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Talking about Movies

This is another speaking topic for students. Click here to read the introduction to the series.

Students, remember, you can only speak English while you do this activity. Don’t speak your native language for at least one hour. You can do it!

Teachers, you can adapt these for lessons, or give them as homework.

Topic: Movies

Objectives: After the discussion, you should be able to discuss movies

Materials: Paper and Pens

Grammar: Present Simple, Present Perfect, Stative Verbs

Expressions

Listen and repeat these expressions.

I really like action movies. Say one of these after someone asks you: “What kind of movies do you like?”
I really like comedies.
I really like horror movies.
I really like dramas.
I really like romantic comedies.
That sounds interesting. Say these after someone suggests going to see a good movie.
Oh, yeah. I’d love to see that.
Oh, I heard that was good. Let’s go!
Mmmm. I don’t know. Say these after someone suggests going to see a bad movie.
I don’t think that’s the movie for me.
That’s not really my favorite kind of movie.
How about something else?
It looks exciting. Say this about an action movie that you want to see.
It looks funny. Say this about a comedy that you want to see.
It looks scary. Say this about a horror movie that you want to see.
It looks interesting. Say this about a drama that you want to see.
It looks sweet. Say this about a romantic comedy that you want to see.

Vocabulary: genre, action movie, comedy, horror movie, drama, romantic comedy, anime, documentaries, sci-fi

Draw Movie Posters. On three pieces of paper you should draw three movie posters. Each poster should be for a different genre.

Guess Movie Genres. Now, look at your partner’s pieces of paper and guess what genres they drew. How do you know? Say at least three things that represent the genre. (For example: “That’s a romantic comedy. I know because the guy and girl are kissing. Also, they’re falling off of a boat, which is funny. And it looks sweet.”)

Ask your partner if he/she likes each genre and why/why not?

Do you like action movies? Why/Why not?

Do you like comedies? Why/Why not?

Do you like horror movies? Why/Why not?

Do you like dramas? Why/Why not?

Do you like romantic comedies? Why/Why not?

Discuss movie questions

What movies are in the theater now? (It means: What movies can you watch in a theater now?)

Which movies do you want to see now? Why?

What are some movies you’ve seen recently? Did you like them? Why/why not?

What are some of your favorite movies? Why did you like them?

What is your favorite kind of movie? (Action, drama, etc.) Why?

Do you like to eat popcorn at the movies?

Do you prefer to go to a movie theater or stay at home?

Your movie questions Write five movie discussion questions. Ask your partner the questions.

Watch a movie Now, discuss which movie you’d like to watch and watch it with your partner. Then discuss it. Don’t forget the popcorn.

How to listen to this song: “Chinese Translation” by M. Ward

Student Self Study: How to listen to this song

Song: “Chinese Translation” by M. Ward

The goal of listening to this song is to improve word stress. Stress means how strongly you say the word. Word stress is usually really hard for East Asian students. Unfortunately, native speakers have a lot of trouble understanding people who stress words in strange ways.

“Chinese Translation” is a nice song for practicing word stress. Enjoy.

Do these things…

Listen to the song: You can listen to it here, or search the internet. Listen to the song first. Don’t read the lyrics the first time. Listen first, then you can read the lyrics next.

Read the lyrics (and listen again):

I sailed a wild, wild sea,
climbed up a tall, tall mountain.
I met an old, old man
beneath a weeping willow tree.
He said now if you got some questions,
go and lay them at my feet,
but my time here is brief,
so you’ll have to pick just three.

And I said…

What do you do with the pieces of a broken heart?
And how can a man like me remain in the light?
And if life is really as short as they say,

then why is the night so long?
And then the sun went down,

and he sang for me this song.

See I once was a young fool like you,
afraid to do the things,

that I knew I had to do.
So I played an escapade just like you.
I played an escapade just like you.

I sailed a wild, wild sea,
climbed up a tall, tall mountain.
I met an old, old man,
he sat beneath a sapling tree.
He said now if you got some questions,
go and lay them at my feet,
but my time here is brief,
so you’ll have to pick just three.

And I said…
What do you do with the pieces of a broken heart?
And how can a man like me remain in the light?
And if life is really as short as they say,

then why is the night so long?
And then the sun went down,
and he played for me this song.

If you want, you can look up new words here: http://www.ldoceonline.com)

Note word stress: Listen again. Don’t look at the lyrics. Fill in the sheet below. Put an X in places where the word is stressed. Listen as many times as you need to. We did the first sentence for you, but there is no perfect answer. You can disagree. Listening and trying will help your word stress skills a lot.

