Silent film footage can supplement the content of most classes with relative ease. Though I tend to use comedy since my ELLs have very limited English, I also have documentary footage of big historical events (such as tours of the Titantic before it started on its voyage to New York City). Films open a window in time for students where they can see how people went about their every day lives then. Though it is a movie clip, the city is still NY in 1928. So if my goal is to have them compare NY now with NY then (comparison/contrast writing), they have details to refer to as they complete double-double graphic organizers (Google this within the Blog Search feature) with their partners. Upon finishing their notes (double-bubble), the class shares out the contrasts/similarities they discovered. I would then chart their categories (fashion, transportation, cars, etc.) This type of activity would also work for a history class as well. Now, they are fully prepared to begin their essay
As a teacher, I weave in such materials before I officially start a lesson. The clips are short, but packed with details students will pull from as I go through the lesson. To motivate kids to want to fully participate, teachers need to be creative as all of you already know:) This is just one way to accomplish this.
NYC in 1928 (this is the comedy clip that I have used to show contrast in an ELD writing class).
OPEN VIDEO PROJECT -- if you are a content teacher, you may want to save this link. It is a free collection of documentary footage back to the first film ever recorded. Again, all the clips are short so they would not take up much of your class time.
I hope you enjoy these sites.
ELL TEACHER PROS