Dec 15, 2014

Cellular: Emphatic DO

This is a thrilling scene. It is amazing how fast technology has developed in such a short period of time. I used it to practice Emphatic Do in a contextualized manner.

Emphatic DO can:

  • Add emphasis to a whole sentence - You do have a point.
  • Add sentences to an imperative. This use of emphatic softens a command and shows polite encouragement - Do come to the party!
  • Contradict a negative statement - You're wrong. I did lock the door.
  • Indicate strong concession - I do not enjoy horror movies, but I did enjoy "The Conjuring".

I. Correct the information presented in the movie segment. Use emphatic do to express your ideas. Answers may vary.

1 - Ethan did not worry about Jessica's son.

You're wrong. He ________________________.

2. He tried to save Jessica's son, but for just a short time.


3. The computer store does not sell cell phone chargers.


4. He told everyone he desperately needed a charger. How could he emphasize his cry for help!

5. The store staff doesn't follow strict policies.

6. Ethan did not find a charger.

II. Talk to a partner.
1. What would you do if you were in Ethan's shoes?
2. What about if you were one of the store clerks?
3. How different would this scene be if they had the cellular technology we do nowadays?
Answer Key:
1. He did worry about her son.
2. He did try hard to save her son.
3. The store does sell chargers.
4. Do help me, please. 
5. The staff does follow strict procedures
6. No, Ethan did find a charger.



Dec 5, 2014

Zookeeper: Reported Speech

Watch the segment. Then write the letter that corresponds to the character who said the following lines in the segment.

Giraffe: G
Lion: L
Lioness: FL
Coyote: C
Bear: B

1 ( G ) We are having a meeting.

2 (    ) I'm excited about this.

3 (    ) I have a very busy schedule.

4 (    ) You sleep 20 hours a day.

5 (    ) This is not good.

6 (    ) Oh, I like muffins.

7 (    ) Griffin saved my life.

8 (    ) You don't break the code.

9 (    ) How do we know that?

10 (    ) We're helping a human.

EX: The giraffe said they were having a meeting.

2 ________________
3 ________________
4 ________________
5 ________________
6 ________________
7 ________________
8 ________________
9 ________________
10 _______________

Answer key:

1. We are having a meeting. (G)

2. I'm excited about this (G) The giraffe said she was excited about that.

3. I have a very busy schedule (L) The lion said he had a very busy schedule.

4. You sleep 20 hours a day. (FL) The lioness said that he slept 20 hours a day.

5. This is not good (C) The coyote said that that was not good.

6. Oh, I like muffins (G) The giraffe said she liked muffins.

7. Griffin saved my life (FL) The lioness said Griffin had saved her life.

8. Don't break the code. (B) The bear told another coyote not to break the code.

9. How do we know that? (L) The lion asked how they knew that.

10. We're helping a human (E) The elephant said they were helping a human.



Nov 25, 2014

Flight Plan: Present and Past Modals for Speculation

I. Watch the movie segment. Then write down three different explanations for what happened in the segment on a piece of paper. Use your imagination.

Ex: The girl is sleeping somewhere on the plane.

1 ___________________________________
2 ___________________________________
3 ___________________________________

II. Teacher collects the sheets and redistributes them among the students. 

III. Students analyze their peers' explanations and write sentences with modal verbs for speculation. Remember that you should vary the modal verb according to what you believe really happened to the boy.

Observe if the sentences refer to the present or to the past. You will have to choose the correct verb form.



The girl might be sleeping somewhere on the plane. (It is possible, but you don't think that is what really happened)

The girl must be sleeping somewhere on the plane. (It is very possible. You probably agree with the idea)

The girl can't be sleeping anywhere on the plane (It is not a plausible explanation. You don't believe it happened at all)

IV. Read the sentences out loud. Explain why you chose those modal verbs. Agree and disagree with your friends' ideas.

V. What is the most plausible explanation decided by the class?

Nov 15, 2014

Dark Tides: Because x Because of

I. Watch the movie segment and match the causes and their effects. Then match the effect and its sentences, using BECAUSE or BECAUSE OF.



1. They were shooting a documentary

2. She has a dangerous job.

3. She dives  among sharks.

4. She has a security man.

5. They threw a bait at the ocean.

6. Free divers have to leave the protection cage.

7. They must be very careful swimming among sharks


( ) their unpredictable behavior.

( ) the obligations of her dangerous occupation.

( ) free divers swim among sharks.

( ) that is the only way to understand  sharks behavior in the wild.

( ) free divers swim among sharks.

( ) she has to come up to breathe.

( ) it attracts sharks fast.

1 ______________________

2 ______________________

3 ______________________

4 ______________________

5 ______________________

6 ______________________

7 ______________________


Work in small groups. Answer the following questions about sharks. The team that scores most points is the winner:

1. What is the largest shark in the world?

a. Hammerhead shark
b. Whale shark
c. Great white shark
d. Tiger shark

2. How long can a shark go without eating?

a. a week
b. two weeks
c. a month
d. two months

3. Mother sharks stay close to their babies until they are mature.

a. true
b. false

4. The great white shark is the most fierce of the sharks.

a. true
b. false

5. About how many kinds of sharks are there?

a. Under 250
b. 250 -350
c. 350 - 450
d. Over 500

6 . Sharks have upper and lower eyelids but they do not blink.

a. true
b. false

7. The most harmless sharks tend to be the largest.

a. true
b. false

8. Some sharks may eat other sharks.

a. true
b. false

9. Florida has the greatest number of shark attacks annually in the whole world.

a. true
b. false

10. Almost all sharks are "carnivores" or meat eaters.

a. true
b. false

II. Discuss the following questions:

1. What's your opinion about sharks?

2. Have you ever seen a live shark? Where?

3. Are sharks a problem where you live or spend summer vacation?

4. Is it okay to kill or hunt sharks in areas they attack human beings?

5. What are the qualities of a shark?


Answer Key - 

Possible Answers. Other matches are possible, so check meaning for alternatives.

1. They were shooting a documentary because they wanted to learn more about sharks.

2. She has a dangerous job because free divers swim among sharks.

3. She dives  among sharks because of the obligations of her dangerous occupation.

4. She has a security man because she has to come up to breathe.

5. They threw a bait at the ocean because it attracts sharks fast.

6. Free divers have to leave the protection cage because they want to understand  sharks behavior in the wild.

7. They must be very careful swimming among sharks because of their unpredictable behavior.

II. The Shark Game

1 b, 2 c, 3 b, 4 b, 5 c, 6 a, 7 a, 8 a, 9 b, 10 a



Nov 5, 2014

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2: Describing People's Physical Characteristics

The first movie was so good that it makes this sequel almost unnecessary. Anyways, it has its good moments. The idea of foodimals is just great and perfect for classes in which the students have to work on people physical characteristics.

A. Write down the characteristics we use to describe people under the correct verb column. To Have or To Be.













B. Watch the movie segment and then describe the  ‘foodimals’ (aka food animals) and characters below, using the words in exercise A. Make sure you say, for example, how many eyes, legs, arms they have and their colors too.

Ex: It is a spider-hamburger. It has eight legs, etc

1. Fla-Mango

2.  Barbs, the simio

3. Double Bacon CheesSpider

4. Flint Lockwood

5. Earl



 Sam Sparks


Taco-dile Supreme



C. Draw ‘foodimal’ (aka food animal) or monster. Be creative. Don't show it to anyone. Give it a name too.

Ex: Mosquitoast


It is thin. It has six legs  and two toast (toasted) wings. It has two big black eyes and two short antennas.

D. Describe your drawing to a partner, but do not show it to him/her. Your partner draws what he/she listens.

E. When you both finish, show each other the original drawing and the foodimals your friend drew, based on your dictation. Check how similar they are.

Answer key:

Ex: A.

To Have:

He has ...
(Hair, Eyes, Arms, Legs)

To Be:

He is ...

(Fat, Thin, Short, Tall, Chubby, Slim, Heavy, Medium-Built)



Oct 15, 2014

Frozen: Future WILL x Simple Past

Frozen is an amazing animated movie. It is visually breath-taking and the story and music are fascinating. You have to see it.
Coronation Day

Coronation Day is the anniversary of the coronation of a monarch, the day a king or queen is formally crowned.
I. The future Queen's sister has lived a lonely life inside the castle, without contact with the outside world. Her sister's coronation will be the first time in forever that she will be able to do what she had always wanted to do. Fill in the blanks with affirmative or negative forms of the future tense (will or be + going to). Choose the correct verb too.

