Harvey and Harmony


Lower levels describing a photo, storytelling and writing

Higher levels speculating, pronunciation, report writing

SUITABLE FOR teens and adults, pre-intermediate (A2) and above.

Click here for a pdf of the Teacher’s Notes



We’re back at All at C after a very long Christmas break! We’ve been kept very busy with different projects but hope to make up for our lack of updates over the next couple of months. So, to start off, and given that it’s still winter here in the Northern Hemisphere, we thought this amazing (but real!) gym class from Sweden would be topical.






MAIN AIMS practise verbs and expressions of movement / functional language of advice and instructions / writing / listening for specific information

SUITABLE FOR teens and adults, upper-intermediate (B2.1) and above

Click here for the Teacher’s Notes

Monty the Penguin – a Christmas lesson plan

MAIN AIMS Talking about the past and present, storytelling, vocabulary acquisition

SUITABLE FOR Teens and adults, Intermediate (B1) and above

This lesson plan is inspired by Jamie Keddie’s videotelling idea.

Click here for a pdf of the Teacher’s Notes.

Video 1

Video 2

If you want lesson plans based on John Lewis adverts from other years, check these out:

The Hare and the Bear (2013)

The Snowmen (2012)

Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want (2011)


The Christmas Truce

MAIN AIMS Agreeing,disagreeing and making suggestions (FCE and CAE speaking exam practice)

SUITABLE FOR Teens and adults, Upper-intermediate (B2.1) and above

TEACHER’S NOTES (Click here for a pdf of the Teacher’s Notes)

1.  Tell students that you’re going to play a piece of music and that they should close their eyes and relax. Play the video below (sound only, blank screen). Afterwards, they tell a partner how it made them feel and what images (if any) went through their minds.

2. Tell them to imagine that this piece of music is going to be used in a film soundtrack and they’re going to discuss how to use it in different kinds of films.

3. Put them in groups of three and display this question for them talk about.

4. Stop them after a few minutes and tell them they have one minute to decide which kind of film this music would go best with. Open class feedback.

5. Display or hand out these expressions. Ask them how often they used one (or something similar) during their conversation. Tell them what you noticed as you were going round. Say that in the next conversation, they must use these expressions.

6. Now they imagine that this music is going to be used in an advertisement. Display this question for them to discuss.

7. Stop them and tell them they have one minute to decide which product the music would be best used to advertise.

8. Open class feedback

9. Say that this music is used in a British TV advert and show them this screenshot. Establish that it’s World War One and the British and Germans have called a truce. Does anyone know when and why? Play this video from 01:50 to 02:41 so that students can see what happened.

10. We haven’t seen the product yet. Get students to work in groups to think of an ending where the product being advertised is revealed.

11. Find out what they decided and then play the whole advert. Afterwards, explain that Sainsbury’s is a supermarket. It works with the charity The Royal British Legion, which provides assistance to members and veterans of the armed forces. The chocolate bar that appeared in the advert was specially created to raise money for the Royal British Legion.

12. Say that the advert has been both praised and criticised in Britain and display these two opinions. If students agree that it’s a heartwarming advertisement, they should stand near the screen. If they think it’s cynical and tasteless, they should stand on the opposite side of the room. If their opinion is somewhere between the two, they should stand somewhere that reflects this i.e. nearer the front for the first one etc.

13. Put students in pairs or groups of three or four with differing opinions and get them to convince their partners that their opinion is the right one. Finish off by finding out if anybody changed their point of view.

14. As a follow-up, tell students to find out the name of a film the music from the advert has been used in, and send them this link to read more about the Christmas Truce.

Fruit and Nut Problem Solving


MAIN AIMS Speaking to describe processes, noticing and looking up vocabulary, improving group dynamics and motivation

SUITABLE FOR Younger learners, teens and adults, Intermediate (B1) and above

TEACHER’S NOTES (Click here for a pdf of the Teacher’s Notes)

1.  Ask your learners to form small groups. They tell each other whether they think they are good at solving problems. They can interpret problems however they want e.g at home, at work, practical, mathematical etc.

2.  Elicit some examples and reasons from people who said yes.

3.  Show them this screenshot and present them with the problem: they have to get the peanut out of the long test tube without using any tools, turning it upside-down or breaking it. Tell them that the test tube is attached to the base and the base is attached to the table. Give them three minutes to come up with suggestions while you circulate and help with vocabulary.

4.  Elicit suggestions from the groups.

5.  Play this video so that they can compare their suggestions with the solution.

6.  Now tell them that they’re going to have a small creativity competition. Display these pictures of fruit and elicit the name of each one.

7.  Divide the class into two halves, A and B, and then subdivide each half into smaller groups of three or four. Group A gets kiwi, mango and watermelon and group B gets pomegranate, orange and strawberry.

8.  Tell them that they have to describe the best way to eat the fruit with minimum waste and maximum ease. They can use tools. Let them use mobiles or dictionaries to look up vocabulary while you circulate helping them to express what they want to say.

