Using silent short films to improve language skills

Do your students like to watch videos? Of course, they do!  Are you looking for creative ways to practice conversation and writing? Of course, you are!

Silent short films can be used in any language class at any level. They can be used to develop vocabulary and enhance conversation and writing practice. “Magic,” by KARTHIK & VIGNESH is one such film.

Here are some possible activities to go along with ¨Magic” for your English language learners.

Beginning Levels:  Ask your students, orally or in writing, present and present continuous tense questions: Who is in the story? Where are they? Describe the boy and the girl. What are they wearing? What is the weather like? At the beginning of the film, what is the little girl looking at? What is the cook making? What does he do with the first one he makes? What gesture does the cook give the girl? What does that mean? What is the boy looking at? What does he take from his pocket? What does he buy? Why does the little girl refuse the bread? What does the boy do with the stick? What happens next? How does the little girl feel at the beginning of the movie? at the end? What is magic? Do you believe in magic?

Intermediate Levels: *Use past tense verbs for the above beginning level questions. *Give the answers and ask the students to give the questions that elicit those responses (in the present and or past tenses). *Stop the video frequently and ask the students to add dialog to the characters’ parts. *Ask the students to continue the story. In the last scene, the two children are walking away from us hand in hand. Where are they going? What are they going to do? Will they go to a house where they live with their family, or will they live on the streets?  Will they go to school, or will they go to a job? Etc.

Advanced Levels: *Tell us the story presented in the film. *Are there hungry people in the United States? Is there hunger in your homeland? Is there help for hungry people in this country? in your homeland? What kind of help is there? What is poverty? Is it possible to eliminate poverty? How would you eliminate poverty? What does it mean to be poor? Can a person be poor and rich at the same time? How? What do you think are the ten richest countries in the world? the ten poorest? Check your answers. What resources are available to find these answers? Of your choices, what resource is the most up-to-date and trustworthy? Why? According to your chosen resource, what is the average per capita income in the richest country? in the poorest? What is the unemployment rate in those countries? What is the average amount of years of education per capita? What is the infant mortality rate? What is the average life span? Teachers should consider having the students graph their results. (What computer programs are available for students to use? Numbers? Excel? Sheets? Other?)  *UNICEF is an acronym. What does it stand for? What are some other common acronyms? *The teacher can stop the video frequently and ask the students to use reported speech and tell what the characters are thinking. This can be done in a variety of tenses.

What are some other ways we can use this video to enhance language teaching and learning? Share your thoughts!

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