How does everyone incorporate films into their lessons? Is there a lot of time lost and does this limit the amount of movies you can show? In Foreign Language classes, it is a great opportunity to see and hear the target culture in use.

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I teach German and occasionally show films from Germany. One of the things that works for me is to have a list of discussion questions ready. I stop the film after every 20 minutes or so and ask questions about the content of the film and also what they think of individual characters and/or what they think the character will do in the situation. I rarely let a film run all the way through without stopping and discussing it along the way. For me, showing films is not a waste of time. I use them to support our standards and to have my students hear native speakers in context.
I teach creative writing and before our poetry unit, I showed a scene from Dreams by Akira Kurosawa. The students had studied magical realism in literature, and the scene I showed them incorporated art by Van Gogh and music by Chopin. This set the stage to discuss, "What is poetry?" There were no words, nothing to read, it was all in a foreign language, and none of them had ever seen the movie. I was hoping to have the images and music appeal to the students creative sensibilities and reach them visually, and allow them to see "poetry" in a new way, as something that is all around them. We had a great discussion, and many of the students were intrigued by all of the genres.
I use movies, or at least clips of them, in my classroom almost all the time. Movies, contrary to being a waste of time, are incredibly efficient. I've found a good 5 minute clip can tell the same story a textbook chapter can in far less time and with far more interest.

As far as full movies go what Julie said is spot on. If you stop the movie every 15-20 minutes to discuss it you'll see a much greater response. So many of our kids aren't taught how to watch movies and just like teaching them to read they need our help.

Two writing activities for the movie Norma Rae;


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Norma Rae Soundtrack Activity

I posted an article on my blog about what I consider to be the "right" way to show movies in class.  Generally, I think it's better to show clips and talk about them rather than watching an entire film.



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