Using video, audio and art in Denver English classes

Wow! It has been so fun discovering ways to use audio and video in my classes. If you think about how we learned our language, you have to confess it wasn’t from studying grammar. Instead it was just hours and hours of input in the form of direct experience with people. Video and audio are rich forms of input. Having classrooms with a computer and internet make using Youtube and other sites and easy way to enrich the learning experiences easily.

Classrooms often focus on written materials and consider audio and video as somehow lesser. But why?

In the past few weeks we:

– Did a ‘Friends’ TV episode using an episode free on hulu, with a script found free at friendscafe. Each student played a character and we rehearsed it all week. It was hard to speak that fast, but with practice, they did it and we had fun! If you think this is easy, try it yourself:

– Friends TV Show: The One with all the Resolutions: video transcript

– Even ‘kids’ books have a lot of difficult vocabulary. In our reading class, we often use audio books as a partner to books: Harry Potter, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Walk Two Moons are examples. ReadAloud.com has free samples and some free audiobooks that can help students get a flavor of a book they are reading.

– We also did diaries with drawings, as the Diary of a Wimpy Kid does, to help the writing inspire the drawings, and vice versa. Listening to music, coloring and writing in diaries was a magical class! Diaries can get stuck in a rut: yesterday, i got up at xxx …..yawn, boring! Drawing helps launch it out of that pattern somehow.

– Watching a movie trailer is another helpful way we used to ease understanding for a challenging book like Harry Potter.

– Teaching a Grammar class? Search the internet for ‘good songs for teaching past tense’ …or whatever grammar point you’re teaching. Favorites include:

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better (1950 Annie Get Your Gun)

What Did You Do Yesterday – Cartoon video

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