Here’s a compilation of video clips that can be used in class for listening skills, observation, collecting information, and for fun.
‘Screen Test’ was a children’s TV show on the BBC from 1970 – 1984. A group of children were shown short clips of films, then asked questions about what they had seen.
First up is a clip I’ve used several times, ‘Summer Holiday’ starring Cliff Richard and his backing band The Shadows.
1 Summer Holiday
What colour was the first car behind the bus ?
red // white // blue ?
2. What was the number of the bus ?
9 // 19 // 28 ?
3. What was the road sign at the beginning of the clip ?
London // Berlin // Paris ?
4. How many children wore a hat ?
1 // 2 // no children ?
5. How many men were riding bicycles ?
3 // 4 // 6 ?
6. What did Cliff, the driver, eat ?
a sandwich // a biscuit or cookie // nothing ?
BONUS POINTS – Can anyone sing the song – just two lines
“We’re all going on a summer holiday // we’re all going for a week or two.”
2 World’s tallest buildings
1) How tall was the Philadelphia City Hall ?
2) Where was the Singer Building ?
3) What year was the Bank of Manhattan Trust finished ?
4) How tall is the Chrysler Builder ?
5) The Empire State Building has two different heights – why ?
6) In what year did Chicago have the tallest building ?
7) What was the first tallest building in Asia ?
8) How tall is the Dubai Creek Tower planned to be ?
Answers: 1) 167m / 548 ft 2) New York City (NYC) 3) 1930 4) 319m / 1046 ft 5) first is height of building, second is height to the tip. 6) 1973 7) Petronas Tower in Malaysia 8) 1321m / 4351 ft
3 Ancient Egyptian Gods
1) What was the name of the Sun God ?
2) Which God was a writer ?
3) Anubis had the head of which animal ?
4) Would you see Nut in the day or night, and why ?
5) What was the name of the lioness ?
6) What animal was Bastet ?
Answers 1) Ra 2) Thoth 3) a jackal 4) night because she was the star goddess 5) Sekmet 6) a cat
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Tonight’s class will focus on the town of Green Bank, Virginia (which is a southern state in the USA). Green Bank is a very small town. The population in 2019, according to Wikipedia, was 182 yet it has become famous as the town without Wi-Fi. Wireless internet is banned and mobile phones (cell phones USA) are unable to make or receive calls, nor can they send texts. The reason …
Telescopes can be used for light or for sound. The above picture shows the radio telescope, which is 485ft tall, at Green Bank. It listens out for sounds from space. You may hear electromagnetic radiation in the class video.
Light and sound travel in waves. A star will emit light waves but electromagnetic radiation can also travel by radio waves. Giant telescopes are situated in areas with low light pollution while radio telescopes need to be in areas without Wi-Fi or mobile telephone, which can cause interference. You may have experienced this on an airplane when you are told to switch off phones during take-off and landing.
As a guest in Vietnam, I am not sure of Vietnamese culture and customs. Work in teams and make a presentation to the class, explaining Tet holiday in terms of food, how it’s prepared, and who is invited to eat. Are there any strange or unusual traditions associated with Tet ?
Watch this video // Have a look at this short clip
UK London slang:
Have a butcher’s at this clip (butcher’s hook = look)
Objectives: encourage team work, and the completion of a small project by collecting information. Class arranged in four team, named after one of the above countries. They have to fill out a form such as this:
Famous for …
BONUS: can they count to ‘3’ in that language (for Canada we shall use French) ?
Korean uses two systems, Sino-Korean & Pure; the above version is the Pure system. What’s interesting for me, as a student of linguistics, is the similarity between some Sino-Korean numbers, and those of Thai, namely 3, 4, 9 & 10. take a look:
Teams will be given a variety of tasks (especially reviewing weaker areas, such as writing). Successful completion will result in one member of the team coming up the board and reading an information card. The student is not allowed to write down the fact, but has to memorise it, then report to another team-mate who will write it down.
And so, without further ado, the tasks:
Write down three positive adjectives, then use them in this sentence: Ms Jenny is _________ , __________ as well as _______.
Write down three negative adjectives, then use them in this sentence: Mr Mark is ________ , ________ as well as _________ .
What are the three biggest countries in the world ?
Brazil is famous for … (tell me two things).
Tell me two types of food people eat in Korea.
(Based on flash cards for units 1 – 3) To get to the shop, I must walk ——– the bridge and ——— the train tracks.
To get to the school, I must walk ——– the fountain and ——– the river.
To get to the dentist, I must walk ——– the street then go —— the stairs.
Put all six cards on the floor. Have two students stand at either end. They have to say, correctly, the directions on the card. Winner is allowed to gather some information.
