Blaine Ray doing a MovieTalk

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In this video Blaine Ray is serving as a guest teacher for a level 2 class.  I always enjoy watching him in action and I definitely picked up some new tips from this one.  We can observe step 2 of TPRS – Ask a story, along with MovieTalk, Student actors, and Blaine inserting himself as a 1st person parallel character.

I really like the way Blaine used student actors and the MovieTalk together.  I think he keeps momentum going by bouncing from actors to video to himself, and back to the video.  I think there are a variety of topics going on at once and is a great way to differentiate instruction. Nowadays, I feel like students need multiple things going on to stay engaged. Blaine is using the video very much like he would a story. Students assume roles of characters. He puts himself in the story as a parallel character and creates parallel stories. This is how we can really stretch the 3-5 minute videos we can find all over YouTube.

When I see others going on and on about MovieTalks, I am often worried about its efficacy as a strategy in TPRS. Specifically, I think MTs are most effective when the strategy is staying true to Ask a Story step in CI storytelling. If a MovieTalk is just TELLING a story, some of the magic is not there in my opinion. Blaine really makes the most of this lesson by adding himself and incorporating PQA, and using student actors. I recently modeled the very same MovieTalk lesson based on things Blaine was doing.

I consider this type of class a day 1 lesson. This is the language UPLOAD session where Blaine is doing a lot of Establishing Meaning work. In later classes, MovieTalks can go deeper with class discussions if we pick videos that lend itself to discussing a moral or something interesting to life or the interests of our students. MTs might be a short cut to helping new teachers too, because they don’t have to worry about the skills and the story… they already have the story and can just work on getting down the basics of teaching in this way.

Step 3 or the R in TPRS can be done is several ways.  The activities I most utilize for step 3 include…Embedded Readings, choral translation into Volleyball reading, silent reading, and dramatic/radio show read alouds.


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  • Awesome idea of combining Movie Talk with actors! Love this! Thanks for posting the video and for your generous sharing of your materials. This is an awesome video for Movie Talk–going to use it next week!

    Rita Barrett 3 years ago Reply

  • Thanks for putting this video online. This is pretty much how I movie talk El Internado. All credit goes to Blaine, of course, he has been a source of inspiration for years. Whenever teachers question if a tv show can be used with level 1, I know that they do not quite understand movie talk. It is the teacher who provides the CI, not the video. That is how Ashley Hastings originally conceived movie talk: not for intermediate or advanced students, but for true beginners. I have become frustrated with teachers looking for worksheets because their kids cannot understand El Internado; without a firm understanding of why TPRS teachers do what we do, Movie Talk turns into a “getting the gist” kind of activity. Maybe movie talk, in the hands of a story-teller (as opposed to a story-asker), is more effective than most legacy techniques, but it can be so much more effective if we stay true to the methods that have been honed by a generation of TPRS teachers.

    Mike Peto 3 years ago Reply

  • Thank you for posting this video! I’m new to parallel characters and this was very helpful!
    You mentioned that you consider this video to be an example of step 1…later you mentioned step 3. What, then, would be step 2?

    Karen Olson 3 years ago Reply

  • Thanks for the video of Blaine doing Movie Talk, Mike!
    While we (in elementary) often get up and re-enact snippets of a MT in progress, I’ve not yet inserted myself as a parallel character in one. WOW! It really multiplies the reps and incorporates/contrasts (in a deductive way) first person structures! I’m gonna try it ASAP!
    While I often feel a tad guilty about the relative passivity of a video storytelling experience (it’s excellent benefits notwithstanding), here the front of the room suddenly becomes more multi-dimensional with the 3 actors on either side of the screen and the storyteller/parallel character moving about between them. Even though Blaine is establishing the facts for most of the time, his communication with the ‘cast’ makes it feel like there is more drama and action!

    Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg 3 years ago Reply

  • What is the name of the video he used? I’d like to use it in my class!

    Allison Lewis 3 years ago Reply

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