Tuesday, 09 February 2016 07:10

ESL News Lesson: The Peace Index

Each year, The Instutute of Economics and Peace publishes its Global Peace Index which measures how peaceful countries are around the world and the changes in peace between regions and countries. Many factors are taken into account when the peace rankings are made.

This News English lesson plan has a number of English teaching activities which centre around an article about the peace index. Students discuss which countries they think are the most and least peaceful and why they think this. Students should also match the countries which appear in the article to which continent they lie in.

There are also additional scanning and skimming activities, good for IELTS reading practice and finally a class brainstorming activity. The ability to discuss current affairs is an important element in getting a higher score in the IELTS speaking component.

Written by Phil Senior
Published in News lesson plans
In a sleepy little Oregon town, a kid is being beaten up by the school bully. When he confesses to his big brother that he is being bullied, his big brother invents a plan which will end up with big humiliation for the school bully, George.

They all plan a boating trip and invite the school bully along. The boy being bullied, Sam, realised that George is actually OK and just craves some love and attention in his life, but by then it's too late and things start to go horribly wrong.

Mean Creek is an excellent film and won the 2004 Best Film Award at The Cannes Film Festival. At that time I was teaching the Second Conditional to older teenage students and realised that there were so many moments during the film when I thought "What would I do here?" I wrote this lesson on the Second Conditional and it worked well. You can download this movie lesson on the Second Conditional below.

To order Mean Creek via Amazon plea click here - you'll be helping us out also.

Grammar Guide for Second Conditional Tense

The second conditional is used for talking about unreal situations in the present or in the future. The second conditional is built up of two parts, known as a clause. One part, or clause, contains if, and the other part contains would.
"If I had lots of money, I would buy a car..."
You can also switch the clauses; it doesn’t matter, because it means the same thing! It’s just a different way of saying it! Have a try!
"I would buy a car if I had lots of money."
Look carefully! Notice how there is a comma (,) after the if clause at the top, but not at the bottom? When the if clause goes first, you must use a comma. When the main clause goes first, don’t use a comma…easy!

Before Doing This Class
Before you do anything, please watch the film at home in its entirety before making a choice whether to show this in class. It is not suitable for all and should only be used with mature, open-minded students.
Before you start the film, make sure that your class understand the second conditional and its purpose. This plan is designed to review the structure and to get your actually using it in an interesting way. The student guide on page three of this plan will help to explain it in a simple way.

Using Mean Creek to Practice Second Conditional
Get your students comfortable…its movie time! Play the selected clips. As you play the film, you will suddenly stop the film and ask students what they would do in that situation. All the ‘film stop’ timings are labelled below, along with the questions you should ask your students. There are 23 ‘what would you do?’ questions in total. Make sure to give every one a go!
Practice stopping the DVD in the suggested parts before class.

The 23 Second Condional Questions You Can Ask Your Class

1.   You have just been beaten up in front of lots of people. What would you do? 2:38mins
(Example answer: "if I had been beaten up in front of lots of people, I would hit him back).
2.   Marty, the gang leader, offers you a marijuana joint. What would you do? 9:09mins
3.   Your brother has just hurt and humiliated you. You have a bat. What would you do? 13:57mins
4.   George, who beat you up earlier in the week, has bought you a present and wants you to open it. What would you do? 18:13mins
5. There is a plan to make George cry. You have just heard about it. What would you do? 25:27mins
6. You are new to the gang and want to make friends. You don’t smoke, but Marty offers you a cigarette. What would you do? 26:46mins
7. You are 13 years old and Marty offers you a beer. Your parents aren’t there. What would you do? 32:40mins
8. You are already drinking beer, but your parents will never know. Marty offers you weed. What would you do? 33:07mins
9. You are trying to talk Marty out of getting George. What would you do? 36:52mins
10. George has just fired the water gun at you. What would you do? 40:00mins
11. You are 13 years old and in front of lots of older kids and they have dared you to French kiss. What would you do? 42:00mins
12. Marty wants George to take off his clothes and jump in the river. You don’t want this to happen, but Marty is bigger than you. What would you do? 45:20mins
13.  You are George. You have just found out that you were only invited because they want to play a joke on you. What would you do? 45:53mins
14. You are Marty. George is talking about your father’s suicide over and over and over. What would you do? 48:52mins
15. George is drowning, but his size makes it dangerous to jump in and save him. What would you do? 49:33mins
16. George is not breathing. What would you do? 51:29mins
17. People are now starting to make a story to tell the police. What would you do? 58:16mins
18. Marty wants to bury the body. What would you do? 59:08mins
19. You are Marty, everyone is against you. What would you do? 1:00:24mins
20. The others have agreed to bury the body, but you think it is a bad idea. What would you do? 1:03:11mins
21. You are Marty. The others want to go to the police, but you have already buried the body. What would you do? 1:17:06mins
22. You are Rocky. Your best friend, Marty, is walking away. What would you do? 1:18:58mins
23. You are the policeman. What would you do? 1:22:55mins
Lesson Written by Stuart Allen
Published in Movie lessons
in Liar Liar, Jim Carey stars as a successful lawyer, who has built his career by telling lie after lie after lie. He lies in the courtroom, he lies to his friends and he lies to his family (white lies that is). 

