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.

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.

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).

Amanda Palmer (TED.com), “The Art of Asking”

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The Video

This is a TED talk by alternative musician Amanda Palmer, most famous for her work with the band The Dresden Dolls. Palmer talks through the rise of her band and how they came to use crowd funding to release their music.

This video will obviously appeal most to music fans, but the crowd funding-model itself could provide an interesting discussion.

You could use this video in conjunction with New English File (Oxford), Upper Intermediate, Unit 9A, especially the Would You Pass the Bagel Test? article as the idea of honest contribution and “The Art of Asking”, is common to both.

Level and Language Focus

There is a lot of vocabulary in this video that students below upper intermediate level may find too much of a challenge, so this is definitely a video only suitable for upper intermediate students and above.

Inspired by the theme of asking, the worksheet below features a grammar section on the functional language of asking, specifically the use of the infinitive in constructions like “I would like you to do me a favor…”

Worksheet

thumb.JPG Find the free worksheet to accompany this video here: The Art of Asking.

Availability 

Watch the video on YouTube or directly from the TED website (subtitles available on both). A transcript is also available through the TED website.

Upworthy (YouTube Channel), “Careers and Gender Roles”

 

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The Video(s)

The main offering is a thought-provoking video from Upworthy, a YouTube channel whose mission statement is to “tell stories that bring people together”. It is short but definitely has the power to stir up conversation; just a quick glance at the comments section shows how opinions differ on the topic of gender.

Also included here and on the worksheet is an activity connected to the Beyoncé song If I were a boy…

Level and Language Focus

The optimum level for these activities is intermediate, although, together with the song, there is still plenty for upper intermediate students to get out of these videos. The video itself is not too complicated, so with some selectivity when you come to the worksheet, you could use the video with certain, enthusiastic pre-intermediate students.

The worksheet focuses on second conditional grammar and there is also a lot of vocabulary connected to jobs/work/professions in the mix.

Worksheet 

thumb Find the worksheet here : gender

Availability

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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