that has the video and a quiz next to it. (FREE) Video won’t continue unless you answer the question.

***BEST ADVICE EVER- Don’t tell them it is a VIDEO!***

Once you play the video it’s THE END- Change it up and ask the questions first  (FRONT LOAD the discussion)


** All these videos were with Carol’s baseball players in mind. (Endurance, Speed, Hostage situations in their countries, Dealing with the disappointment when people are not excited to meet you when they realize you are not the All-Star)


  • Novice’s look at a small chunk of the speech that can be broken down to comprehensible containing target vocabulary
  • ACTIVITIES in stations- newspaper articles about racial discrimanation, readings on important people, listening to videos about other famous people who dealt with discrimanation (Felipe Alou, Jackie Robinson etc.)


If you found errors in these notes then feel free to email/message me. It was typed during the session and quickly. 🙂






One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s