Saturday Night Live (NBC, USA), Pitch Meeting

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The Video

The Saturday Night Live team takes us inside the advertising department at Cheetos where two teams are pitching for the Super Bowl half-time advert. One team are flatly rejected when they present ideas of kids hanging out having fun. The other team, however, find their pretentious projections of human struggle coupled with corn chips far more welcomed.

The video is a direct reference to the half-time ads of this year’s Super Bowl, but, as long as your students have access to a TV, they should recognize the current trend for the pseudo-philosophical nonsense used by companies to sell us their wares.

The video is designed for an adult audience but remains fairly clean. There are some parts which could potentially spark cultural sensitivity, so be sure to watch the video before showing it to your students!

If you teach any advertising executives, this video could provide some light relief yet still remain connected to their line of work.

Language Focus and Level

The narration in this video is fairly slow and the vocabulary is largely non-challenging meaning you could use this video with good intermediate, upper intermediate and if it’s a good fit (pre) advanced students.

You can use this video to talk about describing the plot of a movie or TV show. The worksheet below takes the student through all the necessary grammar to do this, including the difference between dynamic and stative verbs and the use of present tenses (present simple, present continuous and present perfect) when describing a story. This grammar leads on to a speaking activity in which students write their own “recap” style presentations of their favorite movies/TV shows, great if you are looking to do an extended speaking activity.

Worksheet

thumb  Find the main worksheet connected to the video here: SNL Pitch Worksheet

thumb-ii   There is also a separate handout about Stative Verbs available here: Stative Verbs Handout.

Availability

Find the video over at YouTube.

The other optional video detailed in the worksheet is here.

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The Apprentice (BBC, UK), Series 4 Episode 3, “Themed Events”

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The Video

Another action-packed episode of one of the BBC’s flagship shows, equally peppered with moments of business acumen and cringe-worthy ignorance. This time the two teams are given the task of putting on a themed event in a London pub with one of the teams ending up facing the wrath of the UK’s very own Donald Trump: Sir Alan Sugar, who picks apart where it all went wrong.

There are plenty of moments in which organizing events, marketing strategies, profits and margins and general business are discussed which provides an entertaining alternative for your Business English classes.

Language Focus and Level

The video should not be used with any students with a level lower than upper intermediate. Even if using this video with B2 students, it should be used selectively: we would mostly recommend it for private business students who enjoy challenging/heavy material,  B2 classes with a good listening level who are used to processing a lot of information or classes/private students who are looking to study an academic certificate in the near future (e.g. CAE, IELTS)

With the vast amount of vocabulary, idiomatic expressions and phrasal verbs detailed in the worksheet (below), the video would be ideal for pre-advanced and above. Due to the length of the episode and the amount of things that could be focused on, this episode’s accompanying worksheet is quite long and could potentially provide 2+ hours worth of work (depending on how in depth you want to get).

The main challenge to any student watching this episode would inevitably be the high level vocabulary and there is also a grammar section in the worksheet below featuring the third conditional, should have and functional language to talk about what went wrong/blaming others.

Worksheet

thumbA worksheet is available here: The Apprentice – Events

Availability

Watch the video over at YouTube or purchase the episode via iTunes (£1.49, UK).

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.

Dragons’ Den Next Gen Den (CBC, Canada), Culinary Pitches

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The Videos

Dragons’ Den is the Canadian version of the American series Shark Tank, a business based reality show in which budding entrepreneurs bid for the investment of a panel of successful venture capitalists.

These three clips feature food-based business propositions: Junked Food, a gourmet take on of your favourite snacks, DineCasa, an interesting proposition in which you pay to dine in a stranger’s home and Picnix, an al fresco catering service for those wanting to avoid the hassle of preparing their own cucumber sandwiches.

Level and Language Focus

The programme is perfect for business English classes, especially if have to prepare presentations or pitch similar to the videos as the worksheet highlights the specific vocabulary for business presentations.

With this being a fast-paced reality TV show, the language is not easy for English learners and we would only recommend these videos for strong upper-intermediate and above.

Worksheet

ws thumb.JPG Download the free worksheet: Dragons’ Den Canada WS (right click, save as…)

Availability

All the videos are available on YouTube: Junked Food pitch, DineCasa pitch and Picnix pitch.

 

New York Times, “Small Plates”

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The Clip

A group of kids are taken to an exclusive New York restaurant to sample a tasting menu of seven dishes. The clip is quite charming, inoffensive and works well as a gentle opening to a class.

Level and Language Focus

The children use many examples of verbs of the senses (“This tastes like soap…”) to discuss the dishes. This grammar is usually introduced at B2 level although it should not be difficult for lower levels.

Children’s voices are generally a little more difficult to understand however, in this video, the language is pretty simple so you could show this video at Intermediate or Upper Intermediate.

Worksheet
A worksheet can be found here:
Small Plates Worksheet (Right Click, Save Target As…)
A follow-up game based on the grammar of verbs of the senses is here:
Verbs of Senses Game (Right Click, Save Target As…)

Availability

You can view the video on YouTube and New York Times.