Jul 31, 2011

License to Wed & Death at a Funeral: Letters of Complaints

Of course writing a letter fo complaint is not a grammar point, but I have been adding activities to practice the 4 skills, so this one is for writing. Letters of complaints are contextualized with very funny situations here. These scenes made this writing class much more interesting and meaningful.

I. Watch the movie segments from the movies License to Wed and Death at a Funeral. Both scenes are very funny, but they show consumers who are dissatisfied with the service they were provided with. When you watch the scene, make sure you observe what the problem was and how you would like the problem to be resolved.

License to Wed's Scene:

Death at the Funeral's Scene:

Imagine now that you are one of the characters from the segments you have just seen. Put yourself in his shoes and write a letter of complaint to the company who provided you with the service. Choose one of the scenes to complain. Follow the guidelines below:

  • An introduction that clearly identifies the subject of the complaint. In the first paragraph you should identify what the issue is and any relevant information that you believe is important. Be sure to include the following information if it's applicable to the situation: the date/time of the issue, location, name of person on duty, name of product, what the problem was, your account number, model number, price, warranty information and reference number. Be sure to stick with the facts and avoid putting emotions into your letter.
  • A body paragraph that (a) clearly and specifically explains the nature of the complaint, and (b) provides the reader with all of the information needed to provide an appropriate response. It should state what you would like done to resolve the situation. If you received poor service, you could request an apology or a coupon. If a product malfunctioned, you could request that you could exchange the product for a new one or request a refund.

  • A conclusion that clearly states what actions are needed to remedy the problem. The last paragraph should thank the reader for thoe time. You can also throw in some compliments about something you liked about their company's product or service. You should include your telephone number/e-mail address after your printed name so that they can contact you ASAP if necessary. Be sure to keep a copy of the letter for yourself and include photocopies of any relevant documents and enclose them with your letter.



Jul 23, 2011

Tangled: Past Perfect (with Never)

This movie is amazing. The graphics and the story itself made me have a wonderful time during my trip to New Orleans, because I saw it on the plane that flew me there.

I. Write down at least one thing that you HAD NEVER DONE before the following moments in your life (select the items according to your group's ages.

- You met your current (last) boy (girlfriend) / You got married

(Ex: I had never fallen in love).

- You passed the vestibular (PAS) (College entrance exam) (started studying at college or your current school).

- You first traveled abroad (by plane).

- You got your first job.

- You got the job you have now.

- You moved to the house you live in now.

- You started studying English.

II. GAME - Work in pairs. Watch the segment and write down as many sentences as you can remember about what Rapunzel had never done before she left the castle for the first time. Each sentence with correct information and grammar use scores 1 point. The winner is the group that scores most points. You have 3 minutes to write the sentences.

- Ex: She had never seen a river.

1 ..........................................................

2 ..........................................................

3 .........................................................

4 .........................................................

5 .........................................................

6 .........................................................



Answers will vary.

Jul 18, 2011

Sex and the City: Past Continuous x Simple Past

Activity provided by Carina Fragoso. Visit her handy site teachercarinafragozo.blogspot.com for really great ideas.
ENGLISH IN BRAZIL.Thanks Karina for sharing such an effective activity.

Movie Activity

Before watching the video:

1. Fill in the blanks using words from the Box:

her - affected - examined - their - American - focused

Sex and the City is an _________ cable television series. Set in New York City, the show _______ on four women (Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda), three in ______ mid-thirties and one in _____ forties. The series specifically ________ the lives of big-city professional women in the late 1990s/early 2000s and how changing roles and expectations for women ________ the characters.

Watching the video:

2. Carrie is a writer and her boyfriend Big has bought an apartment for them. She is thinking about selling her apartment to help him pay the new one. Based on the following scene, write T for true and F for false (10min-14min):

a) ( ) Big doesn’t want to get married to Carrie.

b) ( ) Carrie is surprised because he asked her to get married.

c) ( ) Carrie got Botox.

d) ( ) Samantha is disappointed because Carry is getting married.

3. Carrie’s boyfriend didn’t get married with her because he didn’t feel ready. He left her at the church. Based on the following scene, answer the questions (51min-55min):

a) Why did Big stop the car?

b) What was Carrie feeling?

c) Why didn’t Carrie say she felt he was strange?

d) Where were they going on honeymoon?