9.  Now have all the A groups compare their suggestions with each other on one side of the room while all the B groups do the same on the other side.

10.  Put individual As and Bs together in pairs and ask them to explain the techniques for their three fruits to each other.

11.  Now play this video. Did anyone come up with something similar? Which one surprised them the most?

12. As a follow-up, tell them to eat one of the six types of fruit using the method suggested and either video or photograph the result to show in the following class.


Introducing Carrot

Image made using photos taken from http://flickr.com/eltpics by @thornburyscott, @ALiCe__M and @purple_steph used under a CC Attribution Non-Commercial license, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/1.

Image made using photos taken from http://flickr.com/eltpics by @purple_steph, @ALiCe_M, @thornburyscott and @thornburyscott used under a CC Attribution Non-Commercial license, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/1.

MAIN AIMS Speaking to negotiate and persuade, vocabulary expansion, listening for detail

SUITABLE FOR Teens and adults, Upper-intermediate (B2), except the last step, Advanced (C1).

TEACHER’S NOTES  (Click here for a pdf of the Teacher’s Notes)

1. Ask your students to form four small groups (or eight for a larger class).

2. Show them the mosaic above (or use this one). Tell them to use their mobiles to find out the names of the fruit and vegetables shown (from top left to bottom right: red cabbage, Brussels sprout, quince, artichoke).

3. Ask them to tell each other whether they they like these foods and how often they eat them.

4. Assign one of the photos to each group. Tell them that they work for an advertising agency which has been given the job of marketing these unglamorous products to teenagers. They have to come up with an idea for a one-minute commercial that will change the way the target market sees their fruit or vegetable. Set a time limit of ten minutes.

5. Each team presents their idea to the rest of the class, who then vote for the one they like best.

6. Now tell students that they are going to see a video promoting another common vegetable.

7. Play the video. After watching, in their groups students note down all the words they heard that they would normally associate with a touchscreen device.

8. Display this word cloud containing vocabulary from the clip and tell students to look up any new words.

9. Form new groups and play the video again. With their new partners, they have to use the vocabulary from the word cloud to describe the features of “carrot”.

10. Display or hand out the full text so learners can compare what they said with the original version.

11. They will probably ask about the reference to integration with Beats by Dre. Play the video again from 00:38 to 00:40 and pause it. Explain that Beats by Dre is a company that produces audio equipment, mainly headphones and speakers., which was acquired by Apple in 2014. Tell students to look at the image on the screen. Does anyone know the name of the brownish vegetable? It’s a beet (in American English) or beetroot (in British English).

12. Students look at the word cloud again. Do they know any other meanings of the words? Once they’ve had a chance to discuss / check in dictionaries, ask them to do this exercise. (Here are the answers.)



Unusual Sports

Image made using photos taken from http://flickr.com/eltpics by Efi Tzour, Christina Martidou, @sandymillin, @ij64, @senicko, Mr_Schenk, @SerraRoseli, @vickyloras and @mamalarut used under a CC Attribution Non-Commercial license, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Image made using photos taken from http://flickr.com/eltpics by Efi Tzour, Christina Martidou, @sandymillin, @ij64, @senicko, Mr_Schenk, @SerraRoseli, @vickyloras and @mamalarut used under a CC Attribution Non-Commercial license, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/


MAIN AIMS  Sports vocabulary and talking about sport

SUITABLE FOR Teens and adults, Intermediate (B1) and above

TEACHER’S NOTES (Click here for a pdf of the Teacher’s Notes)

1. Display the mosaic above (or use this one). Put students in pairs and get them to talk about the sports: which have they done / watched / would like to do? Where    are they played? What equipment do you need? What are the rules, if any? What vocabulary do students need to talk about them?

2. Feedback – let students ask about vocabulary and write it on the board. Challenge them, collectively, to come up with at least ten vocabulary questions.

3. Regroup the students so that they are working with a different partner. They repeat step 1, this time including the vocabulary that came up in the previous step.

4. Feedback – which sport generated the most conversation?

5. Now divide the class into two groups. Tell them that you’re going to give each group the name of a sport and they should decide / make up how it’s played, rules, referee or not, team or individual etc.

6. Give one group a card with chess boxing written on it and the other a card with dog boarding on it.. Give groups a few minutes to talk about their sport and make some notes.

7. Pair a Dogboarder with a Chess Boxer. The Chess Boxer tells the Dogboarder about their sport. The Dogboarder can ask questions. If the Chess Boxer doesn’t know the answer, they should make one up.

8. Now play this video from the beginning to 01:11 and see how close the Chess Boxers’ descriptions came to the actual sport.

9. Repeat step 7 with the Dogboarders explaining their sport to the Chess Boxers and then play this video:

10. Tell students that no dogs were harmed in the making of the video and ask which sport they’d prefer to do. Do they know any other unusual sports? Send them home to research one and tell a partner about it in the next class, preferably with photos or a video on their mobile or tablet.



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