Technology-aided "True/False" exercise as a language lesson foundation


1 to 2 minute video conversation (no talking heads!), computer or VCR+monitor.  It is best to use digital video.

15 to 40  target-language statements to be judged "true" or "false" (nothing arranged in chronological order)

     You hear the word ...
     You see a ...
     You hear the phrase...
     Statements about the characteristics of any object visible
     Statements about the description of any person visible
     Other statements about background and foreground
     Statements about what characters wear
     Statements about what characters do
     Statements about what characters say


After previewing activities, and perhaps as students are watching the video:

1. Have them complete the "true" or "false" exercise.

2. Present a list of words and have them underline those they think they hear.

3. Turn the statements relating to words and specific things seen into questions in a present or past tense (Do you see... Do you hear... Did you see... Did you hear...). Students answer in the appropriate tense, using complete sentences.

4. Run the video without sound, freeze-framing a number of "true/false" moments.  Have students  read the applicable statement, accompanied by the judgment: "It's true", "It's false".

5. Take "true" narrative statements and arrange them in sequential order (this can be a team activity).

6. Take the above and write a smooth narrative, adding sequencing words  (then, next, etc.)

7. Have them examine the "false" statements and make negative statements out of them where applicable.

8. Extend this by having students explain in the target-language why the statements are "false".

9. Have them write what might have happened or been said, had "false" statements been "true".

10. Have them pick the most difficult "true" or "false" statement and explain why it was difficult.

11. Have them watch the video write a few of their own "true" or "false" statements about it.


Students have a path toward comprehension of whole target-language video by first determining a number of statements that are either true or false about it.  Since the statements themselves are generally 3rd person paraphrases, they give students a 1st step toward doing the same for reporting conversations they witness in real life.  Students must relate printed word to image, and sound to printed word. They must create with the language, under varying degrees of teacher control.  They expand comprehension further by asking "why", "what if", and by extending the quiz with new observations.  There are also possibilities for TPR interaction. A number of the activities suggested can be programmed for autonomous learning, using applications like "Hot Potatoes".

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