Write down three buildings to visit in a city. What is best ? Must start answer: I reckon ________ is best because ________.
EXAMPLE: I reckon a school is best because you can meet Mr Paul 🙂
What is good about a department store ? Must start answer: In my opinion a department store is great for _______ as well as _______ , however __________ .
EXAMPLE: In my opinion a library is great for borrowing books as well as using computers, however we have to be very quiet.
What did Mr Paul & Mr Khoa do yesterday ? Show flashcards and add a location. Students have to write down the method of transport, with the correct PAST TENSE verb.
EXAMPLE: They drove a car to the zoo.
If you are late or slow, you have to c______ u__
If you think a film will be great but it is boring, you are d_____________ .
If you do charity work for no money, you v__________
She’s b___________ to a judo club _____ 2018.
He’s o______ a laptop _____ three years.
Olivia’s been c_______ p_____ _______ 1 year.
Can you dance or sing Flamenco ?
Write down three items you want.
Write down three items you need.
Mime: A team member has to mime using a product; team has to guess which one.
Quick Fire Round:
Name an instrument // something people collect // a sport that uses a ball // a sport that doesn’t use a ball //
What’s the best thing about being in a relationship?
What’s the best thing about being single?
What headings would you put these under ?
Life is more fun than being alone. Problems are easier to solve.
We have total, 100% freedom ! Do what we want, when we want.
We have less responsibility.
If you meet someone you like, you can ask them out on a date.
There’s a time to play and a time to settle down and raise a family.
No in-laws !
How do couples meet ?
How did you meet your: wife / husband / boyfriend / girlfriend / partner ? Or was it a blind date ?
Activity: Arrange a blind date for these three men. Which lady is the best choice … and why ?
How do you think the dates will be ? Will they keep meeting, maybe get married … or never see each other again ?
PETER. Age 46. Lawyer. Likes cooking, travelling, wine, driving, tennis. Divorced, 2 children. Looking for a quiet lady with no children, to look after the house and him.
JAMES. Age 26. IT worker. Likes music, dancing, going to clubs, beach holidays. Single. Looks for young lady who is loud and fun, likes to party.
DAVID. Age 22. Model. Likes fashion, clothes, cocktail bars, smoking cigars. Looking for a women who is a model so we can look great together. Must be very beautiful and wear expensive clothes.
And now … the ladies:
JANE. Age 22. Likes fashion, clubbing, kittens, holidays in the sun. Looks for a man with a steady job and ‘down-to-earth’. Non-smoker only.
LISA. 28. Banker. Likes quiet restaurants, badminton, travelling. Looks for a mature man with good income for long term relationship. No boys, please !
EMILY. 20. Likes dancing, fashion, going out with my friends. Movies. Wants a young, cute boy-friend so we can go to parties together. No boring old men, please !
And … if all goes well, there could be wedding bells
FREE SPEAKING: What is a traditional wedding in your country ?
In the UK and many western countries, the bridegroom waits in the church next to the Best Man, who has the rings. The church music starts and the Bride walks down the aisle next to her father, who will ‘give her away.’ Behind the Bride are her Bridesmaids. The Vicar will start the service. At the end, the Bride and Groom kiss.
Match words with meaning
Honeymoon // a secret relationship
Romantic // promise to do something/ be loyal to someone.
Divorce // when people decide they will get married
My story: I flew, by private jet, to Hong Kong, and had the time of my life, so many parties, so many interesting people, non-stop fun !
The reality, the truth: I went to work in the morning, then was so exhausted, I just sat and watched YouTube videos.
Warm – up: Students ask each other about each other’s weekend. Students must tell two stories, one true, one false. Students have to guess which is true.
Naturally, saying I have a private jet is not very believable so the story has to be feasible.
On Saturday, after working in the morning, I met my friend Ms My. I had promised her that I would take her to try western food. Therefore, I invited her to eat pizza. It was her first time and she really liked it but wasn’t sure how to eat it – knife and fork or use hands !
On Sunday, I was too lazy to cook and, because my dog needed a walk, I went to a local restaurant and tried some Vietnamese sea food. The prawns were delicious, but the soup was just OK, nothing special. My dog liked everything and was over the Moon (very happy).
Which one is true ? Did I eat pizza with a beautiful young lady OR did I take my dog to eat seafood ?
How was your weekend ?
Did you do anything special last weekend ?
What did you get up to over the weekend ?
Thanks for asking, I …
Well, I had a great time. First I …
Oh, nothing special, I just …
Today’s lesson is about people exaggerating about their weekends, in order to seem more interesting. So, a talking activity:
What would you do ?
