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ELT-cation is turning 3 years old this month.

And that takes the cake.

Or a new post.

Last year I posted a few games to celebrate the occasion (see Play & Learn Games); this year I’ve decided to throw a “movie night” party and share my favourite wordless videos.

These films are:

  • short (about 2-4 minutes)
    • highly engaging, and
      • appropriate for learners of all levels.

Such films can be used to warm up the class before your lesson begins, during the lesson – you may tie them into your lesson topic or use them to give your students a break – or at the end of class to assign a “mission” to your students (read more in READY FOR A ONE-MINUTE MISSION?).

One film that is sure to break the ice and make your students give their eye teeth for yet another lesson with you is

Teeth by John Kennedy & Ruairí O’Brien

The most valuable feature of stories based on wordless videos is that they can be told any number of ways according to your learners’ interpretation of the story and their level of proficiency in English, taking the form of a dialogue, narration, comic speech/thought bubbles, as a story told by a particular character, in writing, etc. In a way, you will hardly ever feel trapped in a time loop, going through the same story with the same expressions again and again.

Trapped – A film by Joe J. Walker.

The film is ideal for problem-solving sessions. Stop the video at 0:37 and invite students to come up with ideas on what they’d do to escape the trap.

Everything will be okay in the end.

Unless they fall into a black hole.

The Black Hole – A film by Future Shorts.

Storytelling has never been more fun. Get learners to retell the story as a police officer writing up a report.

Money doesn’t buy happiness.

But it can buy Googly eyes, foil paper, Rubik’s cube, pick-up sticks, money, dice, post-it notes and rubber bands to make

Western Spaghetti by PESfilm

This film never fails with teenage classes. Similarly to the Chocolate Roulade, you can build a good videogloss activity based on it (see  VIDEOGLOSS: CHOCOLATE ROULADE).

Slightly absurd, but nobody will stay silent in the classroom.

Silent Film – The Man and the Thief. 

Stop the film at 3:55 and ask students to tell the story as the girl from the film. Ask students to predict what may happen in the rest of the film (ask them to think of a “happy” ending for the story and a “sad” ending). Compare their stories. Show the ending of the film.

And the last (nearly) wordless film for tonight shows the most powerful force available to us.

The Power of Words.

Pause the film and ask students to guess what the woman wrote. Get them to write a “flashback” scene for this film that tells us more about the man and his life.

Happy teaching!

* * *

Looking for more videos and ideas?

Check this oddly unsatisfying video lesson plan and other great lesson plans and activities designed by All.at.C.

10 absurd wordless videos that teach describing from Speech is Beautiful

tons of videos and exercises by iSLCOLLECTIVE

and the Short Film in Language Teaching e-course developed by the British Film Institute (starts tomorrow!)


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