Why Does.My Video Have Music In This Video Undet It The Headless Horseman Rides Again

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The Headless Horseman Rides Again

Every year during the month of October and sometimes at the beginning of November, I show my EFL students the Disney animated version of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. The video serves several purposes both didactic and non-didactic. It continues to be popular among students regardless of their age, major or occupation.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Most of you are probably familiar with Washington Irving’s classic American short story, originally written in 1819-1820, based on a German folktale. A transient schoolmaster, Icabod Crane, arrives at the tiny colonial burg of Sleepy Hollow located near Tarrytown, Westchester County, New York State. As he integrates into the local society, he falls in love with the daughter of a rich farmer, Katrina van Tassel. The superstitious pedagogue battles a local rival for the favors of the fair maid. On the night of October 31st during festivities at Van Tassel Manor, ghost stories told by the guests bring out Ichabod’s worst fears. One story in particular, that of a headless horseman who rides one night every year in search of a new head, terrifies the headmaster more than anything else. The hapless school teacher later encounters the legendary Headless Horseman and… well, if you don’t know the rest of the story, it’s worth a read.

setting the stage

The full-color animated feature runs about 30 minutes, so it’s short enough to fit well into a 90-minute session. I prepare a two-page worksheet to help students follow the story and extract key information as they watch. To set the general stage we are talking about legends in Colombia which may include:

o The Three Crosses (Las Tres Cruces)

o Chupacabra (like a female “Boogeyman”)

o El Duanda (similar to an elf)

o Pate Sole (like a one-legged “Bigfoot”)

Are you superstitious?

After watching the story and working on the task page, we check answers and responses. We talk about their likes and dislikes which may be similar to those seen in the story. I also ask about their superstitions and reactions to situations like:

o Mirror breakage

o A black cat or a black butterfly approaches them

o Using a broom to ward off bad luck

o Walking under the ladder

The activity, in general, is useful for English levels from beginners to high intermediate and above. It serves to illustrate some aspects of US history, culture, and customs related to the fall of this year.

The worksheet is available

If you have access to this particular video and would like a copy of the worksheet I use, email me your request at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com and I will be happy to send you one right away.

Although I’m not a big proponent of using whole movies for their own sake in the EFL classroom, I prefer to use short videos of 5 minutes or so every now and then. Audio visuals such as videos do help lower the affective filter of students and can greatly promote learning when used intelligently.

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