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How to use Visual Advance Organizers with Movies in an ESL Classes

Teachers have been using movies in ESL classes for decades.  Generally, ESL teachers show the movies and the do some discussion of events in the movie.  Some teachers do the 5W’s (who, what, where and when).  Some teachers discuss some vocabulary in the movie or TV show.  I have found that a visual advance organizer of the characters can be very useful when using movies in an ESL class.

Unless you have advanced students, the student are often far too confused with who’s who to figure out plot or theme.  Make a table with the faces of all the characters and go over the names of the characters before showing the movie.  Don’t give away the plot but just attach a name to the face.  You are using a visual graphic organizer as an advance organizer or a visual advance organizer.  Now students can focus on plot and theme issues and not be confused by who is who.  I used visual advance organizers in a psychology class in English for students for whom English is a second language. The movies I used were One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,  Girl, Interrupted and Pirates of the Caribbean. I also used an advanced organizer in my Spanish class before showing Pan’s Labyrinth.  Below are the visual advance organizers I have created for my classes and used with great success:

Susanna Kaysen, Lisa Rowe, Daisy Randone, Georgina Tuskin, Polly "Torch" Clark, Janet Webber, Dr. Sonia Wick, Valerie Owens

Billy Bibbit, Candy, Charlie Cheswick, Chief Bromden, Dr. John Spivey, Fredrickson, Harding, Martini, Nurse Mildred Ratched, R.P. McMurphy, Rose, Taber, Turkle, Washington

Captain Vidal, Carmen, Doctor Ferreiro, fairies, Faun, King of the Underworld, Mercedes, Ofelia, Pale Man, Princess Moanna

Captain Jack Sparrow, Captain Hector Barbossa, Joshamee Gibbs, Will Turner, Elizabeth Swann, Pirates of the Caribbean

Links to the lesson discussion questions are below:





Related Word worksheets are at:





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