Sky News (YouTube Channel), “Inside The $5bn Industry Of Child Beauty Pageants”

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The Video

Sky News reports on the growing industry of childhood beauty pageants. The controversy surrounding this often bizarre world is explored and questions connected with future body issues are raised by an expert.

This issue is bound to provoke a reaction from your class, but be careful with cultural sensitivities. The child and mother featured in the film are a full realization of the Honey Boo Boo stereotype and provide the all the drama you’d imagine.

Language Focus and Level

As a news story, the voice over to this video is an easily-understood gateway for intermediate level and above. Shari, the mother in this feature, has a thick Texas accent which could provide a challenge for more advanced students.

There is a large second conditional grammar section in the worksheet (below), which is ideally aimed at upper intermediate but could be used for high intermediate. Zero and first conditional are briefly covered but essentially the main content surrounds hypothetical situations and the extension activity requires the use of this grammar. 

The worksheet also includes small sections on the grammar connected with the verbs of the senses (she looks good, she looks like an adult…etc.) and the vocabulary used in the video.

Worksheet

thumb   Download the worksheet here: Sky News

Availability

Find the video over at YouTube.

Communication Activity: Relative Clauses

This is a grammar extension activity if you have taught relative clauses and feel your class needs speaking practice in this area.

Firstly, as for the main activity your class may need to use the alphabet quite heavily to complete the activity, it may be of value to recap the pronunciation of individual letters using the following worksheet (depending on how confident your students are with the alphabet).

thumb alaphabet  Find the worksheet here: Dictating and The NATO Phonetic Alphabet

Next we have the main activity which explained fully in the teachers notes at the end of the document. Crosswords are a fun way of practicing relative clauses as long as you ensure students use them in their clues: “3 Down is a city where The Beatles were born”.

This exercise features two corresponding crosswords and is a communication activity in which students for their own clues for the items from UK and USA culture listed on the worksheet.

The activity is suitable for intermediate and above, and also requires that students have at least a basic knowledge of UK and USA culture.

thumb Find the communication activity here : UK and USA Culture

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.

Cameron Russell, (TED, ted.com), “Looks Aren’t Everything”

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The Video

Model Cameron Russell delivers a frank take on her industry, dispelling myths that we would all be happier if only we were a little skinnier. Perhaps the best part of the talk is when Russell deconstructs the tricks of the glamour world, showing us personal photos taken on the same days as sleek, professional snaps.

The talk has racked up over 10 million views on YouTube, 16 million on TED and would prove interesting to both a male and female audience. There is a professional tilt to the talk and the worksheet below extrapolates the language of giving presentations. There is also an extension task were you can set your student(s) up to give their own presentations on their respective industries.

Language Focus and Level

The main bulk of the talk is delivered in a clear, easily understandable manner and would be suitable for upper intermediate and above. There is extra vocabulary help included in the worksheet (below) and you always have the option of subtitles either through ted.com or YouTube.

There is a section in the worksheet dedicated to conditionals and how they can be used in presentations.

Worksheet

thumb  Download the worksheet here: Cameron Russell

Availability

You can access the video either through ted.com or 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.

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.

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.

Communication Bonus: USA Number Quiz & UK Number Quiz

Here are two more variations on our current run of quizzes, this time we have number quizzes based around fun facts about the USA and the UK.

With some vocabulary help, these resources can be used with intermediate and above level students and would be perfect for USA-based or UK-based summer schools and teaching English to migrants and refugees in the USA or the UK.

Download the quizzes here: USA in Numbers and UK in Numbers

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CBS News (USA),”The “Downton Abbey” Effect?”

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The Video

The demand for British butlers speaking the Queen’s English and looking austere is in high demand, CBS looks at why in this news story.

Level and Language Focus

With fairly basic language and delivery, this video is suitable for intermediate and upper-intermediate level students.

Use the video and the worksheet below to teach the passive voice including sections on passive reporting verbs (it is said that…), and the causative (I had my shoes polished…).

Worksheet

thumb Get the worksheet here: Downton Abbey Effect

Availability

Watch the video on YouTube.

A transcript of the video can be found here.

Embedding is disabled so you have to visit the link above to watch.

Paths Less Pedaled (YouTube Channel), “What is Bicycle Travel?”

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The Video

This is a short promotional video to try and get more people into the joys of cycling.

Level and Language Focus

The language in the video alone is suitable for use in intermediate and upper intermediate classes. Using the worksheet below you could extend the video and supporting activities to good pre intermediate classes.

The main grammar focus of the video is the use of gerunds after prepositions.

Worksheet

thumb  Download the worksheet here: Cycling.

Availability

Watch the video on YouTube.