Using Video for Input
A couple of weeks ago I happened across some absolutely adorable videos on YouTube that I wanted to use with my Novice Lows because the videos all started with a short introduction. Video can be a powerful tool in the language classroom for communication. Alternately, it can easily become background noise for students if it isn’t made comprehensible. I used the video option in Google Slides to add video directly to my slide deck and the video options allowed me to maximize the languages and images for my class. Here, the tools I used to turn 17 seconds into 15 minutes of awesome.
(Google Slides has wildly simple and effective videos options that can be used for a whole class activity as long as the teacher has access to YouTube. If students have access to YouTube you can also use these tools for video that students would interact with on their own.)
Find a video…
You can search directly in Google Slides for a video, but that is #nofun so I suggest finding the video in YouTube and then copy and pasting that video into the Insert video box. Click on the video and then Select. The video will automatically be inserted into your slide.
And know what you want to do with it.
Why are we watching this video? How will students’ language be different after watching this video? What’s the point?
I thought about putting this first, but I think with the YouTube rabbit hole sometimes you know you want a video for a vague reason and then when you find the right video your mind goes crazy with ideas for using it. Let’s say they should happen concurrently. Here I’m using a bunch of videos from “Détecteur de mensonges” as input and interpretive listening for the second and third hour of French class. I want students to listen to what these peoples names are and we are also going to talk about them using the (limited) vocabulary they have at the end of three hours and to introduce some new vocabulary (man, old, young). The first 20ish seconds of these videos will be comprehensible. The rest will be noise, so I am going to crop them out.
Set the start/stop time
Google Slides video options allow you to set the time the videos run. First insert the video into your slide.
Next, select the video and choose video options and set the time you want the video to start and stop. In this example I am only using the first 17 seconds.
You can faux-crop any video using the start/stop time option. Found a 4 min video where you don’t want to show the middle 2 minutes? No problem! Make a slide and import the video. Set the run time for 0:00 to 1:00. Copy that slide and in the copy set the run time for 3:00-4:00. Voilà! Video crop done. When you present your slide deck and click from one slide to the next the video will automatically start after the crop.
In my lesson after the students watched the video several times and after we talked about the “characters”, they “role-played” the conversation themselves. One person played the role of the little girl and the other the détective. I wanted them to do this in time with the video because that seemed more fun than just role-playing on their own. I used the same 17 seconds of the video and muted the sound.
The “Mini” Lesson
My lesson involved several slides (because I do everything in slides.) I didn’t just start off with the video. First, I used screenshots of the “characters” to talk about them using the limited vocabulary of the students. I introduced the new words: mignonne, jeune, homme and we talked about the characters using that.
I added three guiding questions for the students as they were watching the video. Giving the questions helps students focus on what they should be listening for in the video. We’d been practicing this all class.
Next, I used a slide of all of the “characters” to ask questions about them. This was at the end of the second hour of French, so the questions were pretty simple.
For me, this is what I think of as “disguised” input. We had talked over and over about il s’appelle, elle s’appelle and I wanted them to hear that again in a different context and not about us.
The whole thing took about 15 minutes from beginning to end.
You can click here to access the slides I used. Someone asked me over the summer about how I do all of the stuff I do, so for this lesson I made a “workflow.” Literally, I just recorded myself making it and it includes the rational and shows the tools I used. I hope it’s useful.