This lesson starts off with a brilliantly edited video mash-up; Dutch filmmaker Matthijs Vlot took Lionel Richie’s 1984 hit Hello and mashed it up with short clips from a number of Hollywood films so that the words in the clips synch perfectly with the song lyrics.

Students have to count, chat, listen and write in class before going home to watch the original video of the song, which was voted worst music video of all time in a survey by music channel The Box. In the next class, students say what they thought of the video and then watch the Starburst commercial (just because it’s funny).

Hello Teacher’s Notes

Meet the Parents

What do a cat, an urn and a tall story have in common? They all feature in one of my favourite scenes from Meet the Parents, the highly entertaining, occasionally cringe inducing, sometimes laugh out loud funny story of a man who tries too hard to please his future parents-in-law.

This activity begins with a vocabulary game, leads on to some watching and listening, and finishes off with some pronunciation and prediction. And hopefully it will raise one or two laughs along the way.

photo by IITA Image Library on Flickr

Meet the Parents Teacher’s Notes

Meet the parents vocab

Meet the parents script

Steve’s Talk at TESOL Spain

Here’s the handout from my talk at TESOL. Thanks to everyone who attended.

Tried and Tested Handout


Here’s what the experts had to say:

“This movie is remarkable for a brilliant montage sequence at the very beginning…it is a masterclass in narrative exposition…”

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian


“If it had lived up to its golden first five minutes, Up would have been the film of the decade.”

Ian Freer, Empire Magazine


Our first lesson is based on the critically-acclaimed silent scene near the beginning of “Up” where we see the story of a married life in less than 5 minutes. It’s brilliantly done, but be warned – it’s also a bit sad! There are three different exercises all based around vocabulary acquisition and students are asked to guess, remember and finally chat about themselves using what they’ve seen. We’ve included a detailed description of how we’ve been working on this last part with students so that they get the most out of the ensuing conversations. We hope you and your students enjoy it.

Here are the Teacher’s notes and the Student Worksheet.

Up Teacher’s Notes

Up Student Worksheet


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