In Back to the Future, Marty McFly accidentally travels back in time in a DeLorean time machine and finds himself in 1955 with no way of getting back. His hometown is completely different with the music, fashion, shops, streets and people all from the past. 

Back to the Future can be used with intermediate and advanced level English classes when on a unit about travel, talking about the past or talking about the future. Show your ESL class the clips shown in the lesson plan below, then give out the character roleplay cards. Students then do a Back to the Future roleplay.

Need to download the movie for your ESL class? Click here to go to Amazon, you'll be helping us too!

Your students watch clips of the movie and then play characters such as Marty McFly, Biff, 3D, Doc Brown, Lorraine Baines, Goldie Wilson, George McFly, Mr. Strickland, etc. Awesome English lesson!!

Written by Stuart Allen

Stuart Allen
Published in Movie lessons
You'll find a lot of ELT coursebooks, especially at an intermediate and higher level, have a unit about travel. This is a very relevant unit for English learning, as teens and adults often travel domestically or internationally, whether on holiday or for business. 

in 1988, the BBC produced an eight-part series where comedian, Michael Palin, had to leave London and try to circumnavigate the globe in less than 80 days. The show was called Around the World in 80 Days. He was not allowed to use aircraft. This groundbreaking travel documentary was watched by millions of viewers.

I've used Around the World in 80 Days with Michael Palin many times in class, as he visits many different places around the world, trying different foods, meeting different people and taking many forms of transport from train to ferry, rickshaw to junk. I've made a episode guide for Around the World in 80 Days along with a list of ESL comprehension questions which will focus your students' attention while they watch the episodes. 

Would you like to order the Around the World in 80 Days DVD for your English class? Click here to order it online, you'll be helping us too.

by Stuart Allen
Stuart Allen
Published in Movie lessons
Atlantis....the lost empire! The hundreds of years, this mythical kingdom has captured the imagination of both children and adults alike. In this ESL movie lesson, you'll be using parts of the Disney film Atlantis: The Lost Empire to create a fun platfrom for your students to do some creative writing. 

In the film, the hero finds a hidden map with a secret code on it. If he can decipher the code, then he can find Atlantis. Your kids will be making an Atlantis-style hidden map using the code in the Atlantis ESL movie lesson plan. They'll be practicing the alphabet and spelling skills. Perfect for a special craft activity in your school. Awesome fun for children learning English!

You can rent or buy Atlantis: The Lost Empire direct from Amazon right here if you need. You'll be helping us out as well!

What to Do in Class
After introducing the topic and playing parts of the DVD (clips detailed at the bottom of this plan), it is time to get on with your class activity.
The activity is for the students to make an ancient map showing the way to the treasure buried under Atlantis – which child wouldn’t get excited about that?!
The difference about this map is that it is written in the old Atlantis language, so groups of children will need the Key of Language (in the lesson plan PDF below) to complete their maps!
Making the Map Paper 
This part is entirely optional! You can do this on standard white A4 if you lack time or materials, but with just a little bit of preparation, you can make really authentic map paper!
The night before class, soak your white A4 in strong tea and leave for 30 minutes. Carefully take out the paper and leave to dry. When it’s dry, screw the paper up into a ball to form creases, straighten it out and carefully burn the edges with a cigarette lighter. Two points I would like to make here – first, don’t burn too much otherwise you’ll have to start again from scratch and secondly, burn the paper outside in an open area. Setting fire to your home, your school, or yourself is definitely not cool!
Drawing the map in class 
This is where the kids can be really creative. They get to choose the shape of Atlantis and the features that Atlantis has!
Before drawing, perhaps you could pre-teach them several things which Atlantis might have i.e. waterfall, cave, river, monsters, mountains, forest, dragon, treasure…you are only limited by your imagination! Remember that any features that the kids want to label on the map must be written in Atlantis words. For this, each group of students will need a Key of Language to decipher the code.
Alternative Activities
Before class, get a giant A3 or A2 piece of paper and make your own ‘ancient’ map at home. Draw and label lots of fantasy places on your map, for example, Skull Mountain, Ghost River, etc. Label it in Atlantis language! 
Bring the map to school and tell them that there is hidden treasure somewhere on the map which the kids need to find. Hand out some directions to find the treasure in Atlantis language and the kids have to translate it into English to locate the treasure.
This is perfect when teaching directions or prepositions of place! This is also a good activity for students just getting into using full sentences, where their spelling and word order might be a problem. 

Lesson written by Stuart Allen

Stuart Allen
Published in Movie lessons

ESL Movie Lesson: All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front was a brilliant book written by Erich Maria Remarque, a German veteran, just after World War One. It tells of World War One from the German point of view, where there is no good or evil; just war started by governments but has to be finished by ordinary people who don't really want to kill anybody. It is a story of war, as simply as we can tell it.

War and conflict is part of both modern life and the past and is an excellent discussion point for many adult ESL classes. History has been built on the back of war. This lesson has an excellent and unusual mix of activities which your English students will enjoy.

All Quiet on the Western Front was a ground-breaking novel and later made into film. This ESL Movie lesson is good if you are stdying a topic about war or conflict. In the free movie lesson PDF for Intermediate+ students, you'll find different writing activities and debate / discussion activities for speaking.

Simply click the download link below to get the All Quiet on the Western Front movie lesson.
Published in Movie lessons

ESL Movie Lesson: Alive

Alive retells the story of a South American rugby team flying to another city for a rugby match over the Andes. The plane gets into difficulty and crash lands into a remote area of the Andes, killing some onboard and injuring many others.The survivors are stuck up high in the mountains, with no way of calling for help or letting authorities know where they are to be rescued.

As time goes on, food supplies run low and an enormous decision needs to be made: Should they die of starvation or eat the dead to try to survive? This decision is made far harder by their strong Catholic faith. Alive is a fantastic movie which shows starkly the strength to survive and to stay alive.

This ESL movie lesson includes a gap-fill reading activity and also a very interesting roleplay activity with lots of speaking.

To download the movie lesson, please click the download link below (you may need to click Read More first).

Published in Movie lessons

Anchorman is set in 1970's America and stars Will Farrell as Ron Burgundy, a super cheesy news anchorman in San Diego's top news team. Things go wrong, however, when an up-and-coming new female anchor joins the news team. This is a wildly funny movie and your students are bound to love it, especially the small news events which Anchorman tries to make a big deal out of! Click below to watch a short trailer of Anchorman!

This movie is great for teaching English, especially if you are covering a unit to do with the news, current affairs, the media r just generally what is going on around the world. It's also perfect for a one-off speaking class with teens or adult students, with lots of quality speaking practice. Ask the students if they ever watch the news and why the news is important. If your English students hate watching the news, ask them the reason why; it might develop into an interesting discussion!

Push the conversation towards the actual job of being a newsreader, is it an easy job? Would any of your students get nervous in front of the lights and cameras? Ask your students which phrases they might hear on the news e.g. “coming up next”, “now we go live to”, “let’s go over to the weather!”, "Today's breaking news story", "News coverage", etc. This movie lesson is really good at introducing news English language.

In this news English lesson, your students will be put into groups and will write and role-play some fun and light-hearted news events from ready-made role-play cards. To download the ESL movie lesson and free role-play cards, simpy click below.


Ask the students if they watch the news and why the news is important. If your students hate watching the news, ask them the reason why; it might develop into an interesting discussion!

Push the conversation towards the actual job of being a newsreader, is it an easy job? Would any of your students get nervous in front of the lights and cameras?

Ask your students which phrases they might hear on the news e.g. “coming up next”, “now we go live to” and “let’s go over to the weather!

Published in Movie lessons

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