Sunday, December 27, 2009

He's Just Not That Into You & The Dilemma: Excuses



I think both films are funny and catchy. If you like comedies, you can give them a go. These scenes are contextualized and perfect to talk about Giving Excuses.


I. Work in pairs. Make a list of 4 different excuses people usually give in the situations below. Be creative, but believable.

1. You're late for a class because you overslept. The teacher does not accept tardiness. What excuses can you give to be accepted in class?

2. You didn't do the homework assigment and it's for a grade. It is due today. What would tell your teacher to have an extra time to hand in the assigment?

3. You went dancing and met the girlfriend/boyfriend there.
of your dreams. You arrived home 4 hours later than your parents' stipulated curfew. What excuses can you give so that you don't get grounded?

4. You were invited for a dinner party in your honor and the only dish is something you simply hate. What excuses can you give without hurting the host?

5. You received a present that you disliked. You want to exchange it, but the only way of doing it is by returning it to the person who originally gave it to you. What would you say to him/her?

6. You invite someone for dinner at a very expensive restaurant , but you forgot your wallet at home. You want to impress this person. What excuses can you give to have your guest pay the check for you?

7. You went out with a girl (boy), got her (his) telephone number but never called her (him). You meet her by accident on the street and he (she) asks why you didn't call her (him). You are still interested in the person. What can you say so that she (he) doesn't get disappointed with you?


II. Role play the situations above.

III. Watch the movie segment now. Pay attention to all the excuses the women in the segment came up with to justify their lover's not calling them. Try to remember all of them.
video
video

 IV. Discuss these questions with a partner.

1. Is it true that women want men to call them after the first date right on the next day? What's your opinion about it?

2. Is it true that men don't want to call them after the first date right on the next day? What's your opinion about it?

3. If the man does not call after the first date, is it okay for the woman to call him? Explain it.

4. What's your opinion about women who don't wait for the man to approach and initiates the contact?

5. Is it true that men want outgoing women to date and shy and conservative women to marry? Justify your answer.


V. Watch the scene from the movie The Dilemma and answer the questions in pairs:
video 1.

1. Describe the scene.

2. What did he see and what happened to him?

3. Why do you think he decided not to tell the truth?

4. What excuses did he make up while and after narrating the story?

5. Did Geneva believe his excuses were true?

6. What would you do if y ou were in his shoes? And in her shoes?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Juno: Teenage Pregnancy

This is a great movie. Teenage pregnancy is dealt with in a creative, different manner. My students had a lot to say about it.


I. Talk to a partner about the following questions:



1. Is unwanted teenage pregnancy an issue where you live?

2. What can be done to prevent it from happening?

3. What's your opinion about aborting a teenager's unwanted pregnancy? Would you consider it under any circumstances?

4. What about giving the child away for adoption? What do you think about it?

5. What should children be taught about conception and pregnancy?

6. Is it better that teenagers remain celibate or that they become sexually active, using condoms? Explain it?

7. What should parents do when it happens?

8. What about the future father? What should he do under the circumstances below?


- if he is underaged too?

- if he is older than 18?

- If he is older than 35?

- If he had raped the teenager?

- if he has a wife?

- if he denies it?


II. Watch the movie segment and answer the following questions in groups:
video

1. Describe what happened in the segment.

2. What was her mother's reaction?

3. What was her father's reaction?

4. What was her friend's reaction?

5. What did Juno say she was going to do? Do you like her idea?

6. What would you do if...?


- You were Juno?

- You were Juno's best friend?

- You were Juno's parents?

- You were the father of the baby?

- You were the foster parents to whom Juno promised to give the baby away.

7. What do you think will happen next?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Akeelah and the Bee & Bad Words: Spelling Bee

The Spelling Bee is a big event here at the Casa Thomas Jefferson. These two segments are perfect to activate schemata and to give students an idea of how important these events are in the USA. Spelling Bee is already a tradition at Thomas!





I. Talk to a partner:

1) What do you think when your teacher says you’re going to do some spelling?

