My “Favourite Film” Lesson

OK Once is not actually my favourite film but it’s not bad at all. I was in the middle of a lesson the other day and this was the only film I could think of. I did this lesson (or a version of it) and it went really well.

It’s a simple low-level lesson and if you do similar lessons or activities little and often, you really will begin to get slightly more autonomous students. The whole idea is to encourage them to notice the language that’s all around them just a little bit more.

In this case, they have a tiny text but they’re going to use it to notice 3 language points as well as working on noticing errors and getting the meaning of vocab from context.

  • Level: elementary / pre-intermediate
  • Time: 1 – 3 hours
  • Objective: to encourage sts to notice language in context


  1. favourite film worksheet
  2. Procedure


If you’re looking for some more film related lessons try this one or this one

Tip: If a film comes up in class that your students don’t know, do a research hunt. Give them 3 minutes and send half the class to IMDB and half to Wikipedia and then see what they come up with. It’s great for practising independent research skills.

Quotes – the return

Good afternoon from a sweltering London (words that don’t often appear together).  As some of you may have seen there is a lesson written months ago on Inversion that feature in quotes.  link below for those who haven’t seen it.

So it will come as no shock that we are going to return to some quotes.  I love them as they are little nuggets of text, great for prediction activities, great for grammar, and often chock full of interesting lexis.  Frankly, what is not to love.

This time rather than focusing on quotes for a particular grammar point, we are going to look at a collection of quotes and take what we can from them.  All sitting comfortably, then I will begin.

Obviously, you can use whichever quotes you want and use the same activities i have just picked out 4 that i felt i could make a lesson from and ones which might engage my students.

The ideas below are a sort of pick and mix of different activities, select the ones that you think would work with your students, the worksheet has some of these activities for the quotes i selected.  But really they should all transfer across.

Level: Int +


1. Word Jumble – broken sentences need fixing (see worksheet)

2. Independent research – prediction and a reason for reading. Give the students the quotes and ask them to predict what type of film they came from, get them to chat in groups and explain why they think that and then ask them to try to find out which film they did come from using smart phones or computers. (I am sure that your students will have no problems doing this, but if they are remind them of quote marks.)  When they have found which film they come from ask them to find a summary and does the summary match their prediction?

Obviously, at this point it would be good to get the students to think about what they mean.

3. Grammar hunt – This is pretty easy as it is aimed at Ints, the conditional though may need some scaffolding, such as try to find a phrase that could be replaced by ‘if’.

4. rewriting – The most obvious thing to do with all quotes is to turn them to reported speech.  When I do this I prefer to give them a choice of reporting verbs so that they are reporting the meaning a little and not just relying on said/told.  I always find that students are ok with the backshift, it is the pronouns they tend to forget, so maybe remind them of that.  To raise the level of challenge I have put in extra tests like linkers.

5. Follow up – Encourage the students to watch one of the films.  Or you could watch one, or clips of one in class together – obviously giving the opportunity for work on vocab and pronunciation

Materials: Quotes – the sequel


Writing a Film Review – Low level

I recently did a CPD session on teaching writing skills and dragged out all of my old writing lessons. This was a lesson I did with a PET class once but it works for any elementary or pre-intermediate class. A low elementary group might have some trouble with it but with some scaffolding they would cope. Also, it works with any review you could find or write yourself so please do feel free to change the film, I just always liked the idea of a butch Santa Claus.

What I’ve found over the years is that very often we assume writing sub-skills like paragraphing, organisation and punctuation will naturally translate from a student’s own language. However, this is not always the case. Too often, students see writing as a vehicle for showing off their vocabulary and grammar and ignore what they know about good writing in their own language. This lesson draws attention to structure and paragraphing at a low level which I feel is extremely important.

The worksheet is laid out quite easily for teaching so I’ve just added some tips and ideas for teaching in the procedure instead of going into massive detail.

MaterialWriting a Film Review – Rise of the Guardians

Level: Elementary – Intermediate



Getting them interested

The opening discussion questions here should serve to get the students interested in the topic. By monitoring carefully you can also be filling the board with errors and interesting language that emerges and will be useful for the students later on. Really focus on descriptive adjectives and nouns to describe films.


Activate Ye Olde Schemata

I think it’s important to get them thinking. In question 2 on the worksheet, the students are essentially preparing themselves to read by predicting what kind of information will be in there.


Engaging with the text

It’s important to give them a chance to not just read the text for language but to read it critically. The discussion questions in Q3  are designed to encourage this.

You may also notice I haven’t really given any comprehension questions. You could add them if you wanted but I don’t think that’s really the aim here. I want them focusing on content, organisation and thinking about the text as a whole.


Vocabulary focus

I do think it’s important to highlight that reviews will be rich in adjectives and adverbs. At this point I usually go back to the board from the beginning of the class and highlight the adj and adv that came up in Q1. I also encourage them to give me synonyms and opposites of the adjectives we have. It’s all preparing them for what’s to come later / for homework.



Q5 + 6 can be done together but I think it’s nice for the students to go back and see that their predictions were correct and then to really focus on the order.



Obviously we now want the students to go off and write a review. This can be done for homework if you like or it can be done collaboratively in class. If it’s done for homework, I would set aside some time for peer-correction at the beginning of the next lesson. I would prepare a review checklist to encourage students to edit their work. something like this;

  • Have you used appropriate paragraphs?
  • Have you used appropriate adjectives?
  • Does your title catch the reader’s attention?
  • Did you give your opinion at the end?
  • Did you give some information about the film?

The idea being that if they have answered YES to all of the questions, they have an appropriate review. If they haven’t , they have some editing to do before they give it in as a finished piece of work.

If you decide to do it in class collaboratively, you could choose a film they’ve all seen and assign each pair of students a paragraph. Then put them all together at the end. This really highlights the importance of paragraphing and having one point per paragraph.