Your young niece plays piano. It is terrible !
Do you …
a) Say that was really good, well done
b) Say hmmm, that is very hard to play, you just need to practice.
c) Say troi oi (omg, oi vey !) that was awful – stop, stop, STOP !
Why did you say that ?
Your partner makes dinner for you. It is terrible ! (partner can mean husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend).
a) Say, “That was delicious, darling,” and eat it all.
b) Say, “It looks wonderful, but I’ve already eaten. I’ll have it later,” then throw it out.
c) Say, “This tastes like dog food ! Never, ever cook again. Order me pizza !”
Your friend or girlfriend comes to your house to visit and meet your parents. Your parents are traditional and old-fashioned.
a) Say that your house is being decorated, so you have to meet in town.
b) Say that you want to meet her parents and will visit her instead.
c) Say, “No way ! My parents will scream ! Put some normal clothes on and wear a hat.”
At Christmas we have decorations, Christmas cards and a lot of food ! Have the students study the photo for one minute, then turn off the projector and ask them to write down all the food they can remember.
Best of all, in my opinion, is the Christmas pudding:
We have a Christmas tree. The tree is decorated with lights and bells and also there are presents on the floor around the tree. In the west, at the top of the tree, traditionally there is an angel.
How about Christmas in other countries ? This is Germany at Christmas
From Sweden, the children’s story Pettson och Findus by Sven Nordqvist
Make a Christmas card for one of your classmates (or teacher hahaha)
Need: paper / crayons / scissors / glue sticks / colour pens or felt-tip pens
And now, for older students … ‘A Christmas Carol’. One of the most famous Christmas stories is by Charles Dickens, a short story about a miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, who is visited by three ghosts, after which he decides to change his life.
I start by writing the word ‘travel’ on the board, and see how many avenues spread out from it. Start with the grammar; what type of word is it (noun) but it can be made into a verb (to travel, travelling) and the students should remember how to apply it to a person (traveller).
Then we have expressions such as ‘travel broadens the mind.’
We have this quote which introduces metaphor – the world as a book:
Then more pedestrian aspects of travel; how do we travel (transportation), preparation (booking tickets, hotels, visas etc), what do we bring with us (different clothes, sun cream, currency, sun glasses etc). How about culture shock ?
Next, what are the positive aspects of travelling (new cultures, fun, adventure, relaxation) and conversely, the negatives (delays, waiting in soulless airports, getting ripped off, tourist traps, bad hotels etc)
Pair work: students have to write a short passage using ‘although‘ and ‘despite‘ to encapsulate their travel experiences or wishes.
EXAMPLES: Although I absolutely love travelling, there are many drawbacks. Firstly, there is the cost; it can be incredibly expensive what with plane tickets and hotels not to mention having to eat out in restaurants. Despite these issues, travelling can be so relaxing or exciting, seeing new places and doing new things or simply as a break from our normal lives.
Vietnam has many beautiful towns and places of interest although I have only been to a few of them despite travel being relatively cheap in this country. We can fly everywhere within one or two hours, at very reasonable prices although some cheap airlines, such as Vietjet, are notorious for delays.
I have always wanted to visit Beijing in China which is not excessively far from Sai Gon. Despite that, I haven’t been because I am not sure about the visa and how expensive it would be to visit. Additionally, I hear some negative things such as terrible pollution and many tourist scams. Despite the drawbacks, I really want to see the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace and all the temples. Although Vietnam and China have a complicated relationship, most Vietnamese would agree that Chinese food is delicious.
These exercises help to increase vocabulary and confidence. Furthermore, the repetition helps to make the target language part of the students’ lexical resources.
Group work: Prepare a guide to Sai Gon for tourists.
Allow students access to the class computer for Google images if required.
What to see and do // where and what to eat // what to buy //
What they can do for entertainment
Safety and scams
Cultural differences – what should people do or NOT do in Vietnam ?
Use of interesting adjectives to describe the city centre.
Groups can then present to the class, with all students taking turns speaking. I shall be listening for relevance, pronunciation and use of expressions and discourse markers. Furthermore, I may learn some interesting tips.
My friend Andy is coming to Sai Gon
Using ‘should’ to give advice or information, make suggestions for Andy.
He loves history … what should he visit or see ?
He loves traditional food … what should he eat ?
He can’t ride a motorbike … how should he travel ?
He likes a beer a night (!) … where should he go ?
My Thai friend is coming to Vietnam:
Ms Namsum is young and energetic. She’s into (really enjoy) clubs, sightseeing and shopping.
