This MovieTalk also took place within a larger unit in which we explored identity. My students had just finished the Fluency Matters novel Frida Kahlo. In Frida's story, there are lots of examples of things that influenced her identity: her terrible relationship with her mother, polio, her deformed leg, the terrible accident, the pain she suffered, being an artist, being a Mexican woman, and being Diego Rivera's wife. When we were finished reading the novel, I directed a class discussion in which students made a list of those things that influenced Frida's identity. Then students made a list of those things that influence their identity which included socio economic status, gender, their regional connection (Appalachia), education, opioid epidemic and sexual orientation. We then compared and contrasted what influences their identity to what influenced Frida's. We also discussed how identity is fluid rather than set in stone and as people learn and grow things change. An example from the book was that Frida considered herself an artist after the accident yet stopped doing art and considered herself Diego's wife after they married. It was the day after we completed this class discussion that the class watched In a Heartbeat.
This video is perfect for Movie Talk because it's wordless and very well drawn. You can see the video here. As you can see, the boy is scared or nervous because of how he feels and the fact that his heart literally jumps out of his chest. Because of his predicament, there are lots of opportunities to go over "estar" feelings and locations, tener idiomatic phrases and actions/movements in general. To start, I created a Powerpoint with the story in the presenters notes. I've provided a copy of the power point below. The slides show how scared and nervous the boy is without showing why. So during the MovieTalk, we have the mystery of who or what he's running and hiding from. I simply called it the "Terror". I told the story for each slide in the TPRS style and then used circle questioning and personal questions to keep the students engaged and communicating. I used the present tense with the slides to tell the story. At the end of the slideshow, students made predictions as to who the "Terror" is.
When I showed the movie, I stopped it at the same points as the slideshow and we discussed what happened. I continued to use circle questioning and personal questions to keep students engaged. At the specific point in the video where the boy opens the school door and is mortified, I asked students for predictions as to what he was going to see. Then, when he's sitting under the tree after the incident we again made predictions. And, once students understood that the boy had a crush on another boy, by and large, the reaction was incredibly positive. Virtually no pushback, even from the boys. And students who identified as LGBTQ were smiling ear to ear. A couple of freshmen boys reacted not as positively, but it was merely a matter of quieting them down and reminding them of classroom rules. Nothing more came of it. For me, it was beyond positive for my students and we were able to stay in the language and keep students engaged. The one thing I'll change for next year will be to write a reader to go along with the MovieTalk.
If you've never done a MovieTalk and want to learn more, I learned from the amazing Margie Snyder (@MargieSnyder). She presented MovieTalk in 2015 at the @WVFTLA conference. Her presentation can be found here.