_ __X____ _ __X__, __X__ ___,

_______ __ _ ____, ____ ________.

_ ___ __ ___, ___ ___

_______ _ _______ ______ ____.

__ ____ ___ __ ___ ___ ____ _________,

__ ___ ___ ____ __ __ ____,

___ __ ____ ____ __ _____,

__ ______ ____ __ ____ ____ _____.

___ _ ____…

____ __ ___ __ ____ ___ ______ __ _ ______ _____?

___ ___ ___ _ ___ ____ __ ______ __ ___ _____?

___ __ ____ __ ______ __ _____ __ ____ ___,

____ ___ __ ___ _____ __ ____?

___ ____ ___ ___ ____ ____,

___ __ ____ ___ __ ____ ____.
___ _ ____ ___ _ _____ ____ ____ ___,

______ __ __ ___ ______,

____ _ ____ _ ___ __ __.

__ _ ______ __ ________ ____ ____ ___.

_ ______ __ ________ ____ ____ ___.

_ ______ _ ____, ____ ___,

_______ __ _ ____, ____ ________.

_ ___ __ ___, ___ ___

__ ___ _______ _ _______ ____.

__ ____ ___ __ ___ ___ ____ _________,

__ ___ ___ ____ __ __ ____,

___ __ ____ ____ __ _____,

__ ______ ____ __ ____ ____ _____.

___ _ ____…
____ __ ___ __ ____ ___ ______ __ _ ______ _____?

___ ___ ___ _ ___ ____ __ ______ __ ___ _____?

___ __ ____ __ ______ __ _____ __ ____ ___,

____ ___ __ ___ _____ __ ____?

___ ____ ___ ___ ____ ____,

___ __ ______ ___ __ ____ ____.

Sing along: Finally, using the two sheets, sing along with the song. Go back to the lyrics and circle the words that are stressed. (Circle the words that got an X.) Then, sing the song.

Talking about Past Travel

This is another speaking topic for students. Click here to read the introduction to the series.

Students, remember to only speak English while you do this activity. Don’t speak your native language for at least one hour. You can do it!

Teachers, you can adapt these for lessons, or give them as homework.

Topic: Past Travel

Objectives: After the discussion, you should be able to discuss previous travel

Materials: A map of the world or a globe

Grammar: Past Simple, Present Perfect

Expressions

Listen and repeat these expressions.

I’ve seen some amazing things. Say this to explain that you have been to many places with great things.
I’ve flown a lot. Say this to say that plane travel is normal for you.
I went there once. Say this about a place that you visited.
I couldn’t stand that place. Say this when you really didn’t like a place.
The people were really nice. Say this to describe good people.
The thing that surprised me was the weather. Say this about something (for example the weather) that was surprising.
I’d rather fly. Say this if flying is better for you.
I think I’d prefer to drive. Say this if driving is better for you.

Vocabulary: trip, vacation (holiday), terminal, baggage, airport security, visa, plane, car, train, to check a bag, carry-on

Guess the words: Look up the vocabulary words in a dictionary. Then choose a word. Explain the word until your partner guesses the word. Then, your partner should explain a word and you should guess it.

For example:

A: This is something that flies. You get on it at an airport…

B: Plane!

A: Right. Now, it’s your turn.

B: This is something you drive. Lots of people own one. It’s a form of transportation.

A: Car!

B: That’s right.

Take a look at the map Take a look at your map or globe. Point to the places that you have been to. Quickly, tell your partner about those places.

Now, choose a place at random (“to choose at random” means to choose without thinking about it. For example, spin the globe, close your eyes, and stop it by putting your finger on the globe.)

Ask your partner: Would you like to live there? Why/Why not? What would be good about living there? What would be bad about living there?

For example:

A: Mexico!

B: Would you like to live there?

A: Yes, I would. / No, I wouldn’t.

B: Why? / Why not?

A: Because, I think it has nice weather. / Because, I think it’s too hot.

B: What would be good about living there.

A: Hmm, I think the people are probably nice.

B: What would be bad about living there.

A: I don’t speak Spanish, so that would be hard for me!

Then, repeat. Choose ten places.

Question Time Now, ask your partner these questions.

Do you like driving?

Do you like flying?

Do you prefer to drive or fly? (What’s better: flying or driving?) Why?

Describe a great vacation you have had.

How many times have you flown on a plane?

Name all the places you have been.

What are some of the best things you have seen when traveling?

What was your worst travel experience?

Do you prefer to travel alone or with other people?

Your Questions Now, write five discussion questions about Travel. Ask your partner your questions.

Write a Letter With your partner, choose a place that you really want to visit. Find a travel agency and write them a letter/email or visit them. Ask them to give you information about the place that you chose.

For Chicago, you can find more information here.

And a song: Do a search of YouTube for “Impossible Germany” by Wilco for a nice song that’s kind of related to travel.

How to listen to this song: “Young Folks” by Peter, Bjorn, and John

Student Self Study: How to listen to this song

Song: “Young Folks” by Peter, Bjorn and John

The goal of listening to this song is to improve word stress. Stress means how strongly you say the word. Word stress is usually really hard for East Asian students. Unfortunately, native speakers have a lot of trouble understanding people who stress words in strange ways.

“Young Folks” is a nice song for practicing word stress. It’s about a boy who likes a girl. He’s worried that she won’t like him because of his past, but she doesn’t care about his past. They both only care about talking with each other. Enjoy.

Do these things…

Listen to the song: You can listen to it here, or search the internet. Listen to the song first. Don’t read the lyrics the first time. Listen first, then you can read the lyrics next.

