TED Talks – Greta Thunberg (2018): The disarming case to act right now on climate change


Video worksheet


Worksheet based on short TED talk by Greta Thunberg, just as she was coming to prominence as a teenage climate activist.


Climate change is an extremely topical subject, for good reason. This worksheet is based on a TED Talk by the teenage climate activist, Greta Thunberg when she was just 16. The ppt below can be used to brainstorm learners’ prior knowledge about the speaker. As she speaks very clear, articulate ELF (English as a Lingua Franca), this worksheet could work from B1+ (with subtitles). From C1+, try listening without subtitles first and then checking with the subtitles on the second listening.


Greta Thunberg intro

Greta Thunberg TED

Greta Thunberg TED KEY

Link to video


TED Talks: Jigsaw Listening – Mobile phones


mobile phone use

Ted Talks Worksheets and ppt discussion


Two worksheets (in print or paper-free ppt versions) related to TED talks on the subject of the (mis)use of mobile devices, followed by a ppt discussion/debate on using mobiles in class. Students have to negotiate and agree on what is and isn’t acceptable and draw up a code of good conduct. I find it very useful to do this early on in the course, as learners in different contexts (and especially of different age groups) may have different perceptions of mobile ‘etiquette’.


Each of these activities can be used independently, but I find they work very well together, especially if you can use the two talks as a jigsaw listening before moving on to the debate:

  • In-class activity: The discussion on mobile use in class is a stand-alone activity, but it is very helpful to watch one or both of the TED talks on the subject beforehand to generate ideas. There are equivalent worksheets and ppt (paper-free) versions of the activities for each TED talk.
  • Jigsaw listening: Two groups in different rooms work through the exercises on their assigned talk, controlling the subtitles  & repetition of sections as they wish. Learners re-group and summarise the talks to each other before debating the issue of mobile use in class.
  • Jigsaw listening: Flipped version. Learners are set a different talk and corresponding worksheet for homework. They summarise talks to each other in the following class before the class discussion.

This activity was inspired by Anastasia Dedyukhina’s plenary talk at Innovate ELT conference, 2019.


TED Talk 1 Adam Alter (2017) Why screens make us less happy

TED Talk 2 Anastasia Dedyukhina (2016): Could you live without a smartphone?



There is a worksheet (paper and ppt version) and teacher’s notes with key for both talks, The debate on mobile phone use in class is on ppt only and has accompanying teacher’s notes,

TED Talk 1 (worksheet) Adam Alter – Why screens make us less happy – student

TED Talk 1 (ppt) Adam Alter 2017

TED Talk 1 Teacher’s notes Adam Alter – Why screens make us less happy – teacher

TED Talk 2 (worksheet) Anastasia Dedyukhina – Addicted to phones – student

TED Talk 2 (ppt) Anastasia Dedyukhina 2016

TED Talk 2 Teacher’s notes Anastasia Dedyukhina – Addicted to phones – teacher

PPT discussion Mobiles in class

PPT discussion Teacher’s notes Mobiles in class. Teacher’s notes

Advert worksheet: We are what we do…


Video worksheet


To round off the year, and kick off the new one: An activity based on a short (1 min,) advert by NatWest Bank, entitled ‘We are what we do’. Aimed at marketing this bank as an ethical company, the advert portrays images of social issues and uses lexical opposites (or near-opposites) to illustrate its theme.


I’ve used this worksheet with levels from A2-C1, as the images are very clear and powerful, and the vocabulary is relatively simple. Students brainstorm opposites of adjectives and nouns related to social problems, then watch to check their answers. Works well to supplement classes based around vocabulary of personality, or as a springboard for discussion on social issues. Personally, I’m going to use it in my first classes of 2019 to introduce the topic of new year’s resolutions.

The link below takes you to the vídeo with subtitles, which I use with lower levels. There are versions online without subtitles, which are easy to find.


Video worksheet We are what we do – student

Video worksheet We are what we do – teacher

Link to video

Iceland Palm Oil ad, Christmas 2018

iceland ad

Christmas activity – vídeo worksheet


The latest in a succession of worksheets and activities based on TV Christmas ads, this one might be interesting for those of you who like a dash of polítics with your Christmas cheers. The theme has made the news recently, largely due to shocking vídeos like this one:



This lesson is based on the 2018 Iceland Christmas ad which was banned for being too political. The lesson plan introduces the controversy surrounding palm oil with a T/F activity. The worksheet for the ad itself focuses on pronunciation (rhyming) and vocabulary to guide learners towards understanding the message. Finally, a follow-up discussion invites students to share their opinions and suggest ways of reducing the problem.


Iceland 2018 Christmas Ad ‘Rang-Tan’ – student

Iceland 2018 Christmas Ad ‘Rang-Tan’ – Teacher

Iceland 2018 Palm Oil (ppt)

Link to video



English for beginners

Polish Grandpa

Christmas advert – worksheet


It’s that time of year again!

Over the next couple of days, I’ll be adding a few vídeo worksheets to use as Christmas activities. Most of them are based on adverts, which is itself a discussion point – is that what the spirit of Christmas is all about now?


Activity based on a short (3-minute) Polish advert for an online auction site. It provides listening practice for English in a non-native accent and acts as a springboard for discussion on themes such as language learning and living in other countries.

I’ve used this worksheet with levels from A2 upwards. The language is simple and easy to understand and the themes (family in other countries, emigration, learning languages, etc.) are fairly universal.


Polish Grandpa – student

Polish Grandpa – teacher

Link to video


BBC documentary: Trading Ages

trading ages

Video Worksheet

This ten-minute clip from the BBC documentary ‘Trading Ages’ can be used to supplement unit 2B in English File Upper-Intermediate (3rd Edition), or can be used on its own as a springboard for discussion about prejudice and ageing.

Image credit: bbc.co.uk


Video worksheet Trading Ages – student

Video worksheet Trading Ages – teacher



Here’s the link to the vídeo clip

Reference: Latham-Koenig, C., & Oxenden, C. (2014) English File Upper-Intermediate. 3rd Edition. Oxford University Press.

TED Talks: Jigsaw Listening – Sustainable Development Goals

SDGs pic

TED talks worksheet


In this activity, students watch two TED talks on a related subject (UN Sustainable Development Goals) and answer different sets of questions. They then share their information and discuss some of the issues raised


This activity can be done:

  • as a jigsaw listening, with students in two groups in different rooms
  • as a ‘flipped’ activity: students in groups A or B watch different vídeos at home, do the exercises, then share their information in the next class
  • as a whole class activity (talk 1) and then at home (talk 2)

It also works as a supplementary activity to Headway Advanced (4th Edition, Soars, J & L, & Hancock, P. Oxford University Press) Unit 2.


Introductory vídeo: Sustainable Development Goals

TED Talk 1: Michael Green (2015)

TED Talk 2: Johan Rockström (2018)


There is an introductory PowerPoint, a worksheet for each of the two talks and teacher’s notes with key for each worksheet. The vídeo links are included above.

TED talks SDGs intro

TED talks SDGs talk 1 – student

TED talks SDGs talk 1 – teacher

TED talks SDGs talk 2 – student

TED talks SDGs talk 2 – teacher