2) Is learning spelling in class interesting and fun? Should it be?

3) How important is spelling compared with pronunciation, vocabulary, punctuation, etc?

4)What strategies do you use to remember the spelling of difficult words?

5) Have you ever heard of the Spelling Bee contest? What do you know about it?


B. Now check the alternative you believe is correct. The winning group is the one who scores the most points.

1. The National Spelling Bee contest started in ______


a. 1925
b. 1935
c. 1945
d. 1950

2. The 1st National Spelling Bee Contest had ______ participants.

a. 5
b. 9
c. 90
d. 150

3. The term Spelling Bee refers to:

a. The sound bees make.
b. The busy social life of the bees for a single activity.
c. Bees skipping from letter to letter on television programs broadcasting the contest .
d. No one knows why it is called Spelling Bee.

4. Spelling Bee contests are popular in ______.

a. Most countries in the world.
b. English speaking countries.
c. The USA only.
d. In England only.

5. Which one of the alternatives is true?

a. No Black Americans have won the National Spelling Bee contest in the USA.
b. No foreigners have won the National Spelling Bee contest in the USA
c. New York is the state that has had the greatest number of winners of the National Spelling Bee contest in the USA.
 d. 70% of the winners in this contest have been females.


Answer Key: 1a, 2b, 3b, 4b, 5d

III. Watch the movie segment and answer the following questions.


video

1. Describe what happened in the segment.



2. How would you describe the participants' feelings?



3. And the audience's?



4. Are participants excited about the contest?



5. How do the participants feel when eliminated?



6. Would you like to participate in such a contest? Why (not)?



7. Is it important to participate in competitions like this one? Why (not)?



8. How important is the contest in American society? What did you see in the segment that justifies your answer?


PPT SLIDES - Prepared by my colleague Daniela Lyra


IV. Watch the movie segment from the movie BAD WORDS and answer the questions.


video

1. Describe what happened in the segment.

2. How would you describe the participants' feelings?

3. And the audience's?

4. Are participants excited about the contest?

5. How do the participants react to the adult who is participating in the contest? And how does the adult react to his own and the other's participation? How do you describe his attitude?

6. Should he be allowed to participate? Why (not)?

7. How do you compare both Spelling Bee contests? What do they have in common and what are the differences between them?

MOVIE SEGMENT DOWNLOAD - AKEELAH AND THE BEE

MOVIE SEGMENT DOWNLOAD - BAD WORDS


Friday, December 4, 2009

21 & All In: Gambling & Casinos








I. Talk to a group of three students about the following questions:

1. Have you ever been to a casino? Talk about your experience. If you haven't, would you like to? Why (not)?
2. Are casinos legalized where you live? Do you agree with this decision?
3. Should casinos be prohibited? Why (not)?
4. What about lotteries?
5. What do you know about cards games? Can you play any? What are the rules?
6. Is it okay for children to play cards even if no money bets are involved?
7. Do you think the life of a professional gambler is glamorous? Justify it.
8. Casinos make a lot of money. Is it fair that clients cheat or use illegal tricks to win their bets over?
9. Should gambling be considered a disease, like an addiction, for example?


II. Talk to your partners and match the vocabulary and the definitions about gambling:

1. Banker

2. Blackjack

3. Bet

4. Chips

5. Color up

6. Hand

7. House

8. Jackpot

9. Fold

10. All-in

11. Bluff

12. Hit


( ) When a player converts chips of smaller denominations to larger denominations.

( ) the dealer in card games.

( ) The casino or any gambling facility.

( ) To throw your hand away when it's your turn to act.

( ) The cards that a player holds.

( ) to wager

( ) When a player bets all his/her chips.

( ) a table game that requires a pair of cards to total 21. A winning hand should be higher than the dealer’s cards without going over 21.

( ) The round-shaped tokens used in gaming instead of cash. These are bought at the gaming tables and converted to cash at the cashier’s booth or cage.

