Posted in Recommended Websites, Video Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Idiom Video Clips

I just came across this amazing set of short video clips which illustrate English idioms literally. Show the first, acted out section students have to guess the idiom, then they have to deduce the meaning.

Update: Pearson have moved their content but you can now find the videos on youtube:

Here’s a little gap fill and conversation exercise I’ve made for the first 6 idioms:

Expressions

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Posted in Grammar Classes, Video Classes

Video Lesson: Jurassic Park 3rd Conditionals

This is a lesson plan to practice the 3rd conditional using clips from the film Jurassic Park. There are two different activities, one for FCE level and one for CAE/CPE.

FCE

Use the Jurassic Park powerpoint to introduce the characters from the film and the formula for the 3rd conditional and then show the t-rex attack video:

Then students come up with as many 3rd conditional sentences as they can.

If Ian hadn’t run to the toilet, the t-rex wouldn’t have eaten Gennaro.

If the kids hadn’t been so stupid, the t-rex would have left them alone.

If Alan hadn’t distracted the t-rex, it would have eaten the kids.

You can also repeat the exercise with Dennis Nedry’s death scene:

CAE/CPE

The video can also be used to practice the more advanced conditionals needed for the CAE and CPE exams. Use my prezi on advanced conditionals to go over the grammar first. Then introduce the characters and story with the powerpoint from the link above.

Use the video to practice conditionals with noun phrases:

If it hadn’t been for Alan’s bravery, the t-rex would have eaten the kids.

But for Ian’s stupidity, Gennaro wouldn’t have been eaten.

Or inverted conditionals:

Had the kids not attracted the t-rex’s attention, it might have left them alone.

Had it not been for the glass, the t-rex would have eaten the kids.

I recommend giving students the noun phrases you want them to use before watching, then let them watch the video. Afterwards, they make the sentences together in pairs.

Noun phrases:

the flashlight/torch

Alan Grant’s bravery

the kid’s stupidity

Ian Malcolm’s stupidity

the glass

Again, if you have time or if you want to recap at the end of the class or the beginning of the next lesson, show the Nedry video.

Follow up:

Composition: Review/letter of complaint about a trip to Jurassic Park. It would be a good way to practice formal phrases for complaining but in a funny context.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Video Classes

TED talks lesson: The happy secret to better work by Shawn Achor

This is a lesson plan for higher levels (C1+) based around Shawn Achor’s TED talk “The happy secret to better work” about ways to apply positive psychology in our day to day lives.

Shawn speaks very quickly, so some students may have trouble keeping up. I suggest setting the video as homework and giving students the link to the transcript as well (you can find it on the TED website); in this way they can watch and rewatch to ensure they understand it fully.

Or download the transcript here.

Video:

Or alternatively you could watch it in class.

Vocabulary and Comprehension questions:

Before watching give out the handout and read through the vocabulary and comprehension questions.

Vocabulary:

  • Boarding school – school where the students live on campus
  • Bunk bed – two single beds one above the other
  • Tailor st towards sb – to make something specifically to fit somebody
  • Glean information – to gather/collect
  • To be at the vanguard of something – to be leading st (This laboratory is at the vanguard of cancer research)
  • Advil – a painkilling drug

Comprehension Questions:

  1. What happens in the anecdote Shawn tells at the start of the talk? His sister falls off the bed and he uses positive psychology to stop her from crying and waking up their parents.
  2. Why does he tell the anecdote? To introduce the topic of positive psychology
  3. What is the purpose of the graph he shows? To introduce the idea of “the cult of the average” and his cynicism about modern psychological studies.
  4. What example of “the cult of the average” does he give? The speed at which children learn to read.
  5. What effect does watching the news have on Shawn’s brain? It changes his perspective of the ratio between positive and negative things.
  6. What is “medical school syndrome”? When medical students start studying symptoms of different disease, they start to think they have them all.
  7. What do Shawn’s friends assume about Harvard students? That they will all be happy just because they go to Harvard
  8. What does Shawn think of the boarding school’s “wellness week”? That it is actually a “sickness week” because it focuses too much on negative things
  9. What problems with the way happiness and success are related in society does Shawn highlight? That happiness is always on the other side of success
  10. How can we rewire our brains to be more positive? Through techniques such as: documenting our gratitude for 3 things a day, by journaling a positive experience every day, doing more exercise, meditating, and random or conscious act of kindness.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Which of these activities do you do?
  2. Which of these activities would you consider doing?
  3. Do you keep a diary/journal? Did you use to when you were younger?
  4. What is the message of the video?
  5. In which fields do you think this theory would be helpful?
  6. How could they be implemented?
  7. Tell the class a similar anecdote about your childhood to the one Shawn tells at the start of the video.
Posted in Conversation Classes, Video Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Video Lesson: Mr. Bean

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Just a quick note…

Before you use these materials… We’ve created a new podcast aimed at B2+ level English students and teachers alike. You can listen for free at our SoundCloud page below. We have released 5 episodes so far and you can download teacher’s notes to accompany them from our Facebook page or from this blog. All comments and feedback welcome! Give us a like and a share 😉

https://soundcloud.com/2tspod


https://www.facebook.com/2tspodcast/

This is a video lesson based around the video “Mr. Bean packs his suitcase” thanks to British Council for bringing it to my attention in their lesson plan on making predictions but I’ve adapted it for use in different ways with different levels.

