Movies on Mute

film unrolling behind a movie film canister

Purpose:  A fun and engaging way to practice speaking that incorporates media and encourages student to get creative and utilize critical thinking skills.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Materials Needed:  A short clip from a movie or TV show. Ideally the clip will have lots of action or physical humor, or show a scene where something confusing or mysterious is happening.


1.       Inform the class that they are going to watch a short video, but that they won’t be able to hear anything. Tell the students that they should try and remember as much as they can from the video.

2.       Play the video on mute for the class with everyone watching. Don’t allow anyone to take notes. If the class requests it and the clip is short, you may want to play the video more than once so that the students feel more comfortable.

3.       Have the students talk in partners or small groups about what they saw happen in the video. At this point, they should only describe what they saw. Encourage them to be as detailed as possible.

4.       Tell the students that you will play the video for them again, but that this time you will ask them to explain the why behind what is happening in the scene, and that they should be prepared to justify their explanation with evidence (e.g. The woman was throwing food at the man because he was her husband and she was angry at him. I believe this because they were sitting in a dining room and there was a picture of the two of them holding hands on the wall.)Encourage them to be creative in their explanations by sharing several interesting examples.

5.        Play the video for the class a second time, then have everyone discuss their explanation of the scene with their partner or small group.

6.       Share out explanations of the scene as a whole class. If there is time, students can defend their responses.

7.       Have the class watch the scene again, this time with audio, and then compare their explanations of the scene with what actually happened.

Modifications: You can give the class other topics to discuss after they watch the video without sound. For example the students can share what they think the characters were saying, where the video takes place, what happened right before the scene, or what will happen right after the scene.

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