( ) To make other players believe that one has a better hand

( ) A big win on a slot machine.

( ) It means the player wants another card.


Answer Key: 5, 1, 7, 9, 6, 3, 10, 2, 4, 11, 8, 12


III. Watch the first segment of the movie 21 and answer the following questions:

- Describe what you saw in the segment:


1. What game are they playing? How do you know it?

2. Is the main character cheating? How do you know?

3. Is he working by himself?

4. Is he right or wrong? Why?

5. Which words presented in the vocabulary exercise could you use to describe the segment?

video


IV. Now watch the segment of the movie All In and answer the questions that follow:


video

- Describe what you saw in the segment.

1. What game are they playing? How do you know it?

2. Is the main character - the young girl - cheating? How do you know?

3. Is she working by herself?

4. Is she right or wrong? Why?

5. Which words presented in the vocabulary exercise could you use to describe the segment?

WRAP UP - CLASS DISCUSSION:


1. What do both scenes have in common and how different are they?

2. What do you think will happen to the main characters after the scenes?

3. Which of the two games is more interesting? Poker or Blackjack? Why?

4. What should happen to the main characters in the movies? Why?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Frida: Frida Kahlo

This movie is just great and Kahlo is one of my favorite painters. We often talk about her and art in general in our classes, so I developed this ativity, which my students enjoyed and learned a lot.


A. Work in groups of three students. Answer the following quiz about the great painter Frida Kahlo. The group that score more points is the winner.


1. Frida was _______.



a. Spanish



b. Colombian


c. Cuban


d. Mexican




2. Frida was a survivor of ______.




a. polio



b. malaria



c. cancer



d. Spanish influenza





3. She was born in




a. 1897



b. 1907



c. 1917



d. 1927





4. She was married to a famous painter



a. Pablo Picasso


b. Salvador Dali


c. Juan Miró


d. Diego Rivera




5. At the age of 18, she was seriously injured in a ________.



a. bus accident


b. fall in the bathroom


c. fight with her husband


d. fall from the stairs


Answers: 1 d, 2 a, 3 b, 4 d, 5 a


B. Look at the painting below. Talk to a partner and make guesses:















1. Who is the character in the painting?



2. Why is she wearing those clothes?



3. What was she feeling?



4. What happened before she painted it?



5. Why did she paint it?


Painting: Self-portrait with cropped hair - Frida Kahlo



C. Watch the segment and check if you were right.





video




D. Now repeat the process with this painting:
 















1. Who is the character in the painting?



2. Why is she wearing those clothes?



3. What was she feeling?



4. What happened before she painted it?



5. Why did she paint it?


Painting: The Broken Column - Frida Kahlo


E. Now watch the second segment and check if you were right.


video

Friday, November 20, 2009

Swing Vote: Elections


This movie is surprisingly good. Because Brazilian elections are completely different from American's, this scene is perfect to practice vocabulary about elections and conversation. It is great at election times. I hope you like it. My students did.


A. Match the vocabulary and its definition:

1. polls

2. candidate

3. ballot

4. platform

5. campaign

6. party

7. running mate

8. swing vote


( ) a document listing all the alternatives that is used in voting

( ) the place where people vote

( ) a race between candidates for an elective office

( ) a person who is running for office

( ) the person a presidential candidate will choose to run for vice-president

( ) the vote that unties an election

( ) a statement of principles and objectives used during a campaign to win support from voters

( ) a group of persons with common political opinions and purposes


B. Now fill in the blanks with the words in Exercise A.

1.Everyone needs to go to the ________to vote.

