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.

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.

On Demand News (YouTube Channel), Nelson Mandela Tribute

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The Video

This is a six-minute tribute to Nelson Mandela from online news source ODN.

The clip gives a short narration of Mandela’s long journey from his first TV interview in 1961, his incarceration and through to his success as South African President. Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, Desmond Tutu, Annie Lennox and Will Smith all provide fitting tributes.

Level and Language Focus

The narration in the video is fairly slow and easy to follow, the vocabulary a little more challenging. It would work well in an intermediate or upper intermediate class, and you could consider it for a good pre-intermediate class with a little more support.

The main language focus of the video is past simple and could provide a good introduction if you are reviewing past tenses. Using the worksheet below, you can practise vocabulary associated with characteristics and adjectives to describe personality.

A good follow on activity would be to have students prepare their own tribute to someone who has inspired them in order to give presentations in a future class.

Worksheet
A worksheet can be found here:
Nelson Mandela handout (Right Click, Save As…)

Availability

Watch the video over at YouTube.

Would I Lie To You? (BBC, UK) Truth or Lie?

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The Videos

The programme is a British comedy panel show in which celebrities tell largely unbelievable anecdotes with the objective being that the other team, after a bout of heavy questioning, guess the validity of the story.

The three celebrities in these clips are The Daily Show star Trevor Noah, broadcasting favourite Sir Terry Wogan and last-but-not-least Des O’Connor.

The three clips are light-hearted and suitable for adult classes, or could be used in most teenage classes.

Level and Language Focus

The activity Two Truths, One Lie is always  a good ice-breaker activity on the first day of term etc.. With the videos (spoiler alert!) being two truths and one lie, you could use them to introduce the activity in class or as a follow-on. Caution, however, is advised using these videos with a class you have never met before as the general level needs to be quite high, not great if you have no knowledge of their strengths or if they are a little rusty after a long summer holiday. The activity doesn’t only need to be presented as an ice-breaker; you could use the two truths, one lie activity at any point to review/introduce a grammar point providing the three statements utilize said grammar. One obvious grammar point connected to the three videos would be past tense(s) and/or used to and would for past habits.

Recommended levels for these videos are good intermediate, upper intermediate and pre advanced.

Worksheet
A worksheet can be found here:
Would I Lie To You ESL (Right Click, Save As…)

 

Availability

All the videos are available on YouTube: Trevor Noah, Terry Wogan and Des O’Connor

Breaking Bad Season 5, “Nothing Stops This Train”

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The Clip

This clip documents the filming of the famous train heist scene in the fifth season of Breaking Bad. Join the crew and actors on set as they film this highly complicated sequence featuring a huge train which breaks down mid-filming. The video is also interspersed with clips from the final take so warn your class of spoilers before you play it to them!

Level and Language Focus

The video should be used with levels Upper-Intermediate and above.

Worksheet
A worksheet can be found here:
Breaking Bad Worksheet (Right Click, Save As…)

Availability

You can view the video on YouTube.