Using the Content

I’ll be honest, I hate making quizzes and tests. Usually the content is either very artificial, or mostly unrelated to the material we’re covering in class. Well, I decided to make a quiz and to use Content from SpinTX. And I was very pleased to be able to find content that related to both the grammar and the vocabulary that we are covering in class! I had the students watch one of the videos (611) and answer questions about tolerance and the subjunctive, and then I had them read a modified version of the text from another video (635) and fill in the blanks with the correct vocabulary and verb conjugations, and then had them read a shortened version of the text from yet another video (1575) that contains a lot of the vocabulary we are going over and had them react to the text using the subjunctive with emotion/reaction, doubt/negation, and will/wish/desire. The quiz went very well, and I think that it definitely was more interesting for both myself and the students than a normal textbook-based quiz.

The tricky part was, of course, finding the videos that had high concentrations of the vocabulary and grammar that we are going over. I’ll admit that I cheated a little since I have access to the text files for all of the video clips and have some scripting knowledge. I wrote a script in Python that went through and counted the number of times each vocabulary item and grammar point that we are covering is used in each video, and then looked through the top ten hits to pick the three videos that I wound up using. And I also modified the content somewhat of two of the videos in order to increase the concentration of relevant content. But I think that it was definitely worth the little extra effort that it took to have a quiz of such a higher caliber.

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