Kara Jacobs and I presented about the power of triple input in film. However as I viewed Kristy Placido and Donna Tatum-Johns’ session on delivering CI with a TV series I realized there were a lot of similarities! Both are building Intercultural Communicative Competence. ACTFL says that Intercultural Communicative Competence is essential for establishing effective, positive relationships across cultural boundaries, required in a global society. Viewing the perspectives in these authentic resources is preparing students to interact successfully with people from other cultures.

It is obvious that students will not acquire EVERY word from these resources much like how students do not acquire every word from a Sr. Wooly video. However they will pick the words that are meaningful to them and internalize them. This allows for differentiation. Every student is unique and will be interested by a different piece of the film or TV series. Finally Kara and I believe that authentic video provides triple input because of a quote from Talaván. He said, “A subtitled video clip provides a triple connection between image, sound and text.” These three connections work to scaffold an authentic video for our students.

Here is a list of combined ideas from both sessions about what you can do with a TV series or film…

  1. Plan ahead and backwards plan! Find culture and content to exploit in what you are viewing. It is always great to connect to the 3 Ps. Find them and teach about them prior to viewing so students have a better cultural understanding while watching the authentic video.
  2. Discussing the scenes you are showing through comprehensible readings or screen shots (Photo Talk) is a great idea. You do not have to focus on the exact dialogue that happens in the video. You can simple talk ABOUT what is happening in it. Kristy said to use appropriate and correct grammar. Do not shelter grammar, instead shelter vocabulary.
  3. Introduce or review what happened in a scene. You can see the very talented Kristy do it here through the CI strategy of Movie Talk. Turn off the volume and Movie Talk the scene. Afterwards you could always do a cloze activity of that same scene to focus on the authentic dialogue instead of the comprehensible plot line. However another great way to use the authentic dialogue of the show is to have students sequence the dialogue from the part that they viewed on that particular day.
  4. Screenshots are a language teachers’ best friend for many reasons. One of which is that you can use them to introduce what will happen in the scene or what happened in previous scenes. Screenshots can be manipulatives for a ton of activities like Carrie Toth’s Yellow Brick Road to summarize the important events at the end of a film/episode of a tv series. Strip Story Pictures are another way to use screenshots. Put pictures in a bag with matching text. Students will match the text to the image. Students can also sequence the images of screenshots. Next they can write text under each one or imagine it is an Instagram post and write it below. You could also create a bingo of screenshots where the teacher reads the matching text. Finally, students can participate in #imagesnaps or #screenshotsnaps! Formatively assess students while having students use Snapchat to digitally and visually represent what they know about the image with text, emojis, Bitmojis and more! This idea is from Tara Martin’s idea of #BookSnaps. Read more about it here.
  5. You can make Screencastify videos of PowerPoints of comprehensible text of the story of the film. Kristy has an awesome blog post here of how she does it. Another idea is to add an Edpuzzle which Kristy also explains in the post above.
  6. Use screen shots to make graphic novel style readings/comics before viewing or post viewing. You can also leave out the text so students can fill it in as a formative assessment for post viewing.
  7. Donna Tatum-Johns said that she likes to examine how characters evolve from one episode to another with TV series. I like to do the same with film. Some examples Kara and I gave in our session are the change of Costa in “También la lluvia” or the transformation of Miguel’s beliefs in the film “Coco”.
  8. When showing a TV series, I have heard Kristy and Darcy Pippins (a rockstar AP CI teacher) say they show it on Fridays. Since I have block scheduling every other day, I have found success showing Gran Hotel for 20 minutes after FVR every class. Students have gotten used to the routine and if I skipped it, they would get very angry. So find a routine that works for your classroom.
  9. One way Kristy assessed the TV series in her classroom was by giving students short clips to view and they have to answer questions as they view it. This can be done with Edpuzzle or a Google form.
  10. Donna Tatum-Johns said that she ties her password (idea from Bryce Hedstrom) of the week to the TV series she is showing in class. Great idea!
  11. Donna Tatum-Johns also suggested analyzing characters and then connecting the character to self. You can also have students connect the character’s family their own with a Venn Diagram which can help build skills for the cultural comparison on the AP test.
  12. Create real world interactions! Have students connect with the actors or directors via tweets or letter so they can create with interpersonal communication.
  13. Some great follow up activities to use after a TV series or film that Dustin Williamson shared are Kahoot, Quizizz, Edpuzzle or Quizlet live, Gimkit, GooseChase or Breakout Edu.

If you are a French teacher here are some TV series that were recommended in Dustin Williamson’s session:

-Camera café

-Un gars et une fille

-les Revenants (also recommended by Donna Tatum-Johns)

-les aventures de Tintin

-Plus belle la vie

One pitfall that can occur from watching a TV series or a film is that students go home and finish the series or the film. Kristy suggested that you simply ask those students not to spoil the plot during prediction time. You also want to make sure you preview and films or TV series and make sure they are appropriate for your school climate. It is always beneficial to also have a permission slip with a description so that parents are aware of what is happening in your classroom. Overall it seems that there are way more benefits than pitfalls so why not give TV series and film a chance in your CI classroom this year? It is compelling and you can make it comprehensible!

A major aha moment that I saw repeated from last year at iFLT is that you CAN modify #authres (authentic resources). Kristy Placido showed iFLT17 participants how to do this and the value in it. Video (TV series and film) is also #authres. If we use the logic of “change the task, not the text”, we could only focus on the dialogue. However, you do not have to ONLY focus on precisely what is said by the characters. You CAN comprehensibly talk about and/or create a comprehensible reading about what is happening in the video for your students. We as the teacher can pull out high frequency structures to discuss or advanced structures as Donna Tatum-Johns showed us. I have found in my personal experience that when we comprehensify #authres our students are so much more successful AND are more engaged! Students are in the state of flow and therefore are acquiring a ton of language while also being exposed to the products, practices and perspectives exposed in the tv series or the film! A key quote Dustin Williams used in his session about using El Internado was, “When you make it comprehensible, language acquisition can occur.”


Arianne Dowd has been a Spanish Teacher at South Brunswick High School for the past 18 years. She is committed to lifelong learning. She holds dual BAs in Spanish and Psychology with a minor in International Studies from Montclair State University. She has two Master’s degrees, an MA in Spanish Literature from Montclair State University and a MAT in Italian from Rutgers University. She is passionate about delivering Comprehensible Input in order to engage and interact with all learners. Arianne enjoys collaborating with colleagues through social media to create compelling and comprehensible units comprised of cultural knowledge. She has begun documenting these activities on her blog.

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