Lesson Plan: “Strategies for learning new vocabulary with Avatar film”

Cameron’s film Avatar is in everybody’s mouth at the moment. For that reason, we can take the opportunity and bring it into the classroom, to teach our students in a fun way, how to use   context clues  when reading to infer new vocabulary. This is a useful tool all students need to know for autonomous reading and expansion of vocabulary.

The lesson plan starts with a listening activity based on the film’s trailer, in which students will be able to appreciate the wonderful “natural” world Cameron’s team has created for the occasion.

Then, they will reflect about the strategies we can use when reading a text to infer the meaning of new words from the context. They will apply this to discover the meaning of some words in a text adapted from the New York Times about the Na´vi language (a language created for the aliens in the film to speak).

They will finally listen to an extract in  Na´vi language to reflect upon the strategies we can use for understanding oral material in a foreign language.

I really hope you like this lesson plan and you have a lot of fun with your students. Don’t forget to comment on how it goes.


Posted on February 26, 2010, in Lesson Plans, Resources for tesl/tefl and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Excellent lesson plan, Sabrina. Looks like it would work well with FCE teenagers. I might try it out if you don’t mind, although I should probably watch Avatar first!

    The part on inferring meaning reminds me of an activity I did once with and FCE group using the poem Jabberwocky. Using Avatar is much more relevant.


    • Thank you so much for your kind words Michelle. Of course you can use the lesson plan. That’s the aim of sharing this information: that we can learn from each other. Let me know how it goes. By the way, I really like your blog. Thanks for all the hard work
      Kind regards!

  2. Thanks for sharing Sabrina. I teach at a school where the kids are 90% Low German speaking Mexican Mennonite. They learn English here in Canada and the language of their religion is High German. They have no written language of their own and when I am teaching them science, there is no question in my mind that it is like a fourth language for them. I love this lesson plan for several reasons; the metacognition of strategies to decode language, the metacognition of strategies for listening and learning, and the tie-in to biodiversity and science. I am totally going to use many of these ideas and strategies at the beginning of the next year to help scaffold their learning. Thanks again.

    • I’m glad you liked it and I really hope it is effective for you. I have taught that lesson in a totally different context. With my adult in-company students of English as a foreign language. It is wonderful to see that something I have planned have sparked so many ideas to a teacher in a totally different context.

  3. Thanks for the interesting activity, Sabrina. We are approaching Avatar from the point of view of values, and how they influence individuals, cultures and our school. Most of my students are multi-cultural, and many come from former British colonies. A few are ESOL so the activity is most apt.

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