I suggest she starts the day with a traditional bowl of pho then goes to Sai Gon centre. She can walk there from her hotel in District 1 or take a taxi (Vinasun or Malin ONLY). She will be out of the heat and has a lot of shopping choices and places to eat or grab a coffee. She could rest at her hotel in the afternoon, then go to Nguyen Hue walking street when it gets cooler in the evening. She has many restaurants in this area. Furthermore, there are many English-language menus. Finally, she can go to Bui Vien street where there are many clubs and bars, as well as many tourists speaking English.
What do they students think ? Is that a good plan ? Have I missed something important ?
Language to use:
I see your point
That’s a good idea but …
If I may make a suggestion …
I’m not sure that’s such a good idea.
For example – That’s a good idea but you haven’t thought about sightseeing.
Bui Vien can be very noisy so I’m not sure that’s such a good idea for a young lady on her own.
Two of my friends, Tom and David who are both actors, are coming to Sai Gon. The students, in groups, have to arrange a fun day including sightseeing, shopping, eating and transportation. Then they have to compare their itineraries and exchange views and opinions. The students learn how to politely disagree with each and put forward their ideas and support their choices.
PLAN A DAY FOR TOM & DAVID
Where can they eat ?
What could they see or visit ?
How can they travel around ?
What can they buy as souvenirs ?
Where could they go at night ?
What safety advice would you give ?
What you need to know:
Both are 45-years old. They have good jobs and a good income. They like history and culture. They really enjoy good food and wine. Neither speaks any Vietnamese. They are too old for very loud clubs but they don’t mind having a few beers and maybe seeing some live music.
The students can make a presentation, and use the computer for images or maps to illustrate their plan. Then the other team can explain what they have organised, and the reasons why. I will decide which team has made the best choice.
Activity: Plan a day out for my friends.
I have two friends arriving in Sai Gon (or your city). They want a typical, authentic experience. Plan a day for them. It must include:
Somewhere for a snack
An interesting building or location
Something to do in the evening
Give tips and advice.
How do they travel around ?
What are their options and estimate the prices.
Try to use as much new vocabulary as possible, words and expressions.
Directions to Pham Ngo Lao Street District 1 // Directions to a city centre street.
Ask for help. Other must offer as much help – how to get there, the best way, the price, the dangers. Body language – distance, expression, intonation, eye contact etc
Is Sai Gon safe ?
Can you understand Vietnamese people speaking English ?
Do you agree with their points ?
Are there any words you didn’t understand ?
Do you have any bad experiences ? Tell the class your anecdote.
Word bomb– what do you think of when I say ‘hotel’ ?
Checking in to a hotel
reception / lift or elevator / single or double room / king size bed or twins /
first floor / complimentary breakfast / key deposit / luggage storage / safe / mini bar
What would the conversation be ?
Reception: How may I help you / May I ask your name ? / Can I see your reservation code ? / That’s fine. You stay for three nights ? / May I have your passport, please ? / You’re in room 237. That’s on the second floor / Thank you. Sign here, please / Yes, the lift is just over there. / Naturally, as well as a hair dryer, coffee machine and mini bar. / Enjoy your stay.
Guest: Hello, we have a reservation / We booked a room online / My name’s ….. / Certainly, it’s on my phone. / Yes, that’s right. / Absolutely. / Correct. / Just a second; here you are./ Is there a lift ? / The second floor ? / Is there a safe in the room ? / Perfect. Thanks very much
Make a conversation. One student will be the reception, the other(s) a guest or guests.
Write your own conversation
You are in a hotel bar and you meet another guest. Start a polite conversation, but you have to use your English.
Greet each other
Why are you in this city ? (holiday or on business)
Offer to buy a drink (accept or decline – maybe you don’t drink alcohol)
How long are they staying ? What do they think of the hotel ? What can they do in the area around the hotel ?
Small group work
You are two married couples who meet on a tour and are staying at the same hotel OR you are on a business trip and meet some other business people.
Use the following sentences, as well as your own, to make a conversation. try to keep speaking for as long as possible by using small talk techniques (oh, really / that’s interesting / tell me more / what do you do exactly ? / where is that ? / Sounds interesting)
My wife and I are delighted to meet you
Shall we go to the bar or cafe ?
Can offer name first (I’m Simon, what’s your name ?)
Would you fancy a drink … ?
Is there anywhere special to do here ?
Sorry, I have to get my head down, it’s been a long flight (I need to sleep).
My colleague and I were going out to eat.
I fancy a beer or something alcoholic
Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t ask where you are from.
Would you like to join us ?
Peckish (little hungry)
What do you think of these hotel rooms ?
What do you think of the design ?
Would you like to stay in any of these ? Why, or why not ?