MovieTalk Activity: El Hombre Elegante

In the past, I was not the biggest fan of using MovieTalk. I have had trouble with getting students to engage without complaining that we’re stopping the movie every few seconds to describe what is happening.

But at ACTFL 2018, I saw a few different presentations that had a variation of the MovieTalk structure. In this different variation, the teacher started by showing still pictures from the video and describing everything that was happening in each picture. Then, they would show the movie after they had gone through the whole thing. The first one I tried doing this way is a Christmas MovieTalk activity from Dustin Williamson using a video from Simon’s Cat (a series of animated videos about a man and his cat).

The first big benefit I found in doing MovieTalk this was was that I had more control over what the students were seeing. I could create the narrative based on what the students were responding to–I could emphasize some details and leave out others as needed for each class.

Since finding this way to use MovieTalk, I have tried a few times with making my own presentations and using them before the video. I also have experimented with writing my own stories to go with the videos. The most recent one that I’ve done this way is based on the video “Equestrian on Rollerblades Rides Miniature Horse.” I saw this video a few days ago (before the time of this writing) and decided to use it. So I took some screenshots and created a narrative about the video.

The thing about this video is that it is very short, only 23 seconds. There is no plot; the video is just a man in a tuxedo, top hat, and rollerblades “riding” a miniature horse out of the stable and away from the farm. But using the screenshots along with some fun Bitmojis of myself (to help with vocabulary comprehension), I was able to write a narrative that fits around the events in the video.

I start, as I do with all my stories and MovieTalks, by naming the character and giving him an age and saying where he lives (in this case, I tell them he lives on a farm). Then, I go through his clothes and we talk about what elegant means and formal vs casual attire.

Next, the students find out that the man in the story has to travel. The following slide has only the question, “Why does the man need to travel?” (in the TL). Then, we discuss why he would need to leave and I use one of the students’ suggestions. He is in the stable and needs to get a horse to travel but he has a problem: He is afraid of large horses! Luckily, there is a small horse (the miniature horse, but I just call it a “caballo pequeño” for the sake of comprehensibility). Next, the man and the horse leave the stable and are on their way out. Finally, after the last slide, we discuss where they might be going and what could happen next. This will change depending on what their reason for leaving is (based on what the students said earlier on in the story) and the age and proficiency levels of the class.

After coming up with a few suggestions, I have the students do an extension activity: younger ones do a comic-strip retell or summary of what happened in the story, older ones extend the story in Spanish and tell us what happens.

After all of this is over, they are clamoring to watch the video, so we do. (And then we watch it 3 or 4 more times because it is so short and entertaining.)

This is a fun one and I hope you get a lot of laughs and a lot of CI with it. Please feel free to use it and to adapt it however you’d like to! Please share any fun stories that come from using it in the comments!

The presentation is available on Google Slides.


  1. My MovieTalk for Pizza Cat from Simon’s Cat felt like my most successful one ever – not that I have done a lot, ha! But two thumbs up for Simon’s Cat! Though in my application we used it as a CI bridge to a PBLL target so it was targeted input. Just to say, teachers with many different CI approaches can make great use of MovieTalk! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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