Short videos like those on Youtube or EFL Classroom, are perfect “engaging” starters for great language learning. I did a previous blog post on ways to use videos, especially “silent videos”. Also see my own presentation with “cautions” when using video. Here are some suggestions on how to use videos which have vocabulary in them, like this favorite, the Elephant Song.
Play the video and give students a task. This is so important! The task must be VERY simple but keep them focused. Like, “write down 3 things you see” or as in the case with the Elephant Song, “write down all the names of animals, you hear/see”.
After this, you have many activities you can do with this vocabulary.
1. Pause the video, ask students to predict. Ask, “What animal does he really mean?”
2. Guessing Game. The teacher describes an animal and the students guess. Whichever group guesses first, wins a point. Continue until all have been guessed/marked out. Then, students in pairs or groups do the same activity.
3. Categorizing, organizing. The teacher gives the students some categories. The students put the vocabulary under the appropriate category with comments. For the Elephant Song you might use… Rank / Habitat / Legs / Diet / Edible / Sound / Colour / Features
4. Comparatives. Students write sentences comparing the vocabulary. Put up some scaffolding sentences to guide the writing. Ex. “A / An ….. is …………er than a / an …………… ” “A / An ……….. is more ………….. than a / an ………….”
5. Matching Walkaround. Give students a post it note (small ones). They write down their favorite animal and then go around asking others – “Do you like …….?” If they find a match, they link arms and continue to find more matches. Afterwards, review who likes what animal.
5b Indian Poker. Same thing with post it notes. But the students put the post it note on the forehead of a friend. Everyone walks around asking questions to see if they can guess what animal/vocabulary item they are. “Do I have big ears?”, “Do I have 4 legs?”. “Do I live in the jungle?”. Once they guess which animal they are, they can sit back down. This is an all time FAV. with students.
6. Student created Bingo. Give students an A4 sheet . They make a bingo card and draw in the animals to fill up the card. Then, they walk around asking questions… ex. “Have you ever killed / kissed / touched / eaten / seen ……..?”. If a student says yes, they draw an 0 , if “no”, they draw an X in the square. They continue asking others until they have a Bingo and can sit down.
7. Plan a Zoo. This one is unique to this video. Give the students an A4. Together, draw along the perimeter cages and places for animals in the zoo. Just as many as animals on your list. The students discuss where it is best to put the animals and then report back to class. They have to be careful, a bear can’t be near a dog!A dog can’t be near a cat!