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Movie Riddles: An ESL Activity to Get Students Talking About Movies

 

 

 

 

Materials:

 

Language for Talking About Film

Activity 1: Film Riddles 

Optional: 10 Chocolates. 

 

Lesson Plan: This lesson is divided into four parts: introduction, presentation, solo work, and class activity. 

Introduction: I usually walk into the room and get down to the lesson --though I suppose you could do this after roll and teacher-talk. I gesture that I can't remember something. Then when a student asks me what's wrong, I say something along these lines:

I'm trying to remember the name of a movie, but I can't think of it for the life of me. What was that movie called? Hmm.

I continue gesturing for a few seconds to see how the students respond? Will they ask me a question such as 'Do you remember who is in it?" or something similar. If no one asks then I begin a description on my own until somebody can help me remember.

You know, it's a drama. Julia Roberts is in it. It takes place in a town in California where many people got sick She plays a secretary who works for a law firm. The movie is about a company that tries to hide it's chemical pollution that killed many people. In the end, the company loses the law case and has to pay millions of dollars. 

If somebody calls out the answer then I take out a chocolate and toss it to them. The class usually perks up at that point. Then I begin another movie riddle. I quickly give them ten movie riddles so that they can experience all of the important language points before we do our presentation on the board. 

Presentation: 

Next, I tell the students that I'm going to write some expressions on the board. I tell them that they don't have to write anything down because I've already written the language in a worksheet that I'm going to handout shortly.

For each of the sections, genre, setting, actor, plot, climax, and critics, I go over the vocabulary with the class. I don't usually favor teacher-centered classes but for some reason it seems to work here and the presentation lasts a good 15 minutes. However, I do think it's important to maintain a dialogue with the class as I'm putting the expressions on the board:

Can anybody name a movie that takes place in space? What's a movie starring Ewen McGregor? What is Troy about? In the end, what happens in Lord of the Rings?

Finally, I hand out the worksheet and ask them if there are any more questions. I've found that if I wait until after the presentation to handout the language worksheet, the students are more focused on the presentation on the board. 

Solo Work and Class Presentation:

Now, I handout the movie riddle activity sheet. The students will have ten to twenty minutes to think of three movies and write clues for them. While they are working solo, I walk around the room and help them with their clues. When everybody has done at least two clues we stop writing. Then I make the students share their riddles with the class. The class guesses that answer to the movie riddle after all five clues have been read. 

Go on to part II: Film Festival Role-play

 

 

 

If you found this lesson useful, you might also be interested in the survival English section

 

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