Newsletter 2021#7

Newsletter 2021 #7
Good morning

I hope that you're keeping well and safe and still enjoying my little Sunday morning missive :)

So, what do I have for you today? A newsletter with a bit of a video theme. First some links to great short videos that you could base motivating lessons around at any level; and then, if you (or your learners) are feeling creative, a couple of different video creators. Hold on to your hats- here we go!

YouTube short films
There are some brilliant short, silent, animated films on YouTube. These are often only about 5-6 minutes long and with a nice moral or message that promotes discussion. As they are silent, you can use them at any level - get learners to write the story in level-appropriate language, or make up possible dialogues based on the characters and the situations, or have discussions or debates based on the issues. Here are three that I like- if you find others that you've found useful, do let me know :)    The Present    Snack Attack    In a Heartbeat

And if this kind of thing interests you then you might also be interested in this free online course from FutureLearn on Using Short Film in Language Teaching.

Sneak preview
If you use Facebook or Instagram, you may have seen that I've put out a couple of promos recently that are short videos with fast-paced changing pictures and text. I made these really quickly and easily with a tool called Animoto and this is fantastic for both teachers and learners. There is a pro version, but you can use it for free as long as you don't mind the Animoto logo in the bottom of your videos (this isn't a problem if you are using it for teaching). I've written a blog post with an example video and a couple of practical ideas on how you could use it with your class to great effect to revise vocabulary and for a project based task. It's very versatile - see what you think.

Website of the week
Finally, this week's website isn't, strictly speaking, a website - it's an app - but it's great and works on iDevices and Android, so I hope you'll bear with me on this. This is probably particularly useful if you teach kids or teens but I can see how adults could get hooked on it, too. It's called Toontastic and you can use it to make short cartoons with template scenes and characters and record dialogue between them. It's free, you can use it offline and you don't even need to login. When you've made your video, you can export it and share it. I think it would be great for project based work - develop the language and dialogues in class and get them to record the videos for homework. Have fun with it.

That's me for another week. As always, have a good one and I'll see you next Sunday. And do let me know how you get on if you try out any of these ideas - I love to hear from people.


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