4. The girls decide to take the honeymoon that Carrie had booked. Based on the following scene, write T for true and F for false (57min-1h):

a) ( ) The receptionist was waiting for the girls.

b) ( ) Carrie thinks everything was a bad dream

c) ( ) Carrie didn’t sleep a lot.

d) ( ) Charlotte was afraid to eat the food because they were in Mexico.

After watching the video:

Based on the scenes we watched in class, write an ending for the story using the Simple Past and the Past Continuous.

Ex: Carrie found another boyfriend and she decided to travel to Brazil. When she was going to the airport, ...





Adapted from Wikipedia.

Jul 16, 2011

Young Victoria: Had Better x Would Rather

I enjoy films about the Royalty. They are always about their kings and queens, but each story has a special flair and uniqueness. I love this great movie. I used the first scene to contrast had better x would rather in a contextualized way.

A. Watch the movie segment and pay attention to the Kensington rules, procedures Queen Victoria has to follow. Then complete the blanks with had better or would rather and the verb provided. Make sure you choose either affirmative or negative forms, according to the information in the segment. Tell your students that we are at the time of the scene and not nowadays in order to make sense.

1. She was born a princess, but she ______________ (have) an ordinary life.

2. Palaces are wonderful, but she _____________ (live) in one.

3. Her life is always in threat, so someone _____________ (taste) her food before her meals.

4. She can't attend school with other children, but she ___________ (go) to a regular school.

5. The Kensington rules are for her protection, so she __________ (sleep) in a room with her mother.

6. She __________________ (walk) downstairs without holding the hand of an adult.

7. Because Victoria is too young, her uncle wants to be her Regency, but she __________ (rule) the Kingdom herself.

8. She is unhappy, she she ____________ (change) her life and ______________ (be) free.



Answer key:


1. would rather have

2. would rather not live

3. had better taste

4. would rather go

5. had better sleep

6. had better not walk

7. would rather rule

8. would rather change / be

Jul 12, 2011

TEFL Conference - SP

TEFL has been a great conference. Excellent presentations and professionals from the Casa Thomas Jefferson, ALUMNI - SP and IBEU - RJ eager to share their knowledge. If you have attended it, leave your impressions here, please. It is a pity it will end tomorrow.

Jul 9, 2011

The Karate Kid: Phrasal Verbs

This new version of Karate Kid in a pretty decent one. In fact, I prefer this one much better than the one from the 80's. This scene is perfect for basic learners to practice the use of phrasal verbs in a contextualized manner and have fun, playing a non-competitive game with it.

I. Before you watch the segment, try to match the verb and the preposition in order to make phrasal verbs. The object pronoun is the word JACKET (it). Remember: these phrasal verbs are separable and the word JACKET (or it) will come between the verb and the preposition. There is more than one possible matching.




II. Watch the movie segment and check your answers.


- Give each student a piece of clothing or ornament ( a handkerchief, a shirt, a jacket, a ring, a bracelet, etc).

- Student 1 tells the class what they are supposed to do with the objects, using the phrasal verbs above. He has to be fast and the other students have to perform the action. When someone makes a mistake, he/she will be the next one to give the instructions.

Ex: Put it on, take it off, put it on, take it down, pick it up, take it down, put it on, etc.



Answer key: The instructions in the segment and the correct phrasal verbs are:

"Put on your jacket, take it off, hang it up, take it down, and pick it up" ~ Mr. Han

Jul 2, 2011

Up: Used to

In my opinion, this is the best animated movie of all times. I laughed, but I cried a little too. This touching story has this beautiful scene that I used to practice the use of USED TO. It is great for the simple past tense too, but this will come up at a different post. Hope you enjoy it like my students did.

I. Watch the movie segment and check the activities the couple used to do during the years they lived together.

1 ( ) work around the house together

2 ( ) do home improvement

3 ( ) look for object shapes in clouds

4 ( ) swim on the beach

5 ( ) travel around the world

6 ( ) sell balloons

7 ( ) read books together

8 ( ) share the good and bad moments of life

9 ( ) save money for rainy days

10 ( ) go windsurfing

11 ( ) wear different kinds of ties

12 ( ) dance romantically

13 ( ) Be happy

14 ( ) Fight all the time

Answers: Incorrect items - 4, 5, 10, 14

II. Now write the items above using USED TO or DIDN'T USE TO.
1. They used to work around the house together.