Blog Archives

Robots Lesson Plan

With my second grade students we are doing a thematic project on toys. As in the last classes we’ve been talking about robots, I’ve decided to prepare a lesson plan on the trailer of the film “Robots”.

I started the class by asking them if they had seen the film. As most of them answered yes, I asked them how many characters there were in the film, if they remembered their names, their colours and what they can do.

After that, we watched the trailer. They were supposed to count how many robots appeared.

After watching it, I asked them: Can the robots talk, sing, walk, take photos, kick, read, cook? Then, we watched it a second time and I stopped the video each time a new robot was introduced. I questioned them:

What colour is it? Is it a boy or a girl? Is it tall or short? Is it fat or thin? Is it beautiful or ugly?

Finally, I gave each of the students a picture of one of the robots. They had to colour it and complete the sentences about it. You can download the worksheet here.

The following class, my students in groups created their own robots. They made a poster in which they draw them and wrote similar sentences about them.

Hope you find it useful and if you use it in your classes share your experience with us.  I would also love to get more ideas on how to work with this topic in my class. Thanks in advance!


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.

Monsters Inc. (Present Simple and Present Continuous)

As I have already told you in this post I love Claudio’s blog: Movie Segments to Asses Grammar Goals. I have been inspired by him so I will share with you one lesson plan I have prepared to revise the use of  Present Simple and Present Continuous. It is based on this scene from the movie Monsters Inc. You should start watching from minute 4:50 onwards :

And here go the activities:

1) Complete the sentences with the appropriate tense ( Present Simple and Present Continuous)

a)      Every day, Sulley _______________ (drive) to work. However, today they ____________ (walk)

b)      Right now, Mike _______________ (talk) to Sulley’s mum on the phone.

c)      Afterwards, they often ______________ (watch) tv, but today they __________ (also / star) on a tv commercial.

d)      Sulley and Mike _____________ (not exercise) together. Sulley ______ (do) his routine and Mike __________ (guide) him.

e)      Then, Sulley always ______________ (brush) his teeth.

f)        Sulley usually ____________ (get up) at 6:00 but today he ____________ (still/ sleep) at 6:05.

2) Watch the film and put the sentences in the correct order.

3) Write 5 sentences about what the monsters Sulley and Mike encounter on their way to work are doing at the moment.

4) Did you like the scene? Why (not)?

Hope you like it and find it useful. If you have used it, please share your experience with us. If you have more ideas to work with this particular film or with movies in general, don’t hesitate to share your views.

The Lazy Way to Planning Lessons with Films ( Part 2)

imagesI have already posted about the advantages of teaching with films in this post. However, all the pages I have found in that occasion were commercial ones. FIRST PAY and then get the lesson plan. Fortunately, yesterday I  read a twit about two wonderful blogs with loads of lesson plans based on films. And what is more: they are free. I love this initiatives of collaborative learning in which we all get a benefit.

Well, let’s go to the point. The two blogs were created by Claudio Azevedo.  He introduces himself in his blog saying “I’m a teacher at Casa Thomas Jefferson, Brasilia, Brazil. I’m a Branch Coordinator and Teacher Trainer as well. I really like movies and seeing them with “different” eyes, trying to see how I can use them in my classroom.” Apart from that, he discusses the advantages of teaching English with films in this post.  What I like the most about his blogs is that he doesn’t only share the lesson plans, but he also gives tips on how to create our own lesson plans.

Well, by this point you must be all willing to know the addresses of his blogs. The first older one is ” Movie segments to assess grammar goals”.  It cointains a series of movie segments and activities to assess or practice grammar points through fun, challenging exercises. The new one, which is only one week old, is “Movie segments for Warm-ups and follow-ups”. The lesson plans found here are to be used to brainstorm, warm up, follow up, and activate schemata, preparing the students for the topic that will be discussed in class.

Well, that’s all for now. I hope you find it as useful as I had and please Claudio, keep up the great job you are doing. If you have a good lesson plan to share don’t hesitate to contact me or Claudio,  and we would be glad to publish it in our blogs.

Lesson Plan: 9/11

Today is another anniversary of 9/11. When such schocking things take place, we tend to remember them as if it was yesterday. For that reason, you may start the lesson by asking your students “what were you doing on 9/11 2001 (when the twin towers fell)?”
There is a very good explanatory video available in Brain Pop for free during September. You will also find a quiz your students can do after watching the video.

You may also watch the trailer of the movies United 93 or World Trade Center and have a class debate on films based on true events.

Here you have some questions you might want to use during the discussion:
1) Have you seen United 93 or World Trade Union?
2) If not, do you want to see them? Why (not)?
3)If so, what did you think of them? How well do they evoke the horror of the events of that day?
4)Do you think it is right to ake a film about such events?

If you want, you can share your point of view on this issue in the comment section. Feel free to add any other idea to make this lesson plan more appealing for our students.

Lesson Plan: Earth Day!

Have you ever wondered how much “nature” your lifestyle requires? Why not take this opportunity (Earth Day, which is on 22nd March) to reflect upon what we are doing to our planet? You can start the class with a short warm up activity. This Ecological Footprint Quiz estimates how much productive land and water you need to support what you use and what you discard. Beware, you may be surprise at the results!

A good film that fits perfectly with this topic is Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”. Here you will find a list of questions that you can use to discuss with your students after watching the movie. You can finish the class by watching this video, which I have found in video jug, in order to promote some action. What can they do to help solving this problem?

Finally, if you want to revise making predictions (using goign to and will) you can find out whether they are pessimistic or optimistic about the future of our planet. Ask them to make some predictions. They can talk about the climate, the anvironment, energy, health, transport, agriculture and many others.

Hope you find it useful and don’t forget to share your ideas or experience with us.

The Lazy Way to Planning Lessons with Films

I’m sure that you are always trying to include in your classes material which is real, up-to-date and that your students find great fun. Of course, it is a very difficult combination to achieve, but it’s worth taking the trouble, because the results are optimum: your students get really engaged with the class and they learn up-to-date English.

One of the most useful resources that we can bring into the class are  films. However, we sometimes avoid working with films as it is extremely time-consuming to prepare a lesson based on them. Of course, we can resort to the old way: bring a film, give the students a few questions to answer after watching the whole of it, press play and forget about them for at least one hour and a half. We all perfectly know that that this is useless. They don’t learn a thing and most probably they answer the questions because they have already seen the film in their mother tongue.

If you want to work deeply with films in your classes and don’t want to spend too much time planning, I have found some solutions surfing the net. First of all, there is a page called Challenge-Education , in which you will find lots of lesson plans based on scenes from different films for all levels. There are some sample lessons you can download for trying purposes. I have used them and they are very effective and engaging.

If you would like to use a whole movie rather than just scenes, you should have a look at English Behind the Scenes . Here, apart from finding lesson plans for the entire movie, you will find tips on how to create activities to use with movies yourself. There are also some sample lesson plans you can download.

And now, what do you do with films in your classes? Share with us any other idea, resource or just your opinion on the topic. Looking forward to reading you.