Read the lyrics: Listen again. This time, read the lyrics.

A: If I told you things I did before, told you how I used to be, would you go along with someone like me? If you knew my story word for word, had all of my history, would you go along with someone like me?

B: I lived before and had my share, it didn’t lead nowhere. I would go along with someone like you. It doesn’t matter what you do, who you are hanging with, we could stick around and see this night through.

A and B: And we don’t care about the young folks (talkin’ about the young style).

A and B: And we don’t care about the old folks (talkin’ ‘bout the old style too).

A and B: And we don’t care about our own folks (talkin’ bout our own stuff).

A and B: All we care about is talking, talking only me and you.

B: Usually when things has gone this far, people tend to disappear. No one will surprise me unless you do.

A: I can tell there’s something going on, hours seems to disappear. Everyone is leaving I’m still with you.

A and B: It doesn’t matter what we do, where we are going to, we can stick around and see this night through.

Note word stress: Listen again. Don’t look at the lyrics. Fill in the sheet below. Put an X in places where the word is stressed. Listen as many times as you need to. We did the first sentence for you, but there is no perfect answer. You can disagree. It’s important for you to listen and try. It’s not important for each student to put Xs in the same places.

A: _X_ _ ____ ___ ___X___ X _X_ ___X___, __X__ ___ ___ _ __X__ _X_ _X_ , __X___ ___ __ _____ ____ ____X___ __X__ _X_? __ ___ ____ __ _____ ____ ___ ____, ___ ___ __ __ _______, _____ ___ __ _____ ____ _______ ____ __?

B: _ _____ ______ ___ ___ __ _____, ______ ____ _______. _ _____ __ _____ ____ _______ ____ ___. __ _______ ______ ____ ___ __, ___ ___ _______ ____, __ _____ _____ ______ ___ ___ ____ _____ _______

A and B: ___ __ ____ ____ _____ ___ _____ _____ (______ _____ ___ _____ ____).

A and B: ___ __ ____ ____ _____ ___ ___ _____ (______ _____ ___ ___ _____ ___).

A and B: ___ __ ____ ____ _____ ___ ___ _____ (______ _____ ___ ___ _____).

A and B: ___ __ ____ _____ __ _______, _______ ____ __ ___ ___.

B: _______ ____ ______ ___ ____ ____ ___, ______ ____ __ _________. __ ___ ____ _______ __ ______ ___ __.

A: _ ___ ____ _______ _________ _____ __, _____ _____ __ _________. ________ __ _______ ___ _____ ____ ___.

A and B: __ _______ ______ ____ __ __, _____ __ ___ _____ __, __ ___ _____ ______ ___ ___ ____ _____ _______.

Sing along: Finally, using the two sheets, sing along with the song. Go back to the lyrics and circle the words that are stressed. (Circle the words that got an X.) Then, sing the song.

Talking about Personality

This is another speaking topic for students. Click here to read the introduction to the series.

Students, remember, you can only speak English while you do this activity. Don’t speak your native language for at least one hour. You can do it!

Teachers, you can adapt these for lessons or give them as homework.

Topic: Personality

Objectives: After the discussion, you should be able to discuss personality.

Materials: None

Grammar: Adjectives

Expressions

Listen and repeat these expressions.

She’s really interesting. Say these to describe a personality.
He’s a funny guy. He makes me laugh.
I like her, but she is a little boring. I wish she was more interesting.
He’s the smartest person I know. I think he should be a professor.
She’s really well-mannered. My parents like her a lot.
She’s so talkative. It’s a good thing I like listening!
I’m shy, so it takes a long time to get to know me.
When I don’t sleep enough, I’m really grouchy.

Vocabulary: trait, interesting, funny, boring, smart, well-mannered, talkative, shy, grouchy

Vocabulary Practice: Draw pictures of these words: Interesting, funny, boring, smart, well-mannered, talkative, shy, grouchy

Some More vocabulary: Go to this website and find five words that seem interesting. Look them up in a dictionary and draw pictures of them.

Go outside! Go to a public place like a mall or a busy street. Look at the different people. Make guesses about their personalities. Ask your partner why they think so. For example…

A: She might be interesting to talk to.

B: Why do you think so?

A: Look at her hair. Anyone with that haircut must be interesting.

B: He seems nice.

A: Why do you think so?

B: Well, he let that lady go first in the line. It was nice.

Question Time Discuss these questions:

Describe your personality. What kind of person are you?

Describe your partner’s personality. What kind of person is he/she?

Describe your parents’ personalities. What kind of people are they?

Do you prefer outgoing or shy people? Why?

Do you prefer slow or fast people? (People who do things slowly or people who do things fast) Why?

Is there a person who changed your personality? Who? How?

Think of three jobs. What kind of personality should people with those jobs have? (Example: A fireman should be brave.)

Your Questions Now write five personality questions and ask your partner your questions.

Paintings Look at three paintings. You can go to a museum or look at paintings here. Discuss these questions.

What kind of person painted this? Describe his/her personality? Why do you think that?

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