What’s Showing?Maryam Malki
As a language teacher I want to create memorable experiences to help my students learn. I believe if they like it, they will remember it. If they remember it, they might hopefully implement what they have learned. What better way to do so than movies. I was drawn to movies because students love watching them. I also have long teaching hours with them and sometimes we both need a break from each other.
Therefore, I used movies to create writing assignments that would engage students and help them develop key skills required by the common standards, such as understanding main ideas or giving reasons and using evidence to support their ideas.
What I did in class was very simple. I gave them clear guidelines on what they needed to do before they watched the movie. These are the steps I followed:
1. Selected a good movie.
2. Identified the writing that I wanted from the movie. In my case, it was an “advantage disadvantage essay”.
3. Gave them a clear question “What are the advantages and disadvantages of this movie on young children. Use reasons and examples from the movie to support your ideas.”
4. Gave them a sheet of paper for guided note-taking.
Using this method, I have seen my students become excited about writing. The best thing about it was the fact that they realized the difference between reasons and examples. The activity also helped students focus more on the structure of their essay rather than the content. Writing about movies also gave them a much-needed opportunity to develop their own voice through class discussion and writing.