Pause It

Movie watching during class can be dull and non-interactive, and let’s be real, sleep-inducing when you’re teaching seminary early in the morning. I like this quote:

Showing movies in class should not be a Friday fun day activity.  Okay, I don’t mind if you show them on Friday or even if students enjoy watching them.  However, students should not view watching a film in class as any less rigorous than reading a book.  If they do then you’re doing nothing to teach media literacy or enhance your curriculum.  Brains should turn on when watching multimedia, not turn off. (The Right Way to Show Movies in Class, http://creatinglifelonglearners.com/?p=695)

You can use the pause button to help you engage students with the material more deeply.  Here are some tips you can use during a movie to help kids stay interested and engage thoughtfully with the material they are seeing.

Before the movie begins, have students open scriptures to the section the video is about.  During the movie pause and ask “Why is this person behaving in this way?”  “Can you back up your reasoning with a scripture reference?”

Pause the movie when a person in the movie is about to make a choice.  Ask the class, “What would you do?  What do you think s/he is about to do?  Why is this a good or bad idea?”

In a movie where language is difficult to understand or garbled, pause and ask if everyone understood what was happening.

Use a paused frame from a movie as a lesson opener.  Have students describe the characters in the film. “These descriptions should go beyond mere physical detail and include guesses at the personality and intentions of the character based on what they can see.”  (http://busyteacher.org/4725-movie-novel-practical-tips-for-classroom.html)

Try showing the movie FIRST and then read the corresponding scriptural text after viewing the movie.  Students may notice differences between the two, or they imagine the story or a character in a different way than the director did. Be sure to show the movie before you read the text so that the last thing kids leave with is the correct, scriptural language from the text, rather than a movie interpretation. 

For example, the Church’s new movie when Peter and John are questioned and threatened by the Sanhedrin has a minor difference from John’s text.  In John’s version, the Sanhedrin don’t say the name of Christ, while in the movie they do.  We don’t know if this is an exact quote that the Sanhedrin said to the apostles, but it could be.  Why might this be significant?  Why might they be reluctant to say Christ’s name?  What does this say about these individuals?  It’s a minor, not terribly significant difference, but a teacher can use it to start a lively discussion.

Start out the movie with a “Watch for” statement.  You might ask students to watch for the way Laman and Lemuel react when Nephi tells them he will build a boat. 

Pause BEFORE you show the film by discussing the most important question learned from the film BEFORE you show the movie.  Giving students something to look for as they watch helps them focus on the important parts of the film and improves comments and discussion afterward.

For example, during that film on procrastination where the boy and girl practice on different schedules (Piano Recital, included with Old Testament Seminary Videos for Joel 2 and online at YouTube), you might start out with a question like “Have you ever put off an assignment to the last minute?  What did you learn?  What do you think would happen if you didn’t practice for a piano recital?  Let’s see what happens.”

Pause to let students fill out a handout during the film.  You might pause during the film to let students write a characterization or write what they think will happen next.  You might want to give them a minutes or so to catch up if you see that they are falling behind on taking down a list or process given in the film.  

For example, you might pause during a film on the Restoration to ask students to write down the steps Joseph Smith took to prepare to enter the grove and pray.

During longer films, pause midway and have students recap what theve learned and explain how the movie is related to the topic you’re studying.  This activity helps transfer the new knowledge into long term memory.  If students can explain what they’ve learned, you can assist but if they still can’t explain, you need to re-evaluate showing that movie or better frame the movie discussion next time.” (http://creatinglifelonglearners.com/?p=695) In other words, make sure that you use a Watch For statement or other question or clue to help students focus on how this movie directly relates to your topic of discussion.

Great for: Using media during class

Class size: Any class size

Helps Students: SEARCH the scriptures or text, SEE a gospel principle in action

Prep Time: 

Student Age: Any age

Equipment needed: