Public domain imagesA designer lessons ESL lesson plan developed by George Chilton

This is a lighthearted, interactive video lesson aimed at teenagers and younger GE classes. The learners produce their own language and material, using the video as a base. They perform, correct and compare dialogues and also complete a listening dictation. Yes, that’s right, it’s a cat translation.

A Four Stage Video Lesson

Lesson Aims

  • To encourage natural language production and peer correction.
  • To elicit language of speculation.
  • To create a written dialogue.
  • To listen to a dialogue and take a dictation.

Other themes – Pets, family relationships

Stage one – warmer.

Possible points of discussion

  • What do pets think of their owners?
  • Are animals capable of loving a person?
  • How do people communicate with animals?
  • How much do animals really understand us?

Stage two – Video One.

Video contents: Two cats interacting. No language.

Tell your students that they are going to do a translation. Ask your students to watch the video and decide what the cats are talking about. Introduce some language of speculation – you could mindmap this on the board. For example:

Might be /  could be / It’s possible that / It looks like / I think /I imagine

Due to the nature of the video, it’s important that your students understand that they are going to produce a dialogue and that they will be learning new phrases and testing the language that they already know.

After they have finished watching the video, monitor the students closely. Play the video without sound as they write their dialogues.

Have each pair perform their dialogue. Use the opportunity to do an error correction slot and introduce the new language that has arisen during the activity. Help the students to develop this new language and give them a hand with any difficult idiomatic expressions.

Stage ThreeVideo Two

Video: Essentially the same as the first, only with an edited “translation” voiceover. Natural English, North American accent.

Play the second video. Use this to compare the students’ scripts. If you feel your students are up to it, use the activity as a dictation.

Stage Four – Unplugged

Error correction – summarise the points of the video.

You could venture into pronunciation, a discussion, grammar work. It’s unplugged from now on!

For a Young learner class, you could ask the students to interview their pets and bring the transcripts to class. You never know what they might bring in.

Creative Commons Licence
Designer Lessons by George Chilton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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