Milking a Video Chat: Part 1

Darcy Pippins posted this awesome YouTube video on the iFLT/CI Facebook page during Christmas break and it was the first lesson I did when we came back to school. I used it as a video chat because as I have said before, you can use ONE video for ALL classes and just differentiate the language you are using in each! Best. Ever. #planningsimplified

I also taught it to my adult class. Since I only see them once per week for an hour and a half, I always write a “summary ” of what happened in class and I write a story based off of any video chat we create so they have something to read at home for more input.

When you write the story that was created together in class for a video chat it is great input because it is also review. If the video and story was really engaging there are lots of follow up activities you can do with a written story.

First, here is the story that we created:

Hay una chica que se llama Fernanda que vive en Colorado. Fernanda tiene 5 años. A ella le gusta mucho la nieve. En Colorado, hace mucha nieve. Es muy bonita. A ella le gusta la nieve porque le gusta hacer muñecos de nieve. Ella hace un muñeco de nieve muy grande y le da una nariz de zanahoria. El muñeco está hecho de nieve pero la nariz está hecho de una zanahoria grande y anaranjado. Fernanda también le da un nombre al muñeco de nieve. Le da el nombre “Frosty” porque no es un muñeco de nieve normal. Frosty es único y diferente. Frosty está vivo. Frosty puede mover. Frosty hace figuras de sombra (shadow) con sus manos. A Fernanda le gustan mucho las figuras de sombra y ella piensa que son fantásticas. En la mañana, hace sol y no hace nieve. Frosty no le gusta el sol porque él es un muñeco de nieve y necesita el frío. Fernanda pone Frosty en el refri, y le da un oso de peluche (teddy bear). Frosty está muy feliz porque hace mucho frío en el refri y no hace calor. Un año pasa, y Fernanda tiene 6 años. Ella abre el refri y Frosty le dice “¡HOLA!” Frosty hace figuras de sombra con Fernanda. Otro 3 años pasa y Frosty vive en el refri pero Fernanda abre el refri y siempre juega con Frosty. Cuando Fernanda tiene 18 años, ella no tiene interés en Frosty. Frosty está triste. Frosty no hace figuras de sombra y los dos no juegan. Muchos años pasan. Fernanda es adulta y trabaja en una oficina en la ciudad. Trabaja en Denver. A ella no le gusta su trabajo. Trabaja mucho en su oficina. Un día ella recuerda a su amigo Frosty. Ella va rápidamente a su casa (la casa de su mamá y papá) y mira en el refri. ¡Frosty está en el refri y está vivo! Frosty está feliz porque juega con su amiga Fernanda y la niña pequeña de Fernanda. ¡Es fantástico!

The day after doing the video chat my students came to class and I started by dramatically telling them a story in the TL about how my sweet unicorn, Uni, stole my scissors and played all night in the classroom with them and completely destroyed the story I had printed for the class. Now, Uni is in time out (literally, he is in the corner for all the kids to see) and THEY (the students) have to put the tiny shreds of paper in order again! (All I had done was print 15 copies of the story and cut it into strips, but the unicorn story is much more entertaining). So what now?

  1. Partner your kids….
    • I rarely let students CHOOSE their partners. They are rarely upset about this because the ways that I pair students inevitably allows them to work with their friends sometimes. They end up working frequently with everyone in the class.
    • Tell them to get in a line as quickly as possible without speaking and they have to be in order from shortest to tallest. You can ask them to do this EASILY in the target language… just shelter shelter shelter your vocab.
    • Pair them with the person that is standing next to them.
  2. Tell your students to spread out with their partner
    • I love not having desks and tables. There is SO much room in my class for kids to spread out and find their own space
  3. Give the students the chunks of story and tell them to start putting them in order. (I choose to tell them it is a competition)img_7933
    • I like to throw the papers up in the air above their head, just to be obnoxious and watch them scramble around for the papers.
      • I say “Oh nooooooo!” as I do this…. (added effect)
  4. Pass out a big sheet of paper and two glue sticks to each pair (as they work)
  5. Check their work
    • In order to train them to read CAREFULLY and take their time on this, I “check” their order when they say they are ready but if it is not correct I just tell them it isn’t, and not WHY. It forces them to READ more and get MORE input and problem solve themselves. (ONLY DO THIS IF YOU HAVE A GREAT RELATIONSHIP BUILT, AND YOU CAN ENSURE YOU WON’T BE RAISING AFFECTIVE FILTERS)img_7931
  6. When they are correct, students should glue the pieces to the big paper.
    • Ss will reach this stage at different times and that is ok
  7. Create further extensions as students need them
    • Tell students to highlight all of the VERBS in the document
    • If you typed up the story and changed the details, have them go through and circle all of the details that changed
    • Have them write an alternate ending in the TL
    • The point of the extensions are for all students to get to whatever level you want them to. Some students will work faster than others and it also builds anticipation if you chose to do this as a competition because students never know what the FINAL task is, because they’ll keep asking for more

In addition to doing these activities with my adults (who are always amazed at how EASY it is for them to read and understand). I give them a link to the story in textivate. I do subscribe to this every year and I love it. The students love  the “games” they can play and the competition mode. Here is this story in textivate for you to play around with if you want.

Until next time!

Happy Teaching!


La Maestra Loca



  1. Hi Annabelle, Fantastic Blog post once again! Just an FYI – the Youtube link above links to another blog post that you wrote (another fantastic blog post.) Can you fix so I can see the YouTube video you used in class? Thanks for all of these great ideas. I am learning so much from you. Gracias!

  2. As always, your ideas are absolutely wonderful! I had done a Movie Talk in all of my classes this past Tuesday, so I was looking for new ways to review the reading. The “put the story in order” and “find the difference” activities were great ways for students to go over the reading in very novel ways. Thanks for sharing your ideas with us!

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