This is a fun descriptive video lesson that can be adapted to suit the needs of your students. I’m not sure where I found it, but I’m sure the idea was given to me by one of the teachers in the staffroom. Wherever it came from, it’s just too good not to share. I’ve used this in several classes and the students always find it challenging and fun. Lots of great language is produced…the only problem is the song. You can’t have it all though, I suppose.
I tend to start this off by telling the students that I’m going to show them a music video, but – as it’s James Blunt – the sound will be turned off.
I use James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful” for this lesson because it’s easy to describe. You could make this lesson more challenging by changing the video. There are several “literal videos” to be found on Youtube.
- Narrative present simple
- Listening practise (optional)
Stage One – Mime
One way to start this lesson is to mime. Ask the students to commentate on your actions. Obviously, do this how you want – but if you walk towards the door, turn the handle and leave, then return. You should have enough for the students to start making mistakes.
Ideally you should focus on Narrative Present Simple:
She faces the board, she turns around, she walks towards the door, and she turns the handle.
This activity will mostly likely teach your students vocabulary they weren’t aware of. Make sure to guide them and repeat your actions.
Stage Two – Video
I can’t embed the video here because James doesn’t want me to. It can be found here: http://youtu.be/oofSnsGkops
Watch the video without the sound and get the students to work in pairs to describe his actions. Play it twice to give them the opportunity to get all the details.
He stands facing the sea. It appears to be raining and he is wearing a hoody. He turns to face the camera, he starts to sing…
Next watch it back, pausing as you go asking each student to explain his actions.
Write sentences on the board and get the class to correct as a group.
Stage Three – Literal Video
Ask the students to compare their desciption with the following video. Play the video with sound, it has subtitles.
Next play the video again – explain any difficult vocabulary.
Create a gap fill using the lyrics.
Telling jokes in English using the Narrative present simple.
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