Thursday, July 5, 2007

Teaching ideas for movies

By Margaret Orleans

[In reply to a teacher who is planning to use movie, The Sound of Music, with her students.]

I haven't taught the movie to students that age, but I would suggest that rather than having students try to re-enact scenes they've just watched, it might be better to stop at key points and have them act out what they think is coming later in the movie (if they really don't know the story already).

To identify such points, you can look over the script, which I'm sure is available at, though I haven't actually looked for it. At any rate, I've always found scripts there for the movies I teach (though it's best to find the actual script rather than the screenplay, since there are sometimes differences as big as whole scenes between the two versions--probably more of an issue for more recent films than for a classic like The Sound of Music).

Something else I do before teaching a movie is to run the script through a concordancer to see what words show up time after time and which words appear frequently enough and are likely to be unknown to students that they should be pre-taught, or focused on when the appear for the first time.

Since there are songs, it might also be useful to give them partial lyrics and ask them to predict what fits in the gaps (a good way to get them to understand the concept of rhyme, for example), and then check their guesses against the film. Get them to put together an additional verse of "favorite things." Get them to exhibit fear through body language, get them to make a list of things people are afraid of--or better yet pantomime items in such a list for the rest of the class to guess.

Taking a leaf from "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" have them create scenes for the characters when they are off the screen. What does Maria tell the nuns when she returns to the abbey? What does vonTrapp do and say before he returns to his home to find his children out of their uniforms.

Use Dick's suggestion from the other day and have them translate a scene into another genre.

1 comment:

EFL Geek said...

Would you be able to share the concordancer you use. I'm about to teach a movie on Monday and would like to use your suggestion.

Anyhow, I'm really smoking busy at this time and if you could send me an email that would be great.

eslteacher at gmail dot com