How to use story movies at preschool

extract from song movie from Teaching English Songs 1 by Shelley Ann Vernon

There are times when a short video is just what you need !

Oh oh!  You have run out of ideas and there are still five minutes of lesson (I don’t know about you, but I find that pretty embarrassing).  Moment of panic over!  Put on this video.  Play it through once, and then use any of the ideas below to make it a more active teaching tool.

Or…the children are getting over-excited and you are losing their attention.  Put on this video – it will calm them down and give you a few moments to get yourself together for the next activity.

Play this movie below often and your pupils will soon know the language and vocabulary by heart. It’s on Vimeo, so if you are in China, you’ll be banned – sorry!

Oh oh!  You have run out of ideas and there are still five minutes of lesson (I don’t know about you, but I find that pretty embarrassing).  Moment of panic over!  Put on this video.  Play it through once.  Then use any of the ideas below to make it a more active teaching tool.
The children are getting over-excited and you are losing their attention.  Put on this video – it will calm them down and give you a few moments to get yourself together for the next activity.

No-prep ideas to teach words in this video

– Play the video once through with no pauses.

– With the class, prepare a gesture, action or facial expression for key words in the story.  The 10 keywords and phrases are listed below with suggestions for actions.  The teacher says the keyword while doing the action.  The class copy.  Do the first three words several times over. Next the teacher says the word without the action so the class have to remember it without copying the teacher.  Once the first three words are known run through the story with the children doing the actions at the appropriate time.  With preschool children 3 to 4 actions will be enough at first.  With primary children after the run-through with 3 actions teach 3 more actions and run through the video again doing the 6 actions.  Add more actions in when you show the story again for revision in a different lesson.

– I’m tired: yawn with your hand politely held in front of your mouth.  The teacher demonstrates several times repeating “I’m tired” while encouraging the class to join in.  At this stage the children are hearing the words and understanding the meaning, which is enough as a first step.

– Sleep: Hands together in prayer position, head tilted to one side resting on the hands, eyes closed.

– I’m not tired: Anything lively such as waking up suddenly, eyes wide open and looking up while smiling.

– Song: Preschool: Sing a few notes to “la la la”.  Primary school: take an object such as a pen, hold it to your lips and mime singing into a microphone.

– Music: Mime playing the violin (the elbow holding the box should be higher than in the picture).  Primary school: suggest children mime playing an instrument of their choice.  Preschool: It’s easier for the children to mime the same instrument together so they can copy each other and the teacher.

– Teddy (or teddy bear): Mime hugging a teddy bear into your chest.

– Milk: Mime drinking a glass of milk.

– Kiss: Make kissing noises as in the video or kiss your finger tips and blow it to the class

– Shhhhh: Index finger on lips.

– After doing the above activity for a maximum of ten minutes – there is no need to flog it to death since you may come back to it in a future lesson, revision being essential for efficient learning – show the video again pausing it before a scene change and asking “What’s next?”  Is it a story?  Is it a glass of milk?  Hands up who thinks it a story.  Thank you.  Hands up who thinks it’s music.  Then show the scene.  The children who guessed or remembered correctly to a victory dance, high-five, take a bow while the others clap, or idea of your choosing.

– For children with a little more English stop the video and ask random surprise questions such as: “What colour is the violin”? (BEFORE showing the picture), “How many buttons are on the teddy bear’s shirt/pyjamas?”  “Are they in the bathroom?  No?  Which room are they in?”  “What colour are my eyes?” Point at your eyes, show the children, they answer “blue, green brown”.  “What colour are mummy bear’s eyes?”

Prepare sound effects to go with the movie (singing, playing music, slurping milk, snoring, yawning).  Play the movie and have the whole class make loud sound effects at the right time.  Incidentally it’s extremely useful having children making sounds in class because it helps the shyer ones gain confidence to express themselves.  Sometimes a child is afraid to speak in class, making sounds is a stepping stone to that.  Plus these sounds are made in the safety of a crowd which can help children be bolder – encourage vigorous participation.  If the children become excited simply do “snoring” or “sleep”, which calm them down again.

– Bring up a pair of children to the front to demonstrate acting out a scene using flashcards of the vocabulary or props. Vocabulary flashcards are included with the lesson plans and games part of this story resource. Show the scene. The pair at the front act it, one is mummy bear and the other is the teddy.  The class act it with a neighbour.  There is always some inertia initially while the class understand the task and the first time you won’t be up for an oscar but it doesn’t matter.  This activity reinforces the meaning of the words and phrases, allows the children to hear them yet again and the movement keeps them attentive, participating so you won’t get those glazed looks!

Listening comprehension and speaking idea: First demonstrate this up front with one child so the activity is clear.  Children hide their head in their hands, eyes closed.  Play the movie and stop it randomly asking: “What is in the picture, music, a song, a kiss, milk?”  The children call out the answer without looking at the board.  Tell the children to look and see if they were right.  (Optional victory dance, clapping idea mentioned above).

– Listening: Pick a word that is used throughout the story, such as “let”.  Demonstrate to the children to clap on the word let. “Let me read you a story” (you clap on let). “Let me sing you a song” (clap on let).  Repeat this sentence form over and over and have the children join in with you with the clap.  Now play the movie with them clapping on “let”.  Half way through the teacher stops clapping so the children have to do it on their own.  Repeat with one or two more words or phrases such as “I’m not tired”.  Run through again clapping on “let” and on “I’m not tired”.  Primary: Have 4 words to clap on the second time through, and 6 the third time through.  As with all activities observation of the class will tell you whether to pursue an activity for longer, taking it to the next phase or whether to switch to something else.   Never flog a dead horse!  That’s why you need a multitude of short, easy, no-prep activities.

176 English Language Games for Children and Preschool Games

Blindfold a child (airline eyepads are excellent for the job).  Give the child a scarf or cloth – anything to touch the screen with since you do not want finger prints on your lovely screen and say: “Touch the glass of milk”.  Take the child’s hand and guide it to the milk.  Say “Yes!” when, the cloth is on the milk and have the class say “Yes!”  Take off the blindfold, show the child his or hand on the milk.  Blindfold the same child (for quickness) and repeat but say: “Touch the teddy bear”.

Guide the hand to the wrong part of the picture, far away so as to be clear and say “No!”  Have the class say “No!”  Go to a different part of the picture, towards the teddy bear saying “yes, yes, yes, yes” as the hand gets closer and “YES!” when the cloth touches the teddy bear. Swap over the child at the front, put on the blindfold and let him or her try to touch the teddy bear while you guide only verbally (no helping the child physically) with “no, no, no….yes, yes, YES!”  Repeat with a third child at the front and make sure the class do the guiding with “yes” and “no” since this means they are actively participating in the game and not just watching it.

Ideally the teacher ceases to do any form of guiding, it is the job of the class, and them alone to help their classmate reach the target. Primary age: Bring up two children, divide the class into two teams.  Give each child a different object to touch. Each child is guided by his or her team and tries to reach the target before the other one.  To avoid too much noise the “yes” and “no” must be whispered, any team member shouting immediately causes the whole team to be eliminated.  For primary school children optionally add in “left, right, up, down, stop.”

– Every time specific words are spoken in the movie the whole class stand up, clap and sit down again.  This keeps them listening attentively throughout while the movement keeps their concentration levels up

Now you have seen how much you can do with movies wouldn’t you love to have a library of them for your classroom?

Order: Make the most of this great price, only 2 euros per movie!

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