Miranda (BBC, UK), “Before I Die” (S02E02)

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The Video

Miranda is one of the BBC’s most popular comedy series. It follows the life of clumsy 30-something Miranda, as she looks for love and fulfilment in a world where she never really fits in. A feel-good comedy for adult classes, Miranda mixes slapstick, visual comedy with cleverly constructed awkward social situations.

There is nothing especially offensive but the episode does have the slightest reference to sex, cervixes and uses one mildly offensive word.

There is one scene where Miranda visits a funeral and although injected straight through with comedy, could be a sensitive moment if you are aware of a recent death close to any of your students.

Level and Language Focus

As a TV series goes, Miranda is good for the ESL classroom due to a lot of her comedy deriving from the visual and not complicated word-play. However, we must still remember any TV series is going to be hard for an English learner.

We would recommend this video and accompanying worksheet for levels upper-intermediate and above. Under very controlled circumstances could you use this video with intermediate students, but it is always recommended that you watch the video with your students in mind before taking it into class.

The focus of the worksheet below is constructions with “get” of which there are numerous examples in the episode. The activity takes apart the different concepts that “get” can convey in English including phrasal verbs and passive “get”, then follows this up with a speaking exercise.

Worksheet

thumb Download the free worksheet here (Right Click, Save As…): Miranda Series 2

Availability

The best version of this episode is available via Daily Motion and there are also a few lower quality versions available through YouTube.

If you have access to Netflix, you may also find this episode is available through the service in certain countries.

 

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Would You Rather…? (BBC America, USA) “Death Row Dinner”

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The Video

Would You Rather…? is an American panel show featuring four guest comedians who answer a series of dilemmas ranging from the serious to the plain preposterous. In this clip, the guys weigh up whether they’d prefer to have dinner with all of their exes at once or with five guys eating their last meal on death row.

The show is designed for an adult audience, there is however nothing too offensive in this particular clip so could be used with an older teenage class (always watch the video and read the worksheet before taking it into class!).

Level and Language Focus

The guests on the show speak fairly slowly and there is not a lot of complicated vocabulary  making it suitable for intermediate or upper intermediate students. Being fairly short, this video makes a perfect starter activity or could be used as an introduction to a lesson on second conditionals.

The worksheet below deals with the construction “I’d rather…”, an important and widely-used construction often ignored by the textbooks despite it’s suitability as a perfect conversation starter.

Worksheet

thumb.JPG  Download the free worksheet here (Right Click, Save As..) Death Row Dinner

Availability

Watch the video on YouTube.

The IT Crowd (Channel 4, UK), Series 1, Episode 1

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The Video

The IT Crowd is a British-Irish sitcom centred around the IT department of a big business. The comedy is a perfect bridge between old-style classic British comedy and modern tastes. Despite the odd reference to sex and mild cursing it would be suitable for teens and adults with the official age-rating being 15. A feel-good geeky comedy for a general audience, this video contains little material that could be seen as offensive.

In this episode, new employee Jen is sent to manage the IT department after writing on her CV that she has expertise in the area. It transpires that the extent to said expertise really goes no further than “sending emails…receiving emails…I could go on…” and the boys in the IT department are none too pleased at her arrival.

Level and Language Focus

The worksheet below concentrates on the Phrasal Verbs littered around the script ranging from the most common in usage (come in, shut up, get out) to more juicy examples for the vocabulary experts (size him up). If you are planning to use the worksheet, make sure you plan for enough time; it could take up an entire 90 minute lesson or two hour-long lessons. You may consider setting some parts for homework so you can watch the episode without pausing for too long.

The language used would definitely suit upper intermediate to advanced learners. You may consider using the video with especially eager intermediate students or those that work in the IT industry.

Worksheet

thumb A worksheet featuring vocabulary and phrasal verbs is available here (right click, save as…) The IT Crowd

Availability

Watch the episode on Vimeo. You can also watch the video via the Channel 4 website but you will need to complete a short registration process (free) and be navigating from the UK. If you access the video through Channel 4 you have the added bonus of subtitles.

TRT World (YouTube Channel), “Leicester’s Football Fairytale”

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The Video

It’s been called “the biggest upset in football’s history”, and few could not be moved by the fairytale story of Leicester City’s fantasy season. 5,000-1 rank outsiders back at the start of the season, this news story follows the unbelievable feat the club has achieved despite all odds.

Level and Language Focus

There are lots of different elements to this video each with differing levels of difficulty making the video perfect for general classes. The general level of the video is intermediate and it would also be suitable at upper intermediate.

The worksheet below focuses on the grammar connected to comparatives and superlatives used in the video and features a speaking exercise to practice those complicated rules associated with this grammar!

Worksheet

worksheet thumb.JPG You can find a worksheet connected to this video here (Right Click, Save As…) LCFC Success.

Availability

Watch the video on YouTube.

Self-Study

Try the online quiz.