An Oddly Unsatisfying Video

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Main activities describing, comparing, First Certificate and Advanced speaking test practice

Suitable for teens and adults, upper-intermediate (B2) and above

Click here for the Teacher’s Notes

The pdf contains everything you need for class, but if you’d rather display the images using Powerpoint, click here for the slides.


The Man on the Moon

Full Moon for all Moods by Konstantinos Kazantzoglou

Full Moon for all Moods by Konstantinos Kazantoglou is licensed under CCBY2.0


MAIN ACTIVITIES describing and comparing photographs, storytelling and discussion.

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

Click here for the Teacher’s Notes.

Base-jumping Barnacle Goose

Base-jumping in Norway by Andre Benedix  is licensed under CCBY2.0

Base-jumping in Norway by Andre Benedix is licensed under CCBY2.0

MAIN AIMS  Listening, using a dictionary, prediction and sentence transformations

SUITABLE FOR teens and adults, pre-advanced (B2.2) and above

Click here for the Teacher’s Notes

Watch the video until the end – it doesn’t turn out to be as bad as you might expect!







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

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.

I Forgot my Phone

Mobile Phones?

Mobile Phones? by Tim Ellis is licensed under CCBY2.0

Main Activities  Vocabulary acquisition, word formation, talking about mobile phone use

Suitable for  Pre-Advanced (B2.2) teens and adults.

We’re moving on to a “mobile” theme this month on the blog and this first post is designed to encourage students to push at the boundaries of their vocabulary and to think about word form as tested in exams such as the First Certificate and Advanced. Thanks to our colleague Nikki for the heads-up on this beautiful and thought-provoking short film about how much those little phones have taken over our lives.

TEACHER’S NOTES    (Click here for a pdf version)


Divide the class into two large groups – A and B. Then, within each group, form pairs so that all As are working with another A and vice-versa. Tell them that they’re going to hear the audio from a short piece of video. They have to guess the different places and events from what they hear. Some are more obvious than others and they’ll need to use their imaginations. Play the video (sound only) and stop at the following points, asking the students to write down what they think is happening and where:

a. 00:10          e. 01:00          i. 01:30

b. 00:24          f. 01:05           j. 01:50

c. 00:43          g. 01:09           k. 02:03

d. 00:51          h. 01:22


Once all the pairs have written their agreed suggestions, hand out the A/B answer sheet to the two large groups. Give them time to look up words/phrases for pronunciation or meaning using dictionaries or mobiles as they’ll have to tell a partner the answer in a moment.


Make A/B pairs. Each person has the answers that the other one is missing. They take it in turns to read each other their suggestions from step 1 and then to hear the answer from their partner.


Tell them that the protagonist of the video is annoyed by a similar thing in all of the scenes described. Ask them to guess with their partner what it might be.


Now show them the video to see if they guessed correctly.


Keep the students in the same A/B pairs. Tell them that you’re going to give them this sheet with 11 sentences describing the people with the mobiles. In each sentence, similar to the FCE/CAE word formation exercise, there is a word missing. To fill the gap, they must use the appropriate version of the word given in bold at the end of the sentence. Note that two of the words don’t need to be changed at all, and one is not the base word, as in the Cambridge exam. They get one point for each correct answer but only if the spelling is perfect!


Now regroup the class into groups of three and ask them to discuss the questions below the 11 sentences. Encourage people to ask questions for vocabulary etc. and make your own notes on interesting errors or nice language, for example. Write everything up on the board and allow some time to go through it at the end of their discussion.


Tell students not to take notes. Finish by telling them that they’re going to use their mobiles for something positive and then ask them to stand up and take a photo of the board. Ask them to write up their own notes, either in their notebooks or on their computer, using the photo. Bring them in, or print them out for the next day to compare how they’ve organised the information.