In “On The Same Page” (Alli Norman and Carla Lutz, 2015), an introverted journalist for the local news section “has nothing to write about until he is whirled away into a colourful journey with his neighbour from the comic section.” Similarly, the students in this video-based lesson are asked to become active learners and have lots to say by making predictions at various stages in the story, raising questions about what they have have just watched, or sharing their personal reactions in the hope of enhancing their critical thinking skills while practising the language. The goal here is to set up a dialogue that is student-driven and through which the students will both demonstrate comprehension and engage in meaningful conversations with the visual text. What is more, this provides a flexible framework which allows for each student to work at their own performance level.
For each part of the film that they watch, the students are asked to complete one of three main tasks according to the symbol in each box:
- Write a question. These can be based on facts, but they can also promote deeper thinking such as asking other students to analyse the plot or the characters, or express their own opinion. Questions charts like this one can help in making sure students come up with different kinds of questions.
- Write a personal response or reaction. By making connections between what has happened in the film and the students’ own experiences, or other similar experiences, the students will reflect on the actions and express what they mean to them personally.
- Write a prediction. This helps the students to keep focused on the story and to refine, revise and verify its plot and the key elements as they watch.
Such an approach demands that a variety of sharing strategies be used throughout the activity. While this is largely conditioned by class size, strategies should involve pairs of students (see Think-Pair-Share), groups (see Numbered Heads Together, Rountable, Roundrobin), and the whole class.
1. Elicit the typical sections of a newspaper. Tell the students the story in the short film takes place at a newspaper and that one of the main characters is a journalist who works for the local news section.
2. 00:00-1:02 – LOCAL NEWS & COMICS. The students write a question about the main male character (e.g. Where does he work?, Why does he have nothing to write about?), a personal reaction to the main female character (How is the comics section different?, What is the girl like?, Why does she throw a ball at his window?), and a prediction of what they think will happen next. The students share each of these with their partners.
3. 1:02-1:20 – WEATHER. Question (e.g. What will the weather be like on Thursday?, What will the weather be like this week?)
4. 1:20-1:31 – ENTERTAINMENT. Personal response, perhaps based on the film titles, or a connection with the weather in the previous section or the plot so far.
5. 1:31-2:00 – FINANCE. Question.
6. 2:00-2:07 – SPORTS. Prediction.
7. 2:07-2:28 – OBITUARIES. Personal reaction.
8. The students are asked to think of two possible endings.
9. 2:28-END – Hold a whole-class discussion by using the final questions, personal responses and predictions as prompts.
Can the students now explain the meaning of “to be on the same page” and the reason why the filmmakers chose it for this story?