Saturday Night Live (NBC, USA), Pitch Meeting

top.jpg

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.

BBC Stories (BBC, UK), “The Invention That Helped Me Write Again”

top

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.

Nilofer Merchant (TED.com), “Got a Meeting? Take a Walk”

Nilofer Merchant - Got a Meeting Take a Walk TED.JPG

The Video

Nilofer Merchant suggests a small idea that just might have a big impact on your life and health: next time you have a one-on-one meeting, make it into a “walking meeting” — and let ideas flow while you walk and talk.

With over two million views on TED.com alone, this video speaks to everybody, especially professionals who maybe spend a little too long in the office.

Level and Language Focus

This video can be used with either intermediate or upper intermediate classes. As with most TED talks, the speaker presents in a clear manner which is not too difficult to understand plus you have the added bonus of subtitles and a transcript if needed.

During the talk, Merchant uses a wide array of tenses past, present and future. One idea for a grammar extension is to use the worksheet below to do a complete tense review of the majority of the tenses needed at B1/B2 level-it’s one way of dealing with the student who claims they want to learn “all the tenses”!

Worksheet

thumb ws  Find the accompanying worksheet here: Merchant WS

You can also access a copy of the transcript through the TED link below.

Availability

The video is available on TED.com or YouTube.