Seven Short Animated Films for the Language Classroom

Kieran Donaghy, Director of the School for Training, writes about silent short animated films for the English language classroom.

Kieran Donaghy, Director of the School for Training, writes about silent short animated films for the English language classroom.

Animated films are ones in which individual drawings, paintings, or illustrations are photographed frame by frame. Traditionally animated films have been associated with children, however, nowadays they are designed to appeal to everyone. With the increased ease of creating animations, there has been a huge rise in the number of animated films being produced, and the vast majority of these are short animations. Many of these short animated films can be exploited in the language classroom as they are short enough to be used in a single session,  offer a complete narrative in a short space of time, have a unique capacity of grabbing and holding students’ attention, and deal with contemporary subjects and issues, such as bullying, racism, sexism, homelessness, and human rights, which are relevant to students’ lives.

Here are my seven favourite animated short films for the language classroom.

 

Umbrella

Umbrella  is a beautiful Oscar-nominated short film by Stratostorm which tells the tale of an orphaned child and his yellow umbrella.

You can watch the film below and read a lesson plan here.

 

Head Over Heels

Head Over Heels is an Oscar-winning puppet animation directed by Timothy Reckart. It can be used as a prompt for students to practise using idiomatic expressions, and talking about love and relationships.

You can watch the film below and read a lesson plan here.

 

To Do List

To Do List is an inspiring short film by Yaniv Fridman about what we do in our everyday lives. The film can be used to encourage students to reflect on their own language learning and how they can improve it.

You can watch the film below and read a lesson plan here.

 

Educate the Heart

Educate the Heart is a beautiful animated film by Giant Ant inspired by a poem by Shane Koyczan. The film deals with the themes of education and compassion.

You can watch the film below and read a lesson plan here.

 

Kindness

Kindness is a moving short film by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Thought Bubble.  The film introduces a lot of vocabulary related to personality and it is also an excellent prompt to get students talking about character and values.

You can watch the film below and read a lesson plan here.

 

 

A Single Life

A Single Life is  an innovative short film by Job, Joris & Marieke. The film is about a mysterious vinyl record that suddenly allows a young woman to travel through time.

You can watch the film below and read a lesson plan here.

 

 

Snack Attack

Snack Attack is a lovely, intelligent short animation by Eduardo Verastegui. The film can be used as a prompt for students to talk about stereotypes.

You can watch the film below and read a lesson plan here.

 

 

I hope you enjoy the films and find the lesson plans useful. Are there any short animated films that have worked well with your students? Let me know in the comments below!

If you’re interested in the use of film and video in language teaching, check out our Film and Video in Language Teaching course.

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