Aug 19, 2011

1408: Reflexive Pronouns

This thriller is based on a Stephen King's short story. As you can tell, it is scary, but it is not a violent movie. This is an exciting scene that I used for practicing reflexive pronouns with my students, because the snippet shows objects moving by themselves inside a hotel room, which number is 1408. This activity makes the grammar point more meaninful, I guess.

I. Work in pairs:

1. Do you believe in supernatural activities? Explain it.

2. Have you ever seen or known someone who has experienced supernatural activities?

3. Would you stay in a hotel which is famous for having ghosts? What about a history of murders? Why (not)?

4. Would you like to make contact with people who have passed away? Why (not)?

II. Watch the segment and complete the blanks with a reflexive pronoun:



1. The main character, Louis, served _________a drink.

2. The radio started playing a song by ________________.

3. The alarm clock reset ________________ to 60:00.

4. Louis recorded _____________ saying what was going on in the room.

5. The window closed by ______________ and hit Louis's fingers.

6. He started washing ____________ when the faucet started doing unexpected things by ______________.

7. The curtains were moving by _________________.

8. What about you? Would you spend the night in this room by ___________.



Answer key:

1. himself
2. itself
3. itself
4. himself
5. itself
6. himself / itself
7. themselves
8. yourself

Aug 13, 2011

Avalon: Modal Verbs May (Permission) x Can (Ability)

This scene seems to be especially made for teachers of English who are teaching the difference between CAN and MAY. This grammar point can be quite confusing for Brazilians, because both modals have the same translation - poder - in Portuguese, so the meaning can be unclear for us. This segment helps students understand the difference.

I. Match the verbs with the definition:

1. CAN

2. MAY

( ) It is if you are capable of doing something.

( ) It is asking for permission.

II. Watch the movie segment and check your answers.


III. Now read the dialog between a Brazilian teacher of English and a Brazilian student. Then complete the blanks with Can or May.

*Cultural note:
The native language spoken in Brazil is Portuguese.

T - Hello, students.
S - Hello, teacher. __________ I go to the restroom?

T - Not now. After class, OK?
S - Okay. _______ I speak Portuguese*?

T - Only if it is really important. Is it?
S - No, it isn't. __________ I do the homework now?

T - Not now. It is HOME work, dear.
S - Okay, teacher. But _______ I do the homework or is it very difficult?

T - The homework is easy, relax.
S - ____ I speak English like an American?

T - Well, not now, but in a near future...
S - Great! _______ I drink some water now?

Answer key:

I. 1, 2

III. may, may, may, can, can, may

Aug 5, 2011

Fearless: So x Such

This is an intriguing film. I used this scene to practice the use of so x such, activity which is adapted from the awesome blog If the Ship Sinks, We Have the Survival Kit, by Vania Rodrigues and Vinicius Lemos. Thank you, Vania and Vinicius, for providing us with such great and creative activities.

Vânia Rodrigues has been an EFL teacher for 20 years, 15 of which at a Binational Center in Brazil, Casa Thomas Jefferson. She has been a teacher, a Course Supervisor and is currently a Deputy Academic Coordinator at CTJ. She holds an M.A in Applied Linguistics from the Universidade de Brasília. Vinicius Lemos has been an English teacher for 15 years. He holds a B.A in Letras-Inglês (English Language and Literature) from Universidade de Brasília (UnB) and has been an EFL teacher at Casa Thomas Jefferson, Brasília, Brazil, for 9 years. He was a presenter at the 2010 TESOL Conference in Boston, USA and the 2011 ABS International Conference in Montevideo, Uruguay.

I. Imagine that you are in the plane accident that you see in the movie segment. Work in groups of three students. Somehow you know you will survive and be lost on a desert island with the other students in your group. Select 6 objects that you see in the airplane to carry with you to help you survive on a desert island. Choose the objects wisely.


II. Now that you have chosen the 6 objects, you have a surprise. You will not be able to use these objects for what they were originally designed for. So, it means you will have to find new uses for them in order to survive. Your objective is to convince your teacher that you are the ones who will survive. Use so or such to describe the object and its new use.

Ex: Glasses.

Glasses can be so useful that we can use the lenses to start a fire. / We may use glasses to start a fire in such a dangerous situation.

III. Your teacher will decide who will have more chances of surviving with the choses objects and how you will use them. The winning group gets a chocolate bar.

WORKSHEET. - Be careful - the worksheet may give away the surprise of the exercise.