ESL Movie Lessons for Learning English
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Thank you for visiting Movies Grow English (MGE), and welcome to the internet's ultimate focal-resource for sharing ESL movie lessons and ideas that connect Movies with motivational (re: fun) language learning. With an expanding volume of more than 100 carefully-selected whole-movie lessons and a small-but-growing register of focused short-sequence lessons, Movies Grow English has become the go-to website for ESL & EFL teachers and students who love movies and appreciate their language-growing benefits. Herein is an introductory overview of what's inside.
-- Quick Tips when Using Whole Movie Lessons--
1. Preview both the movie and its lesson. Lessons and movies are in the same sequence.
2. When previewing a lesson, decide which quotes, questions, and vocabulary to focus on. Highlight or cut-and-paste content you plan to use.
3. Be aware of classroom time, and how you'll use it.
4. Most questions on the lessons test one's English skill and are easy for the native speaker to answer. The movie is the answer key.
5. For assessments, go to
-- The Deep Magic of Movies and ESL
We ESL professionals have long recognized that movies are a powerful, fertile, and fun instrument for igniting an ESL student's potential to both learn and acquire English -- with good reason! Movies radiate the artistry of language in ways that instantly immerse our students in profound depths of true-to-life vocabulary, syntax, pronunciation, slang/idioms, native culture, the four basic skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking), and the authority of verbal and writing fluency. In short, learning English by watching a great movie is possibly the next best thing to making friends with a native speaker of English! In addition, a movie or short sequence is quite possibly the most stimulating (re:high interest) context around which a wide range of lessons (communicative to academic) may be designed.
-- Movie Lessons at your Fingertips
The MENU BAR to the left starts with this home page, which is your gateway to the Whole-Movie Portals for all the 100+ ESL whole-movie lessons available at MGE. Portals can be accessed from ABOVE (click on a movie poster) or BELOW (movie titles grouped by level of difficulty). As you can see, Movies Grow English has a catalog containing a wide-ranging and growing inventory of the most widely-loved movies of all time! Each Portal allows you to preview a summary/setup of your selected ESL movie lesson along with a thumbnail of the cover page of the actual 5-9 page ESL movie-lesson resource. Many Movie Portals include a link to the MGE Forum where you can read student and teacher comments about the selected movie. There is usually a link to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) and Wikipedia, where you can locate additional information about your movie of interest. If desired, you may securely purchase and instantly own a .pdf of the ESL movie lesson for the tiny carrying cost of $1 USD.
-- Methodology that Sparkles
Each ESL movie lesson incorporates innovative pedagogy developed and tested in classrooms at UCLA, University of Southern California (USC), California Institute of Technology, and Santa Monica College during more than seventeen years (my ESL Credentials.). My expanding methodology for teaching with movies makes use of traditional methodologies along with today's blended-learning approach which incorporates both the old-school classroom setting and the autonomous learning environment available across the electronic milieu (Cavage, 2012). This high-octane teaching-and-learning process has been documented by Christina Cavage (2012), Anthony Picciano (2009), Ely Siltzmann (2009), and others. I've discovered that movies seem to provide endless growth pathways into the heart of language luminosity.
-- See for Yourself
Featured Lesson showcases the subtle elegance of a typical whole-movie lesson laid out in the same time order as the movie. Notice that the typical 4-9 page ESL movie lesson contains a brief story setup (understandable to a low-intermediate student), prompts (comprehension, discussion, essay), vocabulary notations, movie quotes, screen shots, resource links and more. It's all presented in a format that is consistent and adaptable. Thus, the ESL movie-lesson resources at Movies Grow English are engineered to be flexible for the teacher and transparent (jargon-free) for the student. Vocabulary items which appear in the world-renowned Academic Word List (Averil Coxhead, 2000) are marked with an asterisk*. Many of the MGE lesson plans are also available with simplified Chinese 简体中文 vocabulary annotations thanks to the generous assistance of Zhi Xin (Season) Li.
-- Look more Closely
You can inspect the action details of a typical MGE lesson at How to Use a Whole-Movie Lesson , where you'll find a detailed examination of the lesson's Content and Recommended Use. This "Anatomy of a Whole-Movie Lesson" discusses how its various aspects reference the actual movie in an intuitive manner that eases the burden of lesson planning. The anatomy also suggests how the lesson references the efficient use of time in the classroom. Once the busy ESL professional becomes familiar with the consistent design-simplicity of an MGE movie lesson, both lesson planning and class management become easier! Having spent many a weary hour designing movie lessons, often through trial and error, I've come to appreciate this benefit, first hand.
-- Great Expectations
ON THE MENU BAR:
Teacher - Whole-Movie Lessons contains pedagogical rationale and general suggestions for using movies to both teach and learn English interactively. This is a must-read for ESL teachers who want detailed information about how movies can be used to interactively motivate students in the classroom. Featured Whole-Movie lesson! is an example of a typical whole-movie lesson.
Short-Sequence Lessons (new in 2013) is a small but growing collection of complete 5-page short-sequence movie lessons designed around a 4-6 minute movie clip. Each carefully-selected clip tells a complete mini-story. Each lesson includes many of the features we've come to expect in a chapter of a typical listening or reading book. These include main idea, details, vocabulary and much more. Featured Short-Sequence Lesson! is an example of a typical short-sequence lesson.