________________ light, __________________ music. I ________________ dancing through the night. I __________________ alone. __________________ magic, _________________ fun. I _____________ getting what I'm dreaming of because nothing is in my way.

II. Watch the movie segment and check your answers.

III. What were some of the things that she did for the first time in forever? Make a list of at least 5 things.

Ex: She saw the people who lived in the kingdom.

IV. Think about your plans for your next vacation. What are some things that you intend to do for the first time in forever?

V. Now think about your last vacation. What were some of the things that you did for the first time in forever?

Answer key:

There'll be light
There'll be music
I'll be dancing through the night 
I won't be alone
There'll be magic
There will be fun
I'm getting what I'm dreaming of because nothing is in my way



Oct 5, 2014

Rio: Possessive Adjectives & Prepositions of Place

This awesome activity was provided by a reader, Marilu Costa, who kindly shared it with us. Thanks, Marilu. 

My name is Marilu Costa, from Itatiba-SP. I've majored in Languages (English, Portuguese and Spanish) and I've attended a Graduation Program in English Language. I teach English to elementary and high school students, and Spanigh to elementary I students. I've been teaching English and Spanish for about 15 years. I love my job, and I always try to make my classes enjoyable for my students and myself. This blog is really amazing and helpful. I hope you guys like this activity. kisses, Marilu

Watch the movie segment and answer tasks 1, 2 and 3.

1)      Check the correct option to complete the sentences.

a-      The girl wakes up at___.
(   ) seven fifteen
(   ) six o’clock
(   ) seven oh five

b-      The ___ are good for the bird.
(   ) vitamins
(   ) cereals
(   ) hot chocolate with marshmallow

c-      Blu is a kind of bird called___.
(   ) macaw
(   ) parakeet
(   ) parrot

2)      Read the sentences and check True or False.

a- The girl and Blu are best friends.

b- Blue Macaw Books is the name of the bookstore.

c- Blu is drinking coffee.

d- The man wants to bring the male and female birds together to save their species.

e- The man is looking for some books.

f- Macaw is a kind of bird that is extinct.

3)      Answer the questions (use complete answers).

a-      What’s the girl’s name? ___________________________________________
b-      What’s the man’s name? ___________________________________________
c-      What’s the bird’s name? ___________________________________________
d-     What’s the man’s occupation? _______________________________________

Watch the movie segment again and answer task 4.
4)      Who says what? Write Linda, Tulio or Blu next to the sentences.

a-      (_________) “I’m not really built for this weather.”
b-      (_________) “ Are you looking for some books?”
c-      (_________) “I have come 6,000 miles looking for him.”
d-     (_________) “He’s magnificent.”
e-      (_________) “Linda? Little help here.”
f-       (_________) “ You’re actually communicating.”
g-      (_________) “I did not get that at all.”
h-      (_________) “ Your macaw is a very special bird.”
i-        (_________) “Blu is the last male of his kind.”
j-        (_________) “He needs me.”

Now, watch the movie segment for the last time and answer tasks 5 and 6.
5)      Observe the spot and complete the sentences with NEXT TO, BEHIND, AT, ON or IN.

a-      The birds are dancing ___________ the trees.
b-      Linda’s computer is ___________ the desk.
c-      The books are ___________ the desk.
d-     The telephone is ___________ Linda.
e-      The bookstore is ___________ Village Café.
f-       Linda is ___________ work.
g-      Blu is ___________ the desk.
h-      The female macaw is ___________ Brazil.
i-        The men put Blu ___________ a box.

6)      Now complete with the possessive adjectives (MY, YOUR, HIS, HER, ITS, OUR, THEIR).

a-      Blu is the last male of _____ kind.
b-      Linda is talking to _____ mom on the phone.
c-      Tulio wants to take Blu to Brazil to save _____ species.

d-     “I never left Blu out of _____ sight.”

