BBC News (BBC, USA), “New Child Billionaires”

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The Video

These tech-savvy, business-minded children are already making waves in the professional world. BBC News America, visits a number of individuals at the Incubator School, Los Angeles to speak to these fascinating youngsters.

Level and Language Focus

There’s nothing complicated about this simple BBC News story with nice clear narration and easily understandable vocabulary. If you have students who are particularly enthusiastic about listening activities, this video could provide a challenge to high pre-intermediate students. The level is certainly accessible to all intermediate students.

When teaching how to express the future, we often focus on going to and will and completely ignore the fact that simple verbs like want, plan, hope etc. can also express a future idea. These constructions normally do not give students many problems, so the worksheet below could serve as a gentle introduction to the grammar topic of the future.

Worksheet

thumb  Download the worksheet here:child-billionaires

Availability

Watch the video on YouTube.

GQ’s Most Expensivest S*** (YouTube Channel), “What Does a $295 Burger Taste Like?”

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The Video

A rather different offering this time in GQ’s multi-million viewed series, the dubiously titled “Most Expensivest S***”. Far from formal, we join extravagant rapper 2 Chainz in learning about Le Burger Extravagant; a $295 offering from a fancy New York restaurant.

A rare glimpse into how the other half live, this video is bound to provoke a reaction in class. Designed for an exclusively adult audience, the video features numerous expletives.

Level and Language Focus

If your student(s) are after challenging accents then 2 Chainz is certainly coming up with the goods. The video is a good way to explore difficult accents in that a lot of what he says is either repeating or repeated by the chef who is relatively easier to understand (to a non-native speaker, at least)!  Given this challenging aspect to the diction, we recommend you only use this video with upper intermediate students who are want a challenge, up to advanced.

The worksheet below also features an activity to explore the colloquial language/slang used in the video.

Worksheet

thumb Download the worksheet here: most-expensive-burger

Availability 

Watch the video over on YouTube.

ODN (YouTube Channel), “Taxi Hotel”

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The Video

ODN visits New York City and a plucky entrepreneur converting vans and taxi cabs into affordable accommodation for the tourist on a budget. It is a short and enjoyable news story that everyone will have an opinion about.

Language Focus and Level

The grammar used in this video is pretty simple with some more advanced vocabulary included. You can use the video with good pre-intermediate and intermediate level students.

There is no grammar focus with this video but the worksheet below could be used as a quick class introduction to the topics of tourism, hotels, holidays or travel.

Worksheet

thumb   Download the worksheet here: taxi-hotel

Availability

Watch the video over at YouTube.

The Last Leg (Channel 4, UK), “How I Learnt To Shoot A Bow With No Arms”

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The Video

USA Paralympian, Matt Stutzman, explains how he honed his incredible archery skills despite being born without arms. An amazing story, this video is both funny and inspirational.

Language Focus and Level

This video is suitable for intermediate and upper intermediate level students. The grammar focus in the worksheet below is the future of the past, often covered within reported speech.

Worksheet

thumb  Download the worksheet here: how-i-learnt-to-shoot-a-bow

Availability

Find the video on YouTube.

Grammar Bonus: Comparatives Number Quiz

We continue our obsession with these pub quiz-style activities with these final offerings, this time designed to facilitate the use of the comparative.

The comparative can be a rather dry grammar topic so once you have gone through the rules, why not inject a little fun into the class with these quizzes?

The two activities below are designed for pre intermediate and upper intermediate + classes. If your class is intermediate level, have a look at both quizzes and you may find that one could be used with your class.

Notes on the target language (e.g. “I think a dolphin can swim faster than 20 mph”) are included on the worksheet.

Download worksheets here: Pre Intermediate Comparative Activity and Upper Intermediate Comparative Activity.

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Communication Bonus: USA Number Quiz & UK Number Quiz

Here are two more variations on our current run of quizzes, this time we have number quizzes based around fun facts about the USA and the UK.

With some vocabulary help, these resources can be used with intermediate and above level students and would be perfect for USA-based or UK-based summer schools and teaching English to migrants and refugees in the USA or the UK.

Download the quizzes here: USA in Numbers and UK in Numbers

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Grammar Bonus: How…? Questions Number Quiz

Here is another fact-based quiz this time to practice How…? questions (How many…?, How much…?, How long…?, How far…? etc.).

The quiz not only tests How…? questions but also complicated numbers including six digit numbers and decimals.

You can use this quiz with intermediate and higher level students.

As this activity could potentially take a while (30-45 mins), it is a fun activity for the end of the week/a fun class.

You can download the activity here: How…? Quiz

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Grammar Bonus: Question Formation Number Quiz

Here is an extra resource for practicing question formation, recommended for good pre-intermediate, intermediate and upper intermediate. You can also use this resource for practicing more complex numbers.

All the facts and figures come from a fun board game we were playing at the weekend that we figured would be great for the classroom.

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Download the worksheet here: Question Formation Numbers Quiz

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CBS News (USA),”The “Downton Abbey” Effect?”

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The Video

The demand for British butlers speaking the Queen’s English and looking austere is in high demand, CBS looks at why in this news story.

Level and Language Focus

With fairly basic language and delivery, this video is suitable for intermediate and upper-intermediate level students.

Use the video and the worksheet below to teach the passive voice including sections on passive reporting verbs (it is said that…), and the causative (I had my shoes polished…).

Worksheet

thumb Get the worksheet here: Downton Abbey Effect

Availability

Watch the video on YouTube.

A transcript of the video can be found here.

Embedding is disabled so you have to visit the link above to watch.

The Apprentice (BBC, UK), Series 1 Episode 11, “The Interviews”

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The Video

The Apprentice launches its UK version with Sir Alan Sugar in place of Donald Trump and the BBC’s slick cinematography using London’s “The City” a beautiful backdrop. Sugar plays his role especially well mixing the super successful businessman with his tell-it-straight, East End beginnings.

In this episode, the remaining contestants, after weeks of grueling tasks, face the ultimate challenge in the form of a series of cutthroat job interviews with a selection of the UK’s top business moguls.

The programme is suitable for adult Business English and general English classes and contains some bad language. Pay attention to the times given on the worksheet and you can skip a lot of the filler and concentrate on the important parts of the episode.

Level and Language Focus

The episode is 45+mins long and designed for native speakers so it is certainly not recommended for learners below an upper intermediate level. If you are going to use the video with upper intermediate students they should be aware of the challenge ahead of them and be open to material of which some of the content they won’t understand. What the episode does offer to these students is a good mix of different speech: there is the clear speech of the voice-overs, more informal moments with some colloquial language and the business tone of the actual interviews.

The video is obviously perfect for Business English students and any students who have a job interview in English on the horizon. Using the worksheet below, the video can be played in a group or one-to-one class.

The worksheet below focuses mainly on the vocabulary used in the episode.

Worksheet

thumb Download the worksheet that accompanies this video here: Interviews

Availability

Catch the episode over on YouTube.