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Friday, January 28, 2011

Spanish Apartment- Movie Activity - Cultural Differences

Miscigenação / Miscegenation

In my experience it is hard to overestimate the importance of building a sense of community in our languge groups. Warming students and ourselves up for a language lesson enhances learning because it gives the individuals in class some time to interact and connect. Teachers and students alike need to tune in into both the target language and being in their groups, accepting differences and respecting opinions. I usually feel like I have to devote time to designing and gathering interesting activities to help the magic happen, but I have to confess that it's easy to fail. An activity might sound great in paper, but prove to be not so effective or interactive. This semester I'm planning to use a movie scene. As I was watching the movie The Spanish Apartment, I noticed that there's a scene in which the characters are trying to get to know a prospective roomate when they realize that the questions they have on their list are a little, let's say... odd. I thought about two activities to explore this funny scene in class.

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Questions to Ourselves
Level Lower intermediate to advanced
Materials Sheets of paper, DVD or VCR, board

1 - Tell your students they will watch a segment from a movie called Spanish Apartment. Introduce the scene, purpose, characters, and other relevant information to activate learners' prior knowledge.
Tell class that a group of students from different countries is trying to get to know a prospective roomate. Ask: What kind of questions will they ask?
2 - Play the scene and ask students if any of the questions they thought of were asked. Ask students to describe the scene.
3- Ask students to think about a sport, hobby or outside interest they have and write twenty questions adressed to themselves. Write the questions on the board and vote for the best ones.
4- You could either have Meaningful Chairs or simply have pairs asking and answering the questions.

Tell Me About
Level Lower intermediate to advanced
Materials Sheets of paper, DVD or VCR, board


1 - Tell your students they will watch a segment from a movie called Spanish Apartment. Introduce the scene, purpose, characters, and other relevant information to activate learners' prior knowledge.
Tell class that a group of students from different countries is trying to get to know a prospective roomate. Ask: What kind of questions will they have?
2 - Play the scene and ask students if any of the questions they thought of were asked. Ask students to describe the scene.
3- Ask students to write more questions of their own that facilitate getting to know people on cards. You willl need enough to give one to each student. It does not matter if the questions are similar or duplicated.
4- Give everybody a card. The students all stand up and each one finds a partner. In each of the pairs, one student asks one of the questions from the card which they think their partner might be interested in answering. Then the partner does the same.
When the second conversation finishes, the pairs separate and look for new partners. They should again choose a question to ask. Continue as long as the activity is lively and engaging.

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Acknowledgement: I've heard about Tell me About on issue 49 March 2007 English Teaching Professional.


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