One day he misses his sons birthday and lies about why he couldn't make it. His son, Max, wishes that his dad can't lie for 24 hours and it comes true!

Your English students will find it hilarious to watch Jim Carey unable to lie in various situations and this will be the ideal lead-in to your main speaking activity where your ESL students must lie to each other and try not to be caught out. The full lesson plan PDF with student handout is free to download below.

You can download Liar Liar on the spot right here. You'll be helping us too.

What to Do in Class

Write the word LIE on the board. Ask your students if they know or can guess what it means. Give some examples, for example, exaggerating your age or how handsome you are. Make your students laugh. After a minute or two, they will all understand the meaning of lie.
Ask your students if they have ever lied about something. Try to get some humorous stories.
Show the film clips. Follow up with a short talk about Fletcher and if he was a nice man or not.
Write three things about yourself on the board. Two must be true and one must be a lie. Make it difficult to guess the correct answer! Ask the students which one they think is a lie and reveal the answer right at the end. Make all three things unusual or interesting.
Now tell your class that they must write three questions that they need to ask other students in the class. Everyone must tell two truths, but lie once to everybody. Get your class to mingle round and write their answers on the printable student handout.

Once every student has spoken to everyone else and written down their answers on the worksheet provided, you can ask them what they think the lies were. If they can guess correctly, the liar must take a forfeit card, if they guess wrongly; the guesser must take a forfeit card i.e. Stanley, what do you think Jenny lied about? Sorry Stanley, that’s wrong. Please take a forfeit card! This is a great activity, especially as a first class topic as everyone gets to know each other! Enjoy!

Lesson by Stuart Allen
Stuart Allen
Published in Movie lessons
Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the supernatural has a big grip on our interests and we've all seen ghost and horror films on TV and in the cinema. Who doens't like tales of monsters, ghosts, UFO's and vampires. Particularly for teens learning English, the supernatural is a great ESL topic or unit for Intermediate+ level students.

In this movie lesson, students will discuss the supernatural, share ghost stories that they have heard or know, listen to the teacher tell a ghost story in English or roleplay a ghost tale. Students can even write their own ghost tale; perfect for creative writing classes or a Halloween ESL class theme.

Play clips of Ghostbusters and then choose the activities you want to run for your own ESL supernatural class.

If you'd like to show the movie clips from Ghostbusters but can't download it you can buy it here

What to do in class
Get your class to sit in a group on the floor and sit down with them to create a close, team atmosphere. Show your class the ghost photos below and ask them what they think the photo shows. Ask them to look again more carefully and they will notice an eerie ghost figure.
Discuss with them what they think it might be, whether it is a camera trick or it’s real. If your students think it’s real, ask them who the ghosts might be and from which year they lived. Your students should be really interested in this topic, so use this to your advantage in getting language from them. If they can’t produce the exact word they need, encourage them to explain the word.

Share Ghost Stories

Do any of your ESL class have any ghost stories to share? Maybe someone has seen a ghost or knows someone that has. The more story telling and talk you can get out of your students before the movie the better!
After you have finished your ‘on the floor’ chat, your class will be fully ready and keen to watch the movie. Show the selected movie clips and choose one or some of the suggested Ghostbusters classroom activities.

Activity 1: Ghost discussion quesions

Activity 2: Write your own ghost story

Activity 3: Students write and act out their own ghost story

Lesson by Stuart Allen

Published in Movie lessons

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