Students love to connect their learning to what they see around them. I am in the fortunate position of being the conversation teacher, which of course lets me float and drift around the curriculum, picking out the most interesting and exciting parts of English to further discuss.
I have discovered that there are lots of ways of keeping my teaching fresh and exciting. I am now using film resources in a lot of my different lessons. For the older students – Year 5 to Year 8, I like to use http://film-english.com/ . This is a wonderful teaching resource for older students, as it involves lots of discussion, talking and a movie. Each lesson is built around a single short movie. The topic varies from week to week, depending on the website owner’s whims. However, the topics are also current and up to date and look at the influence of advertising and topics such as racial discrimination, jobs and clothes. As it is all on a single website, the students are free to go home and review the lessons again with their parents, to get the most out of each lesson.
How do I use movies with the younger students? The first feature of my lesson is lots of art, built around different famous cartoon characters. For example, last week I focused on different foods we like to eat and then the students were taught how to draw Pizza Steve, a character from cartoon network. The news of the lessons actually spread through the school and students stopped me in the corridor excitedly to ask if they too would be drawing Pizza Steve. If you want to try it, go to Kids Art Hub. Incidentally, while doing this particular lesson, students noticed the artist had also made a Grandpa Uncle picture – another Cartoon network character – and so I developed a lesson about family relationships and added this video to the end.
Another great place to find up to date cartoon characters is Muffalo Potato. This artist creates famous cartoon and film characters using only letters and numbers, adding an extra English feature into the lessons. These are also very popular as they are very short and so the students have more time to focus on adding details. These lessons also have the bonus of me being able to discuss different features of animals and repeat key teaching vocabulary, all while they are having fun.
Another great teaching resource I dip into from time to time is the http://nationalschoolspartnership.com/resources.html website. This has a list of different films which have professionally been converted into teaching resources. These naturally advertise the movie, but they also provide a teacher with lots of resources, teaching plans and PowerPoints for the teacher to use directly in the classroom. I have used this to make month long teaching schemes with classes. It is a quick and simple way of adding film and English lessons into any classroom.
The final teaching resource any teacher should look at is this amazing 930 Film worksheets for ESL students which pretty much covers any film you might have in your DVD collection, or the DVD collections of your students. It makes watching a video in class, or just the trailer in some cases into a full blown teaching experience. It makes learning a lot of fun and the students to remember the facts they have learnt in the lessons each time they subsequently watch the movie.
Here is a great blog for 10 more great ways of using movies within the ESL classroom.