Bottom (BBC, UK), “Mr Gas Man!”

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The Video

Bottom was a mid-nineties slap-stick comedy with Rik Mayall featuring two professional losers and their catastrophic lifestyle. This form of comedy works well in the English Language classroom as clever wordplay is side-stepped in favor of  visual gags.

This clip features a visit from the gas man, however, Eddy and Ritchie are stealing their neighbor’s gas and aren’t so keen on letting him in. When he finally does enter, the comedy arises from their continued use of very formal constructions despite plans to hit him over the head.

Language Focus and Level

This video has been selected as a lot of the dialogue is intentionally slow, meaning students of levels intermediate and above should be able to pick up what is going on.

The worksheet below features vocabulary help and the grammatical focus is on making, accepting and refusing requests and offers.

Worksheet

gas.JPG   Download the worksheet here: Bottom

Availability

The video is available via YouTube.

Sportsworld (BBC,UK), “Breaking Barriers in India”

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The Video

BBC Sportsworld travels to India to check out the first football tournament set up for women in India. We meet Bend it Like Beckham (Musical) and former Tottenham star Tanvie Hans, a local girl who gives us a unique insight into women’s sport in India.

Language Focus and Level

Unless your class has had a lot of practice with different accents, the Indian accents in this film could prove difficult for levels lower than Upper Intermediate. If you have students who are interested in global English and different accents, you could use the video with Intermediate students since the language is not in itself very complicated.

The worksheet below focuses on the often tricky grammar of will and going to to express the future. The video features much talk of the future of women’s sport in India providing great examples of how we use will and going to to make predictions with differing degrees of certainty.

Worksheet

thummb  Download the worksheet here: India

Availability

The video is available via the link below. Embedding restrictions mean you cannot watch directly on this page but it is freely available if you follow this link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0513f9j/player

Communication Activity: Phrasal Verbs Which Make Sense!

This is a grammar extension activity if you have introduced the idea of phrasal verbs to your class and they need some speaking practice, or if you want to build up confidence in this area.

The worksheet introduces 21 phrasal verbs which all make some kind of sense considering their constituent parts, e.g. “sit down” makes more sense than the more abstract “give up”. All the verbs are in common usage and the worksheet can therefore be used for pre-intermediate or intermediate level if a quick brush-up is needed.

The introduction of the verbs, grouped by particle, then leads into a speaking activity which requires the student to think about the correct phrasal verb from a context and then use it in free speech.

thumb Download the worksheet here: Phrasal Verbs Which Make Sense

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.

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.

Saturday Night Live (NBC, USA), “Trump Retweets”

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The Video

Part of a collection of popular Trump skits, Alec Baldwin nails a flamboyant Trump who is constantly retweeting during an important security briefing.

The video is designed for an adult audience with very mild cursing. A political piece which presents the president in a ridiculous light, some may be offended but the video will certainly open up a fiery discussion!

Level and Language Focus

The speed with which Trump speaks is relatively slow and could be used for a good intermediate, upper intermediate and, being quite short, could be used to open advanced classes.

The grammar focus of the worksheet is constructions using just to talk about actions which happened very recently: “I just retweeted a great tweet!”. The worksheet looks at the use of past simple and present perfect with just.

There is a pronunciation section to the worksheet which focuses on the following phonemes:

phonemes

There is vocabulary help available with the worksheet below and also the option of using subtitles via YouTube.

*The handout uses pronunciation based on Received Pronunciation, the accent of Standard English in the UK*

Worksheet

thumb Download the worksheet here: snl-trump-worksheet

Availability

Find the video on YouTube.

eurodestination (YouTube Channel), “Visit Denmark”

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The Video

This is a short promotional video for the Nordic utopia that is Denmark. There is plenty of swooping cinematography featuring the best a Danish vacation has to offer.

The video seeks to answer the question What is a good holiday about? and would provide a nice introduction to the theme of vacations/travel if you are about to study this topic.

Language Focus and Level

The narration on this video moves at a deliberately leisured pace which, combined with the vocabulary help in the worksheet, could be suitable for pre-intermediate or intermediate level students.

There is a grammar section in the worksheet which focuses on the use of the gerund in the video.

Worksheet

capture Find the accompanying worksheet here: denmark

Availability

Watch the video over at YouTube.