Silent Films & Creative Images Provide Great Speaking & Writing Opportunities

Silent Films:

Yesterday, my students watched a clip of “Mafalda”- a popular cartoon from Argentina.

Not only was the video completely appropriate to their unit of study but it was also funny & interesting. I found the video thanks to Pinterest. Recently joining this website has given me a wide array of access to different images, websites & video clips other Spanish educators are using.

First, I broke the movie into four segments, by creating a graphic organizer for the students to use. The scenes were as follows: Mafalda y la ola, El castillo de arena, Tomando el sol & Las estrellas.

After each scene, I paused the video for the students to jot down their ideas/sentences about what is taking place. Many students were very literal in their descriptions while others exercised more creativity in their responses. Then, students shared their ideas with their table partner. Once we had gone through all four scenes, students had the chance to collaborate as a class, to create a descriptive story about Mafalda and her day at the beach.

I’ve used this strategy before but I feel that setting up the organization of scenes ahead of time and providing titles, helped structure the activity for the students instead of just saying “describe what you see”.

It would have also been helpful to ask some guiding questions about what took place in each scene, again with the purpose of assisting students with their independent writing & then collaborative writing opportunities.

Creative Images:

Today, I took the same idea of describing images but used two different images that are anything but normal. Again, I provided brainstorming time for the students and I also provided input on new vocabulary words such as: morsa, princesa, pinguino, etc. We first discussed (in Spanish) how the images were different and which image they preferred. They also received a photocopy of the pictures (this was black & white- the color images seem so much better!). Then, I provided a graphic organizer to display to students, with the headings of: Quien, Que and Donde. Then, we continued to brainstorm a long list of words needed. I had some of my own words on the board and students asked for a few more. Then, to help students communicate their ideas, I left the lists that we created up on the board and had students speak with their table partner about their favorite image. The descriptions were interesting and creative as I went around the room to listen and some of the students were able to make each other laugh with what they were pointing out in the image of their choice. With the time left (this activity took 15 minutes- it could have been extended in many different directions), students volunteered to present their descriptions/stories to the class. While one students spoke, another circled the individual(s) he or she was referring to on the ActiveBoard while students at their seats pointed with their fingers.

Overall, the past two days of in class activities (I hope) proved to be enjoyable and valuable to students. They were able to create language using videos and images. They were also able to uniquely describe their opinions and thoughts about what was taking place. When considering second language acquisition, a comfortable, non threatening environment is key. Also, by helping to facilitate activities with purpose, meaning and also, provide some humor- make for an overall pleasant experience. I hope others will consider how silent films & creative images can spice up their own lessons. 🙂 

La piscina

La piscina

La montaña

La montaña

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One thought on “Silent Films & Creative Images Provide Great Speaking & Writing Opportunities

  1. Thank you for sharing the Mafalda clips. I feel like I just found the most amazing gem. I teach using CI, but I don’t think it is easy to find quality materials. These are short clips than can be described with basic vocabulary.
    Busy images are a great source of topics for conversation. Google Busy Scenes. They are usually very humorous.

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