Using short film to teach languages

This is a short guide I put together to give some ideas to teachers in my long placement school for using video in the languages classroom. It has links to websites with films and other resources as well as some ideas for how to use them.

Resources is the site of an international one minute film festival.  is another micro film festival for films of up to a minute and a half long.There are quite a few animated films on this site. is an annual event celebrating “the power of film”, loads of short films here too.  Loads of films on here including Pixar short films…just type in animated short films. Here are some good ones:

For the birds                                                                           Lifted

Alma                                                                                           Oktapodi

One minute guide to Planet Earth                                  Morph

French film

Comme un air

Not too much dialogue in this one so could be used with KS3.  Set in Paris, could be an introduction to a topic on Paris. Questions: Where is it set? How do you know? What landmarks do you recognise? etc

J’attendrai le suivant

This is a shortFrench film with quite a lot of dialogue. Might be best with an A-Level group or maybe year 11. 5 mins

Foutaises As the name suggests it’s pretty weird… but interetsing too. Again maybe best with A-level.

Spanish film

Not as much choice for Spanish films mainly because most Spanish film is filth. 🙂 Found a short film on youtube though with some Spanish dialogue at the end.

A primera vista

Ideas for how to use them

Vocabulary building

  • Write down the French / Spanish for all the words you know.  Now speak to your partner and add any words they knew to your list. Now work as a group – finally build a word list as a whole class.
  • Write down the English for 5/ 10 words you want to know how to say from the film. Look them up in the dictionary. Share with your partner / group. Come up with a list of the 10 most useful words from the film that you have learned.
  • In groups create a mind map about the film. Include details about the setting, charcters, events, etc. and come up with a mind map with vocabulary / ideas about the film.

Speaking practice

  • Describe what happens in the film. (could use present or past for this).
  • What happeneded before the film started? What is going to happen next.
  • Describe the setting / music / characters.
  • Reorder the screenshots in the correct order – communicate in TL.

Writing practice

  • Retell the story. Could use screenshots from the film to encourage students to write more. (To take a screenshot just (press Prnt Scrn – then crop the image and either save in a Powerpoint or in word doc to print out)
  • Subtitle the film – again take some screenshots and ask students to create subtitles for what the characters are or could be saying..

Reading practice

  • Arrange the sentences in the order that they occurr in the film. (Type some TL sentences to describe what happened in the film and then ask students to work together to put them in the right order.) Extension could be to translate them into English.
  • True or false questions relating to what happened in the film.

Grammar practice

  • Films could be used to pracrtice any grammar point depending on what happens in the film. The most obvious ones are tenses.
  • Particularly good for past tense practice (eg. imperfectvs preterite – classify the sentences into preterite / imperfect. Decide why it is preterite / imperfect based on the grammar rules presented.
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