Kids and lower levels

The aim of this lesson plan is to practice holiday vocabulary (clothes and items that go in a suitcase) and some basic grammar structure.

Project a picture of a suitcase on to the board (or draw one) and ask “What do you put in your suitcase when you go on holiday?”  Brainstorm things that you pack on the board. Make sure students know:

  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • swimming shorts/trunks
  • towel
  • underpants
  • can of baked beans
  • cloth/flannel
  • soap
  • book
  • suitcase
  • trousers
  • shorts
  • shoes
  • teddy bear
  • scissors

You could also use this quizlet set to go over clothes vocabulary.

If children are old enough to write, put them in pairs and hand out post-it-notes and a pencil to each pair. Tell them they are going to watch a video of a silly man packing his suitcase, they have to write 5 things on the post-it that they think he will put in his suitcase. Have them copy the following:

Mr. Bean will put

  1. _________
  2. _________
  3. _________
  4. _________
  5. _________

in his suitcase.

Then stick all the post-its on the board and show the video. The team that guesses the most objects correctly wins. Have them read out their original post-it using past simple affirmative and negative forms: “Mr.Bean put a shirt in his suitcase. He didn’t put a mobile phone in his suitcase.”

Higher levels – video dictations

Ask students: What do you have to do before you go on holiday?

Buy your ticket, pack your suitcase, find your passport etc.

Pre-teach the following vocabulary:

Objects:

  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • swimming shorts/trunks
  • towel
  • underpants
  • can of baked beans
  • cloth/flannel
  • soap
  • book
  • suitcase
  • trousers
  • shorts
  • shoes
  • teddy bear
  • scissors

Verbs:

  • to fit (the chair doesn’t in my bag)
  • to take out (I took a pen out of my bag)
  • to pack a suitcase
  • to swap (I swapped the shirt for a t-shirt)
  • pick up (I picked up the pen)
  • throw away (I threw away the coke can)
  • to choose (I chose the red shirt)
  • to do eeny-meany-miney-mo
  • to realise (I realised I had forgotten my passport)
  • to squeeze (I squeezed the toothpaste)
  • to snap in half (He snapped the pencil in half)

Put students in pairs and arrange them so that 1 is facing the screen and one has their back to the screen. Tell them that the one facing the screen is going to watch 20 seconds of the video then describe it to their partner, their partner will then repeat back what they’ve heard to make sure they have understood. Students then change positions and repeat until minute 3:14. Then let all students watch the end together. Alternatively students could come up with predictions for how the video will end.

I recommend pausing the video quite frequently so that students can concentrate on describing 2 or three actions accurately rather than trying to describe a big chunk of the video.

Then replay the whole video from the start so that everyone can watch it together, ask students if they think their partner described the action well.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Video Classes

TED talks lesson: Logan Laplante on “Hack-schooling”

This is a discussion class for higher levels (high B2 – C2) based around the Logan Laplante’s TED talk video on “hack-schooling” a form of home schooling based round applicable skills and hands-on experience.

The video is 11 minutes long so I set it for homework the lesson before so that students could watch and rewatch as many times as they needed to fully understand it. Alternatively, you could watch it in class if you have time.

Vocabulary

Logan uses some skier/skater American slang, for example:

To be stoked – to be excited about/interested in something

to be bummed out – to be annoyed/disappointed

Other vocab that might need highlighting:

To log out of reality – to escape from reality

mashup – a mixture/fusion of different elements

hacker mindset – a mindset is a set of attitudes a person has

Discussion questions

  1. What was your first impression of Logan?
  2. How old is he?
  3. Is he a typical 13 year old?
  4. What are the 8 keys to happiness? (Exercise/diet and nutrition/time in nature/contribution and service to others/relationships/recreation/religious and spiritual)
  5. What do you think of this idea?
  6. How does he define a “hacker”? (A person who changes and improves established systems)
  7. What is “hack-schooling”? (opportunistic learning that doesn’t follow a curriculum with no fixed structure)
  8. What do you think of this idea?
  9. How and what does Logan learn?
  10. Is it for everyone?
  11. Is it only for people from a privileged background?
  12. “Schools are orientated towards making a living rather than making a life” What do you think of this statement? Do you agree?
  13. Do students today learn applicable skills?
  14. What do you think Logan is going to be when he grows up?
  15. What would your friends say if you pulled your children out of school?

