Breaking Dawn – Biss zum Ende der Nacht

I was experimenting with something for work the other day, and ended up with these suggestions for use with the German trailer for the final Twilight film, due for release soon.  If it’s of any use to anyone, feel free to help yourselves!

Suggested activities

Don’t tell pupils what the film is – see if they can work it out before the trailer is played!

  • Sorting activity:
    • Either: give pupils the sheet (download below) and ask them to cut them up into tiles Or: cut them up yourself first.
    • Play the trailer without showing it (ie switch project/computer screen off). Pupils listen and organise the text pieces into the order in which they hear them spoken.
  • Ask pupils to use dictionaries to look up selected words.
  • Ask pupils to pick out things from the text, eg:
    • past participles
    • future tense
    • verb endings
    • adjective endings
  • Show the trailer with the sound muted and ask pupils to write what they think they would hear, or write subtitles.
  • Ask pupils to act out the text in time with the trailer.
  • Pupils write and act out their own scenes based on the characters from the film.

Here is the text sorting activity, and here is the full text.


Harry Potter and the End of Term Feeling

At this time of year, what with sports day, visits to Alton Towers, and induction tours with Year 6, I find it difficult to keep both my classes and myself motivated, and I try to find activities which will hopefully keep pupils engaged.

Below the video are some materials which I have thrown together, which may be useful for part of a lesson – steal away if they’re of any use! (and apologies for any mistakes).

Suggestions for activities

Text sorting activity

Correct text order

Dictionary skills

Die Welle

I love using film in lessons, but I believe the audience should participate in some way; too many times, films are used as a method of keeping pupils quiet towards the end of term, which for me diminishes the art and craft of film making.  I want to encourage my pupils to watch foreign language films, even after they stop learning the language.

So here’s one of my favourites.  I absolutely love this film, and use any opportunity to show it to my students, because they usually love it too.

I find it interesting and useful for the classroom on many levels:

  1. First and foremost, it’s a great story.
  2. It’s set in a school, so has a lot of young protagonists, which is usually a bonus for hooking pupils in.
  3. The students are from a range of backgrounds (social, cultural, family).
  4. Tranferring the original story from USA to Germany provides an extra dimension when considering autocratic government/leadership.
  5. It opens up avenues to discuss some of Germany’s historical past, and to dispel some myths.

I use the film in a number of ways, depending on the class I have:

One year, I used the film as a stimulus for an extended piece of writing, before watching the film.

I showed my class some stills from the film, and told them nothing other than the names of the characters and that the setting was school.  I told them they could be either one of the characters, or a friend of one of the characters. I suggested that they think about describing the people, their relationships, the school, and what a typical day would be like.  For more able, I added that they might want to use their imaginations to describe something unusual that happened at school.

They loved it!  The less able (it was a mixed GCSE group containing pupils with targets from A to G) did basic descriptions of the characters, whilst the more able had one of the pupils with a crush on the teacher, or one of the pupils stabbing another!

After working hard on the task, the reward was to watch the film, and the pupils were intrigued to see what actually  happened to each of the characters. Some were very close to the truth.

With a much weaker group, I introduced the film and some of the historical/political references which they might have missed, and let them watch it.  Afterwards they used a gap fill exercise to summarise the story.

This year’s Year10 group get to watch it after they’ve done their next Controlled Assessment – 0n school!

Die Fremde

I was really excited last Sunday to be able to attend a free screening of a prize-winning film Die Fremde (literally translated as The Foreigner, but the film was shown under the English title When We Leave).  The screening took place at my favourite cinema, Cornerhouse, on Oxford Road in Manchester.  Here’s the trailer from the official website:

Recognising the difficulties in distributing a film in a multi-lingual market, the Lux Film Prize is awarded by the European Parliament, and covers the cost of subtitling its winning film in each of the 23 EU official languages, and of supplying a copy of the film to each of the 27 EU member states.  The film is then shown to invited audiences during the month of May in each of the countries, and the UK venue was Manchester.

What I found interesting about this film was the subject matter – a Turkish-German woman’s search for self-fulfilment, and the conflict this produces for her among her family and community, where the men traditionally have authority.  Touching on issues of forced marriage and domestic violence, the film also has some scenes of real happiness and love, along with some absolute heartbreak.

Although not officially released in the UK yet, I would highly recommend taking a look when the opportunity arises.  It’s a story which is highly relevant, not just in Germany or among the Turkish community, and raises lots of questions.

Congratulations to director Feo Aladag, Cornerhouse and the European Parliament for making, showing and distributing this beautiful and thought-provoking film.