Time for a seasonal dose of schmaltz, this year courtesy of Sky/Xfinity TV. I’ll let you (and your learners) decide if it’s a homage to a much-loved childhood classic or something entirely different.
This is a video based on an advert for a satellite TV company that reunites the characters of Elliott and E.T. from the eponymous film. As there is very little dialogue, the activity can be used at lower levels, to introduce vocabulary related to Christmas, family and nostalgia and, at higher levels, as a springboard for discussion of growing up, change and (potentially) the exploitation of the season. There are both powerpoint and paper versions of the student activities. I’d recommend the ppt format, not only to save paper, but also to make better use of some of the images used to introduce the ad. Exploit the images to elicit the story, characters, actors etc. for those students who may not have seen it (if not, why not?).
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.
Worksheet inspired by the updated version of the song ‘Ironic’ (for millennials) by Alanis Morissette, shown on the Late Late Show with James Corden in 2015.
Discussion worksheet on the theme of millennials, focussing on vocabulary of personality traits and new technology. Learners listen to an updated version of the 90s classic ‘Ironic’ by Alanis Morissette, updated for Gen Y, and discuss their reactions. I used this to supplement unit 11 of Headway Advanced (on the subject of new technology), but it could also work at lower levels for discussion of personality, generation (gaps), etc.
I’ve uploaded both the ppt and pdf version here. The ppt version includes the song and has more animations, but it is a heavier file. You can adapt it if you want, but please remember to credit me if you do!
An advert is not just for Christmas! You’ve probably noticed a number of John Lewis ads on this blog and I make no apology for adding another one, even if it isn’t Christmas.
Video worksheet based on the 2009 Christmas ad. Yes, it’s commercial and portrays an aspirational lifestyle perhaps not in keeping with the times, but I think that can be used as a springboard for discussion: how much has changed in the 10 years since this advert first came out? As for language, I’ve used this worksheet as a way to introduce the indirect object passive at B1 -B2 level (challenging for Spanish speakers as there is no equivalent in their L1). Plus, the song is a classic!
Worksheet based on a TED talk given by a 13-year old boy, Logan LaPlante, about his experiences of homeschooling.
This worksheet is based on a TED Talk (the link below has subtitles in English). It can be used to introduce the topics of education, parenting and happiness and as a springboard for discussion on the subject of homeschooling. It is designed to be used at higher levels (C1+) and would supplement units 7 (happiness) and 8 (Gender/Parenting) in New Headway Advanced (4th Edition, Soars, J & L, & Hancock, P. Oxford University Press).
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.
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.