Monday, January 18, 2016

Using a Cute Short Film to Help Teach Body Language

I love shorts (short films, that is)!  And, I found one I can use posted originally by another blogger.  The other blogger has an awesome website "Film English" and actually provides lesson plans for using short films to teach English to non-English speakers. His focus is different than mine, but many of the films he highlights can be used for a variety of purposes.

 The film he highlighted recently involved an animated short---boy meets girl, both are taking photos, and they go off together.  There is no dialogue---the whole scene is conveyed through body language, actions, eye gaze, and facial expressions.  The animation art work was amazing, and he captured subtle gestures, eye gaze direction, and facial expressions.  Kids sometimes attend to this style of film better than real life (as in Thomas videos!).  I would probably use this with older elementary, and middle school students.

There are lots ways to go with this.  Here are just a few ideas.

1. Have your students act out the scenes without words.  Can they catch the subtle gestures for things like "Wait a minute", or "Copy me"?

Wait a minute!
2. Have your students tell you what each character is thinking in different scenes based on eye gaze. You can stop the video at different spots for this.
What are they thinking about?
3. Have the students retell the story with words.  A graphic organizer or cue cards for characters, setting, first event, problem, and solution might help.

4. Since nothing is actually said in this film, it's great for inferences.   Questions can be simple like "What time of year is this?"  "Where do you think this story takes place?"  "What do you think went wrong with the camera?" "How do you think the girl got to the other side of the canal?" but since there is no text or dialogue, the kids have to figure out the answers from the video.  With older kids, it might be a great way to actually teach them what the word 'inference' means.

Have fun with this!


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