Song clips as the starting point for digital storytelling

Everyone loves stories, don't they? Here's a song clip that tells a good one, which I've used as the basis for learners (Upper Intermediate+) then writing their own stories.

The procedure is basically this, with a couple of options that I in fact usually skip out for lack of time:

  • (Optionally) Import 5-6 stills from the first minute or so of the video on to an interactive whiteboard (IWB) page and have learners talk to a partner to see if they can guess what the story is going to be, which they will then confirm or refute at the next stage
  • Watch the first 60 seconds of the clip, with the sound off and learners talking each other through it as they watch
  • (Optionally) Replay with the sound on, to confirm or refute their ideas
  • Play the next two minutes of the clip (sound off!) and have the learners talk to each other about what is going through his mind
  • Stop the clip just as he reaches for the doorbell and have the learners predict how it's going to end
  • Watch the ending and have learners talk to each other about why what happens does happen
  • (Optionally) Exploit the song itself in a variety of ways
  • Have learners use the vocabulary that will come up as the basis of their own version of a similar story
  • The stories are then shared on a class blog, or via Edmodo, for enjoyment and comment from peers

Their version of the story can twist the video version in any way they wish: my only requirement is that they reuse at least some of whatever vocabulary has come up in class.

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  1. TIP Tell your learners to forget that it's Bruce Springsteen! Imagine it's just a garage mechanic…

  2. Yes! Otherwise, stds will disconnect bc Bruce is not trendy among younsters. They'll think of their parents. Then, they'll feel discouraged. 😉

  3. Yes, you're right, Ana Belén. This one still works great with adults (especially those that can think back to when they were young like Springsteen is here 😉 !).

    For teens, the Taylor Swift song in this other post worked great.

  4. With an Edmodo group, a colleague and I had a lot of fun with teens looking for and posting song clips that told stories and then discussing which told the best stories.

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