Mar 26, 2011

The Box: 1st & 2nd Conditionals

I love the idea of the movie and its intriguing development. The situation is unsual, perfect for 1st and 2nd conditional practice.

A. Read the passage below and complete the blanks with the verbs in parentheses, using with the first conditional. You have just received the visit of a total stranger who gives you a mysterious box with a button and makes the following offer to you:

If you _________ (push) the button, two things ________ (happen). First, someone, somewhere in the world, whom you don't know, __________ (die). Second, you ____________ (receive) a payment of one million dollars. Tax free. The payment ___________ (be) delivered by me in cash to you.

There are three restrictions:

1. You are not permitted to know any information about who's making the offer.

2. You are not permitted to discuss the details of this offer to anyone except your husband (wife).

3. You have 24 hours to make your decision.

4. Otherwise, the box will be reprogrammed and the offer will be made to someone else.

B. Now watch the first part of the segment (until the visitor leaves her house) and check your answers.


C. Now discuss the following questions with a partner. Remember that you are talking about an unreal situation, so you must use the second conditional. Then write down your answers. Start them with If...

1. What would you do if you were in her shoes?
If ...

2. How would you feel if you pushed the button?
If ...

3. How would you feel if you didn't push the button?
If ...

4. Would you push the button if you needed that money to save your son/daughter's life? Explain it.
If ...

D. Watch the second part of the segment and answer the following questions:


1. What were some of the things they considered before deciding whether to push the button?

2. What did they decide to do?

3. According to her, why did she do it?

Answer key:

A. push / will happen / will die / will receive / will be

B. Answers will vary

Mar 19, 2011

Up in the Air: Simple Present x Simple Past

This movie is really nice and the scene is perfect to contrast the uses of the simple present and simple past tenses.

I. Work in small groups. Make a list of activities you do every time you travel by plane. Think about what you do during the day until the plane takes off. Make sure you mention the steps you take at home and at the airport too.


I make my bags.
I shave.

II. Watch the movie segment and check which of the activities you listed in Exercise I George Clooney's character did that day.

III. Now write 5 sentences saying what he did in the segment that you did not list in exercise II.

Ex: He took off his shoes at the airport.

IV. Now write sentences saying 5 things from your list that he didn't do before traveling.

Ex: He didn't shave.





Mar 17, 2011

TESOL 2011 - New Orleans

The TESOL Convention in New Orleans has just ended and I attended very interesting sessions. My presentation was Saturday and I everything worked out. If you attended the convention, please tell us what you thought about it and if you enjoyed it.

Mar 12, 2011

Despicable Me: Modal Verbs - Rules with Will and May

Despicable Me is a lovely animated movie about a kind-hearted villain you end up falling in love with. This scene is marvelous and perfect to talk about rules, using will and may.

I. You will watch a scene in which a father is setting the rules with his recently adopted children. First, read the rules below and decide which ones you think are forbidden and which ones are permitted.

1.___ touch something.
2.___ touch the floor.
3. ___ touch the air.
4. ___ bother him while he is working.
5. ___ cry.
6. ___ whine.
7. ___ laugh.
8. ___ giggle.
9. ___ sneeze
10. ___burp.
11. ___ fart.
12. ___ make annoying noises.
13. ___ eat.

II. Watch the segment and check your guesses. Now write the rules, using YOU WILL (NOT) if the activity is forbidden and YOU MAY if the activity is allowed.



Answer key:

you may: 1, 2, 3, 13
you will not : the other items

Mar 5, 2011

What Dreams May Come: Simple Present

This movie has a great message about the afterlife. The special effects are overwhelming. This beautiful scene is great to have students practice the simple present tense.

I. Make a list of at least 10 activities you do in your spare time.

1. I listen to music.
2. I go swimming.

II. Ask your partner if he/she does it in his/her spare time.

1. Do you listen to music in your spare time?
Yes, I do / No, I don't

2. Do you go swimming?

Yes, I do / No, I don't

II. Watch the segment now. The scene takes place in heaven. Observe what people do in heaven and write at least 5 sentences saying what they do there to spend time.


1. ...............................................

2. ..............................................

3. ..............................................

4. ..............................................

5. ..............................................

III. Are there any similarities between your list and the activities in the segment?

IV. Talk to a friend.

1. What's your opinion about the heaven in the segment? Is it interesting or boring? Why?

2. What do you like and dislike in the heaven you saw in the segment?

3. Do you think heaven is like that? Do you believe in heaven?