2. Each political party nominates a_____________.

3. He put his vote in the __________ box.

4. The candidate simply ignored the party _______________ and followed his own ideas.

5. An organized effort to gain votes is a _____________.

6. Each political ___________selects a candidate.

7. The vice-presidential candidate is the ____________.

8. Because each of the candidates had 5 votes, mine will be the ___________.


Answer key:

A: 3, 1 5, 2, 7, 8, 4, 6


B: 1. polls, 2. candidate, 3. ballot, 4. platform, 5. campaign, 6. party, 7. running mate, 8. swing vote

B. Interview each other:


1. Do you like to vote?

2. Is it important to vote? Why?

3. Do you remember who you voted for in the previous elections? And for representatives?

4. Should voting be mandatory? Why (not)?

5. What are the best and worst things about elections?


C. Watch the movie segment from the movie Swing Vote. Then describe everything the little girl did on the American presidential election day. Make sure you use the vocabulary you have learned.



video

MOVIE SEGMENT DOWNLOAD - SWING VOTE PART 1

D. Talk to a partner:


1. Do you think that what happened in the segment could possibly happen during the elections in your country? Why (not) ?

2. What would the consequences of her act be if the elections were in your country?

3. Is the voting process in your country similar to the one in the segment (USA)? How different is it?


E. Watch the second segment and answer the questions:


video

MOVIE SEGMENT DOWNLOAD - SWING VOTE PART 2


1. What were the consequences of the power failure?

2. How did the candidates react? Would it be different if they were in your country?


3. What do you think the candidates are going to do to convince that citizen to trust him his ballot?

4. What would you do if you had the the swing vote?


Friday, November 13, 2009

Long Weekend & The Beach: Sharks




I. Work in small groups. Answer the following questions about sharks. The team that scores more points is the winner:

1. What is the largest shark in the world?

a. Hammerhead shark
b. Whale shark
c. Great white shark
d. Tiger shark

2. How long can a shark go without eating?

a. a week
b. two weeks
c. a month
d. two months

3. Mother sharks stay close to their babies until they are mature.

a. true
b. false

4. The great white shark is the most fierce of the sharks.

a. true
b. false

5. About how many kinds of sharks are there?

a. Under 250
b. 250 -350
c. 350 - 450
d. Over 500

6 . Sharks have upper and lower eyelids but they do not blink.

a. true
b. false

7. The most harmless sharks tend to be the largest.

a. true
b. false

8. Some sharks may eat other sharks.

a. true
b. false

9. Florida has the greatest number of shark attacks annually in the whole world.

a. true
b. false

10. Almost all sharks are "carnivores" or meat eaters.

a. true
b. false

Answer key:

1 b, 2 c, 3 b, 4 b, 5 c, 6 a, 7 a, 8 a, 9 b, 10 a


B. Discuss the following questions:



1. What's your opinion about sharks?

2. Have you ever seen a live shark? Where?

3. Are sharks a problem where you live or spend summer vacation?

4. Is it okay to kill or hunt sharks in areas they attack human beings?

5. What are the qualities of a shark?


C. Watch the movie segment from the Australian movie, Long Weekend, and answer the questions.


video


1. Describe what happened in the scene.

2. What would you do if you saw someone in the ocean and a shark approaching?

3. The scene takes place in Australia, a country famous for its shark attacks. Would you swim on a beach you knew there are sharks around?

4. If you were Peter, would you swim there again on another day?

5. What will happen next?


D. Now watch another segment from the same movie, Long Weekend. Check what happens to the animal.


video


1. Was it a shark? What was it? Did it surprise you?

2. Why did the characters think it was a shark when they first saw it?

3. Would you feel more relieved or worried after the discovery?


E. Work in small groups discussing the following questions, previewing the next segment from the movie, The Beach.

1. Who is more likely to win in a confrontation? A man or a shark?

2.What should a man do in order to defeat a shark when fighting in the waters of the ocean?

