Spark Student Motivation: Pixar Shorts - Ideas By Jivey: For the Classroom

Spark Student Motivation: Pixar Shorts

Happy Saturday! I'm linking up with my BBB Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching to share an AWESOME way to motivate your students to practice storytelling!

Pixar short films are awesome for kids and adults!! They are always so funny, and they are WORDLESS. The lessons you can do with these films are endless. As you know, we are working on writing our snow globe stories, so in preparation, I played the Pixar short, Knick Knack. I did actually find one on YouTube where the girls didn't have huge boobs! (This was a problem for me last year, so I just played the short off of my Finding Nemo DVD.)
My students "took notes" of things they thought were important to the story as they watched the short three different times. (And they totally wanted to watch it AGAIN but I decided three was good...) We talked about the several ways that this story could be told- from the snowman's point of view, from the girl's point of view, from a narrator's point of view... we also talked about how Pixar had to "write" the story first before creating the movie, so we were pretending to be Pixar storytellers. But let me tell you........ even after all this talk, when they got with their partners, I can count on one hand how many students DIDN'T start their story with, "So there was this snowman in a snow globe who wanted to get out..." ACK!!! I stopped everyone right then and there. I realized what they all wanted to do was to summarize the film. I reminded them that they were telling a story, and then I modeled how I would do it by telling just the start of the story:

Do you ever wonder what the knick knacks on your shelf are doing when you aren't watching? Well in the case of one snowman, he only wanted to get out of his snow globe prison and experience the freedom his summer pals had, including one beautiful bikini model. As he stared out at his friends, the point of his carrot nose came into view. He thought, "this just may be sharp enough!" He pulled the carrot from his face and, with a hammer, tried to break the glass. Sadly, all he had to show for his attempt was a crooked nose placed back upon his face...

I stopped there and reminded them we want to be entertained when we hear a story, and although we all have seen the movie, you would want someone to be able to visualize what was happening in the story. As they turned back to their partner, the stories that were told were ten times better! I encourage you to try this with your class. There are some great shorts that can be used any time of the year, like La Luna, One Man Band, Day & Night, and Presto, to name a few!

I also am excited to share the winners of my Blogiversary Giveaway!! Congrats to Rachel for winning the Amazon Gift Card!! And congrats to AMC, Lana, and Allison for winning $30 to spend in my TPT store! I have already sent you an email! :o)
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  1. We are working on point of view right now. I am definitely going to incorporate these videos! Thank you!

    Fit to be Fourth

  2. That little video is hilarious! I've never seen this little shorts before. I also love the idea of writing a story about getting out of the snow globe. I bet the kids loved it.

    Literacy Spark

  3. What a great idea for point of view! You have watch out for those YouTube videos, even the commercials will get you:).

  4. What a great idea! I will definitely be using these shorts for many purposes in my classroom! THanks so much for sharing! :)

    Tales of a Teacher

  5. I haven't used these shorts before, but guess what I'll be doing next week??!! The kids will love it! I bet your students oooed and aahhhed over your super start to your story! Thanks for sharing some or my lesson plans for next week and linking up BBB!! :O)
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  6. We'll be starting POV soon as well. I never thought of using Pixar shorts -- how engaging for the students. I love how you stopped everyone when they were giving a summary and not a story and then wrote with them. Shared writing is so important!

    Have a great week!
    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  7. I have used these shorts before and then used a plot diagram or a Braidy outline (from the Speech teacher) to have the kids plan before writing their stories and it seemed to help avoid the summary syndrome. :)

  8. I'm new to your blog, and so excited to keep reading!!! Using these shorts are such a great idea for writing and POV! I'm so excited to see how I can incorporate this into my teacher. I know how much I even love to watch them, I know that my kiddos will be beyond thrilled to watch as well! Thanks for the great idea! :)

    Mrs. Bentin's Blackboard

  9. What a great way to teach POV!! I love how you used the short film! Especially since the kids love them so much!! I can't wait to try this! Thanks again for the giveaway!!
    A Tall Drink of Water

  10. I just used this Pixar short last week! Unfortunately it didn't occur to me to try and look for one without the busty was a problem. Thanks so much for the post, next year I will do a little more looking on YouTube.


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