At Teacher- Short-Sequence Lessons there is a detailed discussion of rationale, design, and use of Short-Sequence ESL movie lessons. It also has a variety of imaginative classroom activities centered around stand-alone movie chunks. Some of the best ideas were contributed by colleagues at UCLA and elsewhere. Short-Sequence includes a collection of lesson templates, the formatting and content of which can easily be replicated by cutting and pasting from portions of Whole-Movie ESL Lessons. Ultimately, I hope the lesson models at MGE inspire teachers to find a million ways to create and use amazing Short-Sequence Lessons.
Classroom Guidelines offers specific strategies for selecting movies, developing a proactive classroom environment where students are motivated to learn, and managing precious class time when using movies. Student FAQs asks questions that students typically ask about how movies can help them learn English.
The 5000+ - word Movie Vocabulary List, also on the menu bar, cross-references vocabulary from all the whole-movie and short-sequence ESL lessons at Movies Grow English. As a database-in-progress, it has become a growing corpus of formal, idiomatic, and slang expressions found in every-day, academic, and professional English. My fond expectation is that this resource may one day be used for ESL research. The Academic Word List is a handy reference page of the 570 most-commonly used words used across the academic invironment (Averil Coxhead 2000)
Assessments contains both an HTML and a PDF version of sample Assessment and Grading questions. These questions can be easily copied over to a test instrument, or simply used as example questions.
Kool 4 Kidz, hosted by Theresa Q, brings together all things kids love about movies and turns them into lessons for learning English. Parents know that the best Kidz movies are usually the ones that the grown ups also love. Since Movies Grow English was admitedly created by a grown up (me), you guessed it, the kidz movies at Movies Grow English are also Kool 4 adults.
-- A World Community of Ideas
ON THE MENU BAR:
Forum has grown into a treasury of student and teacher posts covering specific movies and ideas for using movies in the ESL classroom. If you're a student or teacher looking for a movie suggestion, the Forum can be a good friend. It has tons of informed opinions on many of the movie lessons offered at MGE as well as recommendations for other movies. The forum has received about 50,000 visits. There are about 1600 posts from more than 500 members.
Please note: At the Forum, to POST/EDIT a comment or start a new thread, you must first register and become a member. When registering, you are asked to enter the "secret word" (to avoid *spam*). The word is syzygy. Please feel welcome to register at the Movies Grow English Forum and post your comments.
Blog is where I get to express my ongoing rants about movies, movies and ESL, and the movie industry. For example, a July, 2013 entry entitled "What's Wrong with The Lone Ranger" expresses why I think it's actually one of the best movies of the 2013 summer despite a poor showing at the box office.
-- Feel and Share the Buzz
Would you like to know how other teaching professionals and students feel about MGE? Please visit Testimonials to read about their experiences with the site and how they have discovered movies to be a powerful catalyst for teaching and learning English. There are glowing validations, which are always appreciated by yours truly, but other comments describe how the site was used, and some offer suggestions for improving Movies Grow English. You are welcome to share how you feel about Movies Grow English by contacting my email address at Feedback.
Link on the menu bar to the left is a hub that connects to a wide selection of recommended ESL and movie-industry websites. It also connects to a growing library of MGE resource handouts. Please let me know if you'd like to recommend your own favorite ESL or movie links.
-- Imagine the Freedom
ESL movie lesson plans here at MGE along with supporting material are designed to provide motivational language enhancement for English learners and to streamline time-management for the busy ESL professional both in planning and in the use of classroom time. If you're looking for ESL and movies, it's all happening here at Movies Grow English. I am confident that as the destination expands, it will prove ever more useful and fun. Content is added and refined on a daily basis, so please bookmark www.moviesgrowenglish.com. and visit often. Whether you purchase lessons here at Movies Grow English or find your own ways to use movies in the classroom, I sincerely hope this website has contributed to your experience with movies and ESL/EFL. Thanks for visiting!
Please note: MGE recognizes that movies are intellectual property. MGE supports the legal and fair distribution of movie content. At the whole-movie portals (linked from above and below), the actual movies can be legally and securely purchased or rented through Amazon™. Netflix, Blockbuster and other companies also offer legal options. In addition, the public library may have movies for checkout.
Click a TITLE to visit its Whole-Movie Portal
and preview its Movie Lesson
HIGHER LEVEL LESSONS
2001: A Space Odyssey
A Beautiful Mind
Bowling for Columbine
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
The Dark Knight
Dead Poets Society
Good Will Hunting
The Great Gatsby
I love You Man
The Kings Speech
Million Dollar Baby
Much Ado About Nothing
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Shakespeare in Love
The Shawshank Redemption
The Social Network
The Truman Show
V for Vendetta
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
The 40 Year-Old Virgin
The Adjustment Bureau
American History X
The Devil Wears Prada
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Into the Wild
It's a Wonderful Life
Last of the Mohicans
The Lone Ranger
The New World
Quantum of Solace
The Royal Tenenbaums
Super Size Me
The 3rd Man
A Walk in the Clouds
When Harry Met Sally
Across the Universe
Bringing Down the House
Cowboys & Aliens
Deep Blue Sea
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
The Hunger Games
The Iron Giant
It Happened One Night
Kung Fu Panda 2
Life of Pi
Little Miss Sunshine
New York Stories (Part 3)
School of Rock
Toy Story 3
Without a Paddle
The Wizard of Oz
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