Tracey Ullman’s Show (BBC, UK), “Last Words”

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The Video

Tracey Ullman is a transatlantic comedy sensation, here, making a return to British TV for a prime time sketch show.

This scene takes place in a hospital where we meet a woman about to pass to the other side. The comedy arises as she starts reeling off a list of mundane regrets based around not having posted enough photos on social media.

If your students have access to social media then few will not connect with Ullman’s poignant comment on our obsession with sharing every minutia of our day with the world. Care should be taken due to the fact that the scene essentially depicts a dying person; if you have any doubts surrounding sensitivities that may arise from this subject matter, seriously consider the use of this video.

Level and Language Focus

The video is short and provides a succinct example of how the construction I wish I had… is used. The worksheet below would be a good starting point for a class about the third conditional as although this construction is not detailed, the construction I wish is explained fully and uses the same grammatical ideas (hypothetical past).

The shortness of the video opens it up to a range of different levels starting at intermediate and upwards.

The worksheet features a game but it might not be suitable if you teach students who do not have a good understanding of western “celebrity” culture.

Worksheet

thumb Find the worksheet here: Tracey Ullman Handout

Availability

You can watch the video over at YouTube.

BBC Stories (BBC, UK), “The Invention That Helped Me Write Again”

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The Video

Graphic designer Emma Lawton was 29 when she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The condition started a terrible tremor effecting her hands which caused her serious problems with drawing and writing.

In the video, we meet Haiyan Zhang who is developing an extraordinarily groundbreaking device that counteracts the tremors to amazing results.

This is a short, feel-good video about the power of technology in our lives for the good with a touching human story at its core. It is surely impossible that any student wouldn’t be moved by this incredible story.

Language Focus and Level

The language used in the video is not overly easy, but considering the help provided by the worksheet and in the video itself, you can use this video with intermediate and upper intermediate classes.

Following the story from its initial stages right through to its outcomes, we get a wide range of tenses used in context. Using the worksheet below, you can use the video to give a full review of tenses/verb forms, which include: present simple, present continuous, past simple, present perfect, going to, will…

The activity at the end of the worksheet also concentrates on a verb tense review.

Worksheet

thumb  Find the worksheet to accompany this video here: bbc-stories

Availability

Watch the video via BBC News or YouTube.

Inside Edition (YouTube Channel), “Twin Teens Celebrate Their Differences”

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The Video

Inside Edition is a newsmagazine with a popular YouTube channel. This story is about a set of English twins who have the curiosity of being born “one black, one white”. The news story is short and simple, and the girls  are upbeat and positive about their unique experience.

Level and Language Focus

The level of the video is perfect for intermediate classes. The worksheet below features a full transcript with vocabulary help so you could also consider the video for a strong pre-intermediate class.

A section of the worksheet is dedicated to talking about differences with focus on the word whereas.

Worksheet

tumb    Download the worksheet here: Twins

Availability

You can watch the video via YouTube.

 

 

ODN (YouTube Channel), “How the UK Public Really Felt About Brexit”

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The Video

This video captures the reactions of the British public in the wake of the decision to leave the EU. With a mix of elation and despair, the video shows the full spectrum of emotion in the air in the UK at the moment. Still in a state of shock and uncertainty, the only definite thing we can be sure of at the moment is that the United Kingdom is far from being “united”.

Level and Language Focus

The video features many different speakers; some easy to understand, some difficult. They are all however native speakers and the video wouldn’t be recommendable to any levels lower than upper intermediate.

Many of the adjectives used to describe how people are feeling; disappointed, worried etc. use the -ed ending, and the difference between -ed/-ing adjective endings is explained in the worksheet below with activities.

The worksheet also features role cards so you can hold your own class debate on the subject. 

Worksheet

thumb Download the worksheet here: Brexit Handout (Right Click, Save As…)

Availability

Watch the video on YouTube.

Top Gear (BBC, UK), The Smallest Car in the World

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The Video

Jeremy Clarkson drives the Peel P50, the world’s smallest production car to work at the BBC, discovering some of the advantages and drawbacks of such a tiny vehicle.

Top Gear was the most widely watched factual television programme in the world and this clip has enough laughs to make it enjoyable for any general audience.

Level and Language Focus

The video is perfect for intermediate and upper intermediate levels with fairly simple language and clear narration.

The obvious topic for discussion is cars and transport. You can use the worksheet below to teach the grammar topic of comparatives and superlatives.

Worksheet
A worksheet can be found here:
Top Gear Handout (Right Click, Save As…)

Availability

Watch the video on YouTube.

Room 101 (BBC, UK), Selected Clips

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The Videos

Room 101 is a BBC comedy series in which celebrities are invited to discuss their pet hates and persuade the host to put them in Room 101–the place where the world’s most foul evils are stored.

The four clips feature the popular UK comedians Ross Noble, Jason Manford, Phill Jupitus and Jack Whitehall. The show is clean, inoffensive and suitable for adult or teenage classes.

Level and Language Focus

The videos are a rewarding challenge for good upper intermediate groups, and are perfect for pre advanced and advanced classes.

The worksheet below looks at phrasal verbs using the particles “up” and “down” in relation to the video.

Worksheet

Find a worksheet connected to these videos here:

Phrasal Verbs Room 101 Worksheet (Right Click, Save As…)

Availability

All the videos are available on YouTube: 1, 2, 3 & 4.

 

The Late Late Show (CBS, USA) – Alanis Morissette Updates ‘Ironic’ Lyrics

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The Video

Chat show host James Corden invites Alanis Morissette to perform a 21st century version of her classic “Ironic” featuring references to racist Facebook friends, electronic cigarette breaks, having a house full of DVDs and getting Netflix and many more.

The lyrics include a few America-specific references, but with the help of the worksheet below the video is universal enough to appeal to audiences worldwide.

Level and Language Focus

The video could be used in intermediate, upper intermediate or pre advanced classes although it may prove a little easy for the latter.

One possible grammar extension is to use situations in the song to practice the third conditional as detailed in the worksheet below. This could then easily be extended to mixed conditionals if it is on your syllabus.

Worksheet
A worksheet can be found here:

Availability

You can view the video on YouTube.