Sep 25, 2014

Gravity: So x So That

This is an amazing movie. Absolutely innovative and gripping. I truly recommend it.
Books suggest that we should not interchange "so" and "so that". "So" means "therefore", and "so that" means "in order that". Every occurrence of "so that" can be replaced with "so" without losing meanings, but not vice versa. "So that" means "with the result that", "with the aim that", "in order that". "So" is making a conclusion, it is like you know already, or that something "can happen," according to your sentence; it is like the future predicted already.

I. Discuss the questions with a friend:

1. Have you ever wanted to be an astronaut? Why (not)?

2. What moves people who want to go outer space?

3. Would you like to go on a space trip? Why (not)?

4. What makes people want to risk their lives by traveling into space?

II. Complete the sentences with so or so that. When both are possible, use so.

1. Dr. Stone was warned about the telecommunications blackout ______________ she would not be surprised by that event.

2. She wanted to return to Explorer _______________ debris would not hit her.

3. The craft was severely damaged by the debris, ________________ she lost complete control of her movements.

4. Dr. Stone finally detached her suit, ______________ she was thrown into the space void.

5. She couldn't see anything, ________________ she did not manage to  provide any information of her coordinates.

6. She calmed herself down _______________ she could find the visuals and provide the coordinates.

Answer Key:

1. so that
2. so that
3. so
4. so
5. so
6. so that



Sep 15, 2014

The Adventures of Tin Tin: Sequence Words, Narratives

This is one of my favorite teenage years characters. Steven Spielberg production is amazing and thrilling. A must!

Before you watch the segment, try to guess the sequence of events in the scene. Then watch the movie snippet and check whether the sentences are in the order they took place in the snippet.

( ) They ran out of gas.
( ) Tin Tin read the flying manual.
( ) Tin Tin started the plane engine.
( ) The plane was hit by lightning.
( ) The Captain saved Tin Tin.
( ) The plane fell on the desert.
( ) The plane headed into a dangerous thunderstorm.
( ) The Captain tried to fix the plane.

II. Now write a paragraph connecting the sentences in order to come up with a story / narrative of events. Use the sequence words below.



  • At first
  • firstly
  • first of all
  • to begin with
  • secondly
  • thirdly
  • finally
  • in the end
  • afterwards
  • after that
  • then
  • next
Answer key:

1. Tin Tin read the flying manual
2. Tin Tin started the plane engine.
3. The plane headed into a dangerous thunderstorm.
4. The plane was hit by lightning.
5. They ran out of gas.
6. The Captain tried to fix the plane.
7. The plane fell on the desert dunes.
8. The Captain saved Tin Tin.



Sep 4, 2014

Under the Dome: Modals for Speculation

I am a great fan of Stephen King and his imaginative stories. This one is no exception. The book, which I loved, became a CBS series. The book explores the psychological shades of the characters much more deeply than the series, but it is still worth following. This scene is one of my favorite scenes on this blog. This is the first post taken from a TV series. Others will come up.

I. Watch the segment. Then check the alternatives that you believe are possible explanations for the "dome".
1. ( ) It is a force field.

2. ( ) Extra terrestrials want to isolate human beings for experiments.

3. ( ) It is a military operation.

4. ( ) It is a natural phenomenon.

5. ( ) It is their imagination.

6. ( ) It is a nuclear shelter.

7. ( ) Your guess.

II. Check your guesses with a partner. Then write sentences speculating about what the dome is.

1. ________________________________ 

2. ________________________________ 

3. ________________________________ 

4. ________________________________

III. Look at the pictures below. Chester's Mill, a small town in Maine - USA, was isolated from the rest of the world by this mysterious dome. No one goes out; no one comes in. Think about possible consequences of such a happening. Think about the climate, water resources, food supplies, family members, politics, security, hospitals, etc. Then write down at least 5 sentences speculating about what might happen to Chester's Mill's population OR what they might have to do to survive.

CLIMATE: ___________________________

WATER RESOURCES: _______________________________

FOOD SUPPLIES: ______________________________

FAMILY MEMBERS / FRIENDS _________________________

POLITICS: ___________________________

SECURITY: ____________________________

HOSPITALS / HEALTH WELFARE ____________________

IV. Check your ideas with the students from the other groups.