3. Is it possible to defeat a shark in its natural habitat?

4. Watch the segment. Then describe the scene and share your opinion about what actually happened.



video

Friday, November 6, 2009

Lakeview Terrace & Rear Window: Neighbors

















I. Interview a partner:  

1. Talk about your neighborhood. Do you know all your neighbors?

2. What kind of neighbors do you have?

3. Do you trust them? Why (not)?

4. Do you have nosy neighbors?

5. What about noisy neighbors?

6. What should one do to be a good neighbor?


II. Switch roles now.

1. Is it good to have neighbors who visit you often? Why (not)?

2. Talk about your best neighbor.

3. Talk about your worst neighbor.

4. What are the most common disagreements between neighbors.

5. Have you ever argued with a neighbor? Talk about it.

6. Have you ever had a "dog problem" with a neighbor? Talk about it.


III. Watch the segment from the movie Lakeview Terrace now and discuss the following questions
video


1. Describe what happened in the segment.

2. How would you describe their relationship? Why?

3. What do you think happened before the segment?

4. What will probably happen next?

5. Who's right in the scene?


III. Circle the adjectives that you believe your neighbors would apply to you and underline the ones you think apply to your neighbor (choose one of them).

Intelligent

Witty

Irreverent

Unconventional

Open minded

Stubborn

Impatient

Tolerant

Arrogant

Lazy

Direct

Assertive

Talkative

Gregarious

Frank

Sociable

Nocturnal

Mysterious

Curious

Informal

Kind

Honest

IV. Now watch the segment from the movie Rear Window and discuss the questions that follow.
video



1. Describe the scene.

2. What do you think actually happened?

3. Was the owner of the dog right to say what she did? Explain it.

4. What kind of neighborhood is it?

5. How do you compare these neighbors to the ones in the first segment?

6. Which of the adjectives in the previous exercise apply to this neighborhood?

7. How different are these neighbors from your own?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Interview

I have given an interview that has been published on a peer's (Vanessa Prata's) very intereresting blog, about using movie segments in the classroom. You may check it out here. Thanks Vanessa. Your blog, English for All, is great for teachers. Congratulations.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Felon: Justice - Law



Watch the first segment from the movie Felon and discuss the questions that follow:



video





1. Describe the scene.





2. Did Wade Porter, the main character, do the right thing?





3. What should happen to him?





4. Should he go to jail? Why (not)?








Vocabulary Building:


Work with a partner and match the words and the definitions about Law:

1. Sue (v)





2. Jury (n)





3. Defendant (n)





4. Judge (n)






5. Arson (n)





6. Manslaughter (n)





7. Witness (n)





8. Verdict (n)





9. Trial (n)





10. Evidence (n)





11. Lawyer, Attorney (n)





12. Convict (v)





13. Sentence (n)





14. Prosecutor (n)





15. Defense Attorney (n)







( ) The punishment.





( ) One or more reasons for believing that something is or is not true.





( ) A person who is in charge of a trial in court and decides how a person who is guilty should be punished.





( ) To decide officially in a court of law that someone is guilty of a crime.





( ) the crime of killing a person by someone who did not intend to do it.





( ) A group pf people who have been chosen to to listen to all the facts in a trial to decide whether a person is guilty or not guilty.






( ) Someone whose job is to give advice to people about the law and speak for them in court.





( ) To take legal action against a person or organization because of some harm they have caused you.





( ) The attorney that defends someone of committing a crime in a Court of law.





( ) The attorney the accuses someone of committing a crime in a court of law.





( ) The hearing of statements and showing of objects to judge whether a person is guilty of a crime.





( ) A person who sees a crime or an accident.





( ) A person who is accused of having done something illegal.





( ) The crime of intentionally start a fire in order to damage or destroy something.





( ) An opinion or decision made after judging the facts at the end of a trial.







Answer key: 13, 10, 4, 12, 6, 2, 11, 1, 15, 14, 9, 7, 3, 5, 8


Watch the second segment. Talk to a partner about the questions that follow:
video

1. Describe what happened during the scene.





2. What is the officer accusing Wade of?





3. Was it a self-defense crime, in your opinion?






4. Who's right? The officer or Wade?






5. Would it be fair for him to go to jail despite the circumstances of the crime?







The Trial:

Divide the class into two groups.

One group is the prosecution and the other one is the defense.

Come up with a case either defending or accusing the defendant to present the jury (a group of students), who will decide and tell the judge (the teacher) the main character's sentence, based on the evidence and argumentation presented by the students. 