Role-play

Put students in pairs of groups of 3 and have them role play the last question, student A has decided to pull their kids out of school to teach them at home, student B thinks they are crazy!

Debate

“The education system does not prepare students for life.”

Split group in to two groups, 1 in support and 1 against the motion. Follow standard debate structure, 2 minute opening arguments, rebuttals etc.

Posted in Grammar Classes, Video Classes

Inversionana Jones: Video inversion lesson

This is a lesson plan based around clips from the Indiana Jones films to teach inversion structures. Specifically the following ones:

No sooner had I sat down than the phone rang.

Scarcely/hardly/barely do you enter the restaurant when you smell the delicious food.

Part 1 – Introducing the structures

Print out this handout and cut it up into separate words, keeping the “No sooner, hardly, barely, scarcely, than and when cards for yourself.” I laminated the words for future use and printed the “No sooner, hardly etc.” parts on orange paper.

Give out the cards to students in group and have them order them into correct sentences. Either do this on a central table where everyone can see, on the floor or have the students come and blu-tac the sentences on the board.

As soon as I had sat down the phone started ringing.

As soon as you enter the restaurant you can smell the delicious food.

As soon as we had stepped off the plane, it started raining.

Tell students that we can use inversion to express the same thing as these sentences in 4 different ways. Now use the “No sooner/hardly/barely etc.” cards to transform the sentences. Be sure to draw their attention to the way in which you invert the auxiliary verb or add it if it’s not in the original sentence. Note: if this is a revision class have the students do it themselves.

No sooner had I sat down, than the phone started ringing.

Barely do you enter the restaurant, when you can smell the delicious food.

Scarcely had we stepped off the plane, when it started raining.

Draw student’s attention to the use of “than” with no sooner and “when” with the others. Have them copy the following formula:

Inversion Phrase + aux verb + subject + verb

Hardly had I sat down

Part 2 – Indiana Jones Clips

Now you can show them the Indiana Jones clips, tell them to watch the action and look out for actions which can be described using the structures:

No sooner had he swapped the sandbag for the statue, than the temple began to collapse. Encourage students to look for more.

Barely had the Nazis got on the boat when Indy escaped on his motorbike. Encourage students to look for more.

Scarcely had the Nazi drunk from the fake Holy Grail, when he grew old and disintegrated. Encourage students to look for more.

There are hundreds of other video clips that can be used to teach these structures, let me know which other ones you find.

Follow up

Set a composition in which students need to describe an exciting activity they’ve done, encourage them to use the structures to make a narrative more exciting.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Listening Classes, Video Classes

Past Modals of Deduction: The Hangover

hangover

Just a quick note…

Before you use these materials… We’ve created a new podcast aimed at B2+ level English students and teachers alike. You can listen for free at our SoundCloud page below. You can download teacher’s notes to accompany them from our Facebook page or from this blog. All comments and feedback welcome! Give us a like and a share 😉

https://soundcloud.com/2tspod


https://www.facebook.com/2tspodcast/

Past Modals of Deduction: The Hangover

This is a lesson plan based around the theme of hangovers in which students get to grips with past modals of deduction, and question formation.

Introduction

What is hangover?

Do you get hangovers?

When was the last time you had one?

What’s the worst hangover you can remember?

Do any specific drinks give you a worse hangover?

Part 1:

Give out the situation handout.

Read out the situation and clear up any vocabulary issues.

You wake up on your sofa with a very sore head. Your friends are all sleeping on the floor of the living room. One of your friends is wearing a wedding dress. You have a big bruise on your knee. There is an unfamiliar cat walking around the room. The room smells of vomit. Your car is not outside.

What happened last night???

Possible past actions Could/might/may have + past part.

 

My friend might have got married!
Almost certain past actions

 

Must have + past part. We must have got really drunk.
Impossible past actions

 

Can’t have + past part. I can’t have driven home.
Expressing regret

 

Should/shouldn’t have + past part. We shouldn’t have drunk so much.

 

First brainstorm the questions for the mysteries.

Where did I leave the car?

Where did the cat come from?

Why is my friend wearing a wedding dress?

Why did I fall asleep on the sofa?

Why does my head hurt?

How did I hurt my knee?

Why does the house smell like vomit?

Part 2

Tell students you are going to show them a clip from the film “The Hangover” that contains a similar situation. Tell them that while they watch they should make a note of the different mysteries.

After watching brainstorm the mysteries, putting all of them on the board paying special attention to question formation.

Then have students speculate on the mysteries using past modals of deduction.

Follow up

Put students in groups and have them write new hangover situations with lots of mysteries, they then exchange situations with another group and speculate about each other’s situations.