Sunday, February 08, 2009

WALL-E movie in the classroom

Movies are interesting for adults' discussion, and movies are popular with the students, too, for they break the routine of being in the classroom listening to the teacher and doing their normal classroom activities.

Earlier this week, I've used Pixar's WALL-E as a tool to practice several grammar structures that I've taught to my Elementary students, namely “have to”, adjectives, and comparative adjectives.

The lesson started with a general discussion on movies – the type of movies the students like and dislike. Then the students were introduced to the vocabulary describing the genres of movies such as romantic, comedy, action, horror, historical, cartoon and musical. The discussion became more exciting as the students provided their own examples of movies in each genre.

As the students have been taught “adjectives” in one of the previous lessons, it was natural to ask them to use suitable adjectives to describe the movies they cited. For example, a student described Titanic as “romantic and frightening”. Another student described Toy Story as “exciting”.

Moving on into the highlighted movie of the day, the students were asked to imagine being on earth alone – with no other living thing to accompany them. They were asked further, “How would you feel?” Some cheeky students said they would be very happy, but others said they would be very sad, and some said it would be boring.

That's when I disclosed that they were going to watch a story about a robot called WALL-E who was left all alone on earth for hundreds of years. However, before they were shown the movie, they were told that while watching, they would have to answer a few questions by paying attention to several details, including carefully observing the characters.

The first worksheet I prepared for them contained these “while-watching” questions:

1. What does WALL-E stand for?
W____________ A_________________ L_________ L___________ - E______________________

2. What does it have to do on earth?
It has to _____________________________________________.

3. What does EVE stand for?
E______________________ V_______________________ E___________________________

4. What does it have to do on earth?
It has to _____________________________________________.

5. Write five adjectives to describe WALL-E.

6. Write five adjectives to describe EVE.

(For the last two questions, I put a picture of WALL-E and of EVE so that the students could write the adjectives in the form of word-maps.)

Note: Reflecting on the lesson, I think I should have included a few more questions in the first worksheet:

7. WALL-E's pet is a ________________.

8. Write the names of at least three other characters in the movie.

When the first CD is over, we discussed the first four questions for these answers are available from the first CD. Then, we continued watching the movie in peace.

After they had finished watching, we discussed the adjectives that they had chosen to describe WALL-E and EVE for the two last questions.

Then, the students were given the post-movie questions in the second worksheet:

1. Write five sentences to compare WALL-E to EVE. Use the comparative adjectives.






2. Which robot do you prefer? Why?

In my opinion, if this lesson is used for a higher level of students like the pre-intermediate or the intermediate students, a suitable follow-up activity would be writing a comparative paragraph or a film review.

WALL-E proved to be a good choice as my students had never watched it, and nobody fell asleep during the movie. After the movie, they couldn't help joking and laughing about the characters, especially reciting WALL-E's dialogue: "EV-A? EV-A!".

I would be glad to receive feedback on this lesson in anyway that it can be further improved.