MOVIE SEGMENT DOWNLOAD - FELON

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Labor Pains & The Proposal: Boss x Employee



A. Talk to a partner about the following questions.


1. What should the ideal boss be like? Mention at least 5 important qualities he/she must have.


2. Mention 5 qualities a boss can't have.


3. What is the limit for an employee to bear with a rude boss?


4. Would you quit a position because of your boss even if the job were excellent pay and you didn't have any other opportunity in mind?


5. Would you tell the truth to your boss if you didn't like the he/she treated you? Why (not)?



B. Watch the first part of the segment from the movie Labor Pains and decide.



video


1. Who is right? The boss or the employee?

2. Was the boss too strict about her delay? Why (not)?


3. What would you do if you were the employee?


4. What would you do if you were the boss?


5. What were the wrong things both the employee and the boss did? Explain it.



C. Now watch the second segment from Labor Pains and answer the questions that follow.



video

1. Is the main character actually pregnant?

2. Why did she make that up?


3. Is it okay to lie to your boss just to keep your job?


4. Do you think it's fair that a pregnant woman can't be legally fired? Why (not)?


5. What are the laws in your country concerning pregnant women at the workplace?


6. What will she have to do so that her workmates don't find out she's not pregnant.


7. What will happen next?


8. What should the boss do if/when she finds out about that she is not pregnant at all?


9. What other excuse could she have made up in order to keep her job? Would it be better or worse than hers? Why?




D. Watch the next segment from the movie The Proposal. Then discuss the questions.

video


1. How do you describe the relationship between the boss and the employees? How healthy is it?

2. What about the boss and her secretary?

3. Does the boss deserve her reputation? Explain it.

4. What's your opinion about the way she fired her employee?

5. What's your opinion about the way the fired employee reacted to it?

6. Would you like to be her secretary knowing that the pay is extremely profitable? Why (not)?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Because I Said So: Internet Dating

This is a great romantic comedy. It is extremely current and has great moments, such as the one I selected for this activity. I hope you like it. My students had a lot to talk about.

Online dating or Internet dating is a dating system which allows individuals, couples and groups to make contact and communicate with each other over the Internet, usually with the objective of developing a personal romantic or sexual relationship. Online dating services usually provide matchmaking over the Internet, through the use of personal computers or cell phones.









A. Work with a partner. Discuss the following questions:

1. Are you familiar with Internet dating or is it too far off your reality?

2. What's your opinion about this kind of sites?

3. Is it possible for someone to find their soul mates on line?

4. Would you create a profile of your own on one of those sites? Would you tell the truth
about yourself?

5. Do you think people often lie about themselves on these sites? If so, why do they do it?

6. Is it easier or harder to make new good friends on sites such as orkut, facebook, twitter, or others? Why?


B. Check the items below that one will probably find on one online personals or dating site:

( ) They can search the service provider's database for other individuals, using criteria they set, such as age/ range, gender and location.

( ) They allow members to upload pictures of themselves and browse the photos of others.

( ) They may offer additional services, such as online chats, telephone chats (VOIP), and message boards.

( ) They provide free registrations, but many provide services which require a monthly fee.

( ) They have members coming from a variety of backgrounds looking for different types of relationships.



B. Watch the segment now and answer the questions that follow.

video

1. What happened in the segment?

2. Do you think it is a good idea for a mother to place a personal add on wematch4you.com about her daughter without her knowing about it? Why (not)?

3. Should a mother help her daughter choose Mr. Right for her? Why (not)?

4. Try to remember all the candidates. Which one was:

the ugliest / the funniest / the most ridiculous / the best / the worst

5. What do you think will happen next?

6. What would you do if you were the daughter whose profile had been published on the site? How would you react to it?

MOVIE SEGMENT DOWNLOAD - BECAUSE I SAID SO


Christine Kane's suggestion: 10 Most Accurate Movies about the Internet. Great Suggestions there.