Friday, September 20, 2013

Welcome Back: School-Themed Activities

For this fall, I selected some audio and video clips that explore the theme of school in the United States. I've got a classic scene from The Breakfast Club, a more recent classic scene from Mean Girls, a popular clip from Community, and two oral interviews on StoryCorps. The clips are embedded below, and the activities are on the wiki, in the binders in the teachers' computer room, and on the board outside the Media Center. Have fun!

This scene from  The Breakfast Club has a lot of action yet little dialogue, so it's an appropriate clip to use even with low level students. I created discussion questions that explore school lunch culture in the United States and in students' home countries.

This scene from Mean Girls has a lot of rapid, naturalistic dialogue, and is therefore appropriate for students at intermediate and higher levels. The discussion questions focus on the topics of stereotypes about teenagers in American culture.

This clip from Community  is very short, and since the show takes place on the campus of a community college, it's always a hit with our students. The dialogue between Troy and Abed is simple, but the cultural references are rich. I created some web research questions to help students understand the references and humor in this clip.

The two StoryCorps clips have transcripts available. Why not have students read along as they listen? I've drafted some questions to prompt discussion and written responses. In this conversation between a teacher and a former student, the student thanks her teacher for being one of the only people to believe in her when she was troubled. This conversation between a woman and her mother is a charming reminiscence of the highs and lows of being the class clown.

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