Saturday, 22 December 2012

Santa's Story - Videotelling Lesson (revisited)

I've made some adjustments to my Videotelling lesson from yesterday, as after refection I felt it needed a bit of a re-shape. Actually, if I am truthful, it wasn't wonderful.  

Read it here:

In this spirit, I have modified Jamie Keddie's ( technique slightly in the story telling stage. 

Instead of students responding to the teacher eliciting orally in the story telling stage, they write down their answers and then check these while watching the video. (Teacher should have 10/15 questions prepared for this task. Questions should be open ended if possible pushing students to be as creative as possible) 

The reason for this change is that sometimes shy students lose out in the oral eliciting stage, overshadowed by the more confident members of the group. Thus, with this slight adjustment, the former can get creative without the fear of their spontaneous responses being wrong or inferior to their classmates. 

This is not to say that shy students are discouraged from speaking, far from it; all students are given the opportunity to share their creative ideas with the class in a group feedback session after the video has been watched. At this stage, the teacher can really take the students' ideas apart and fully expand the emergent language to its fullest potential. 

For those of you who are not familiar with Jamie Keddie and Videotelling, I suggest you do. Below is a great example of his technique.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Santa's Christmas - Videotelling Lesson

Santa’s Christmas

Language Level: Elementary - Pre-Intermediate
Learner Type: Young teens
Time: 45 minutes
Topic: Christmas; kindness; love
Language: Christmas vocabulary; past tense

Preparation, materials and equipment

For this activity you will need to ‘Santa's Christmas: Learn English with subtitles - Story for Children’ 

From YouTube. (

Decide how you are going to show the video to the class.

Part 1: Introduction

Tell the class that you watched a visually interesting video about Christmas on Youtube. Get the students to speculate on what they think the video might be about.

Part 2: Visualisation

Tell the class that you want them to use their imagination to visualize what you tell them.

Say the following: 

“I want you to imagine that you are in the middle of a traditional Christmas scene”

What sights, sounds and smells do you imagine?

After feedback, tell the students the following:

There are snow covered trees, and the sky is a brilliant blue like a tropical ocean. In the background of the video there is small wooden building. Is has a chimney on the roof

“Why are chimneys important in cold countries?” (To provide warmth)

“What comes out of a chimney?” (Smoke)

“Where does the smoke come from?” (A roaring fire in a fireplace)

Outside the house two animals are playing.

“What animals are playful?”

Inside the building there is a large bed and a fire burns in the corner of the room

“Does that mean the house is going to burn down? No? Why not?” (It’s in a fireplace)

A bird sits on a set of drawers beside the large bed, and a bird sits glumly on it (Concept check ‘glumly’)

“What kind of bird do you think it is?” (Owl)

“Why do you think the owl is so glum?”

Give the students a clue: beside the owl on the drawer is a thermometer and there is a man in the bed. Beside the bed is a large sack which is overflowing with unread letters

“Who do you think the man is?” (Santa)

“Why is the owl glum? (Because Santa is too sick to deliver presents)

Ask the students how Santa feels and how children around the world will react when they find out this terrible news

At this point tell the students to orally summarise the story so far with their friend (1 minute on the stopwatch)

Tell the student that Santa hears a noise outside

“What has caused this noise?”

“Something is out of breath (concept check) outside the window; something that is of vital importance to Santa every year.” (Reindeer)

“What’s wrong with the reindeer? Why are they out of breath?”

Tell the students that there is something behind the reindeers
“What are they pulling?” (Sledge)

Tell the students that inside the sledge is something surprising (Kids)

“Why are the kids in the sledges?”

Explain that Santa hears all of these strange noises outside his bedroom window

“How does Santa feel?” (Curious)

Tell the students that Santa opens the door and in front of him stands a little girl

“What do you think she wants?” (To give Santa a gift)

“She gives him something soft and cuddly. What could it be?” (Teddy bear)

Tell student sthat the children come one by one (concept check) to give Santa a present

“What other presents do you think they give to Santa?” (Tree, cookies, socks, jigsaw etc.)

“How do you think Santa feels?” (Over the moon – concept check and explain what an idiom is)

Santa gets all the kids to stand in a big circle, and one little girl asks him a question

“What do you think the question is?” (What present do you like best?)

“What is Santa’s reply?” (Santa says the kid’s love and kindness is the finest gift of all)

“What do you think Santa does next?” (Gives all the children an big hug)

7. Now show the video to the class.

Follow up 1
Students are given a list of key words from the story and have to recreate the story in the past tense

Follow up 2
Higher level students could write an opinion paragraph on which is more important: love and kindness or gifts?

Follow up 3
Students can write a diary entry for Santa on the events of that day