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.

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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.

BBC News and 5 News (UK), English Sparkling Wine Stories

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The Video

Not many people associate great wine production with England, but due to rising temperatures and the same chalky soil running from France, under the channel to Southern England, English sparkling wine production is experiencing a boom that looks to continue long into the future.

Level and Language Focus

The two videos are the clear narration you would expect from TV news channels. The vocabulary used in the videos is not too technical and should be accessible to learners with intermediate and upper intermediate levels.

The focus of the worksheet below is the Business English vocabulary used in the video. You could also use the video as an introduction to talking about the environment and climate change since this is the focus of the news story.

Worksheet

tumb Find a free worksheet here (Right Click, Save As…): Sparkling Wine

Availability

You can watch the 5 News story on YouTube.

The BBC video is available by following the link below. Unfortunately we cannot embed the video on this page but you should be able to watch it freely on the BBC website.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-29936464

Jamie’s Dream School (Channel 4, UK) “Alvin Hall’s Guide to Making a Million”

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The Video

TV chef Jamie Oliver invites American financial adviser Alvin Hall to deliver a maths class to inspire a group of under-performing high school teenagers. Hall tells the kids about his hard upbringing and his rise to financial success through self-discipline. Will this story inspire the teens to realise their dreams of one day making a million pounds?

Level and Language Focus

Hall’s diction is slow and clear, and the video should be accessible to learners with a level of intermediate and above.

You can use the worksheet below to introduce the grammar topic of hypothetical situations including the second conditional and the construction I wish…

The video is full of money vocabulary and could be used as an introduction to this important topic.

As the lesson takes place in a high school classroom, young learners may identify more with some of the characters in the clip, but it is suitable for adult classes too.

Worksheet

alvin thub Download the worksheet here: Alvin Hall Talks Maths (Right Click, Save As…)

Availability

You can watch the video on YouTube.

Mark Albion (Free Range Studios), What Is “The Good Life” Parable

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The Video

New York Times bestselling author Mark Albion’s 3-minute animated movie “The Good Life” produced with Free Range Studios (The Story of Stuff; The Meatrix) and based on Mark’s new book, More Than Money.

A young man takes a break after finishing business school in a small fishing village. He proposes a business proposition to an old fisherman who enjoys the slow pace of life and on doing so learns an important life lesson himself.

Level and Language Focus

The narration of the video is fairly slow and the vocabulary is not too complicated therefore the video could be used in pre-intermediate and intermediate classes.

An obvious grammar point in this video is second conditional, which is used throughout. A discussion point to the video could be free time and work-life balance.

Worksheet
A worksheet can be found here:
The Good Life Parable (Right Click, Save As…)

Availability

Watch the video on YouTube.