Friday, May 17, 2013

Hotel Transylvania & Mr. Popper's Penguins: Modal for Ability/Permission CAN

Hotel Transylvania is an awesome movie. Funny, somewhat scary, and with lots of interesting lessons to teach. Mr. Popper's penguins is an effective family movie, but the penguins are fantastic!

I. Watch the movie segment from the movie Hotel Transylvania about Dracula and his daughter, Mavis, and complete the blanks with can/can't and the verbs in parentheses. 

1. Mavis __________ (crawl) up the walls.

2. Mavis ______________ (go) outside .

3. Dracula ______________ (play)  the guitar.

4. Mavis and Dracula __________ (fly).

5. Dracula and Mavis ________________ (be) humans and bats.

5. Mavis _____________ (read).

7. Dracula ___________ (sing)

II. Which item in I CAN is not used for permission, not ability?

III. Guess what the penguins can do. Check the items you think they can.

1. __ Speak English

2. __ Walk

3. __ Run

4. __ Fly

5 __ Walk in line

6 __ Dance

7 __ Cross streets

8 __ Jump

IV. Watch the segment from the movie Mr. Popper's Penguins and check your answers.

V. Write 3 sentences saying what penguins can do and can't do.




Answer key


Mavis can crawl up the walls.

Mavis can't go outside .

Dracula can play the guitar.

Mavis and Dracula  can fly.

Dracula and Mavis can be humans and bats.

Mavis can't read.

Dracula can sing

II. # 2


Penguins can't speak English, fly and jump.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Melancholia: 2nd Conditional

Although many people criticized this movie, I really liked it. Thought-provoking, its two different stories hypnotized me until the last scene. This activity is to practice the use of the 2nd conditional orally.

I. Work in pairs. Let's suppose that the Earth will be hit by another planet. Nothing can be done to stop the collision. It will be the end of days and there will be no survivors. The impact will be so hard that death will be painless and instantaneous. 

a. Apocalypse Abbr. Apoc. Bible The Book of Revelation.

b. Any of a number of anonymous Jewish or Christian texts from around the second century b.c. to the second century a.d. containing prophetic or symbolic visions, especially of the imminent destruction of the world and the salvation of the righteous.

          c. Great or total devastation; doom: the Apocalypse of nuclear war.

1. What would you do three weeks before the collision?

2. What would you do on the day of the collision.

3. Who would you like to be with if that happened?

4. Where would you like to be if the end of times were inevitable?

5. What would probably happen around the world on the day of the apocalypse if everyone knew what was about to happen?

6. Would people still go to work if they knew the world would end within three weeks? What consequences would it bring to every one's lives?

II. Watch the movie segment and then discuss the questions that follow.

1. How did they decide to spend the last minutes of their lives?

2. What's your opinion about their decision?

3. Would you do the same as they did? Why (not)?

4. Do you think the world will ever end? If so, what would probably happen?

5. What's your view of the apocalypse?

6. Why is there so much speculation about the apocalypse? How afraid are you?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Hall Pass: Modal for Possibility - COULD

This is a funny movie with great scenes. I had a lot of fun watching it. I used this scene to talk about modals for possibility, especially COULD.

I. What are the possible consequences  of Mr. Will's buying his twenty-year-old  babysitter some beer? What does his conscience tell him about the possible consequences of buying alcohol for a minor? Check the actions you think he believes could happen to him.

( ) 1. He goes into a lot of trouble.

( ) 2. He is arrested by the police.

( ) 3. His action attitude becomes a scandal.

( ) 4. He is fired.

( ) 5. His fiancée is  furious at him.

( ) 6. He falls in love with his babysitter.

( ) 7. His babysitter falls in love with him.

II. Now rewrite his fears using modals for possibility



Answer key:




1. He could go into a lot of trouble.

2. He could be arrested by the police.

3. His action could become a scandal.

4. He could be fired

5. His fiancée could be furious at him.

6. He could fall in love with the babysitter.

7. The babysitter could fall in love with him.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Premium Rush & The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: Comparatives with Nouns and Adjectives

I simply love The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and its cultural conflicts and good humor. I used these scenes to practice comparatives of adjectives and nouns.

I. Watch both segments. Write (C) if you consider that the items below are more evident in the cyclist scene in  New York traffic. Write (T) if you think it is in the riding a tuk tuk's scene in India. Write (B) if it applies to both equally.



1. ( ) Dangerous

2. ( ) Busy

3. ( ) Reckless

4. ( ) Fast

5. ( ) Violent

6. ( ) Safe

7. ( ) Practical

II. Write sentences comparing the traffic in NY City and India.

Ex: The traffic in NY (India) is more (less) dangerous than in India (NY) or The traffic in NY is as dangerous as in India.

1. ___________________________________________________________. 

2. ___________________________________________________________. 

3. ___________________________________________________________.

4. ___________________________________________________________.

5. ___________________________________________________________.

6. ___________________________________________________________.

III. Now decide in which city the items below are more evident. Write (C) if they are more evident in the cyclist scene in  New York or (T) if you think it is in the in the tuk tuk's scene in India. Write (B) if it applies to both equally.

1. Cars in the street

2. People walking in the streets

3. Traffic lights

4. Taxis

5. Tuk Tuks

6. Organization

IV. Write sentences comparing the traffic in NY City and in India.

Ex: There are fewer (more) cars in NY (India) than in India (NY) or There are as many cars in NY as (there are) in NY.

1. ___________________________________________________________. 

2. ___________________________________________________________. 

3. ___________________________________________________________.

4. ___________________________________________________________.

5. ___________________________________________________________.




Friday, April 19, 2013

Oblivion: Present Continuous

This activity was provided by Philip Rice and it was published on his awesome blog THE ESL COMMANDO. Thanks, Phil, for such a great activity.

Phil Rice is an instructor at the English Language Institute
in Delaware, USA. He has taught English for the past 5 years and in the ESL
field for the past 3 years. He enjoys using technology, games, and creativity
to help teach students English. His blog can be found at

Oblivion looks like a great movie with Tom Cruise. This activity uses
the movie,pictures, vocab cards and a worksheet to help students to
practice the present progressive tense in a fun, interactive way that is
more like a game than just an exercise.

How to use the worksheet:

Download the Worksheet Here  (Please note, it will look funny on the downloader, but in Word it's fine).

  1. Cut and Distribute Pictures to students

  2.  Play the trailer and have students sequence the scene in order
    (They may need two times). You may want to run this part as a game.
    First team in order wins. 

  3. Distribute vocab cards and have students place vocab with the
    correct pictures.  You can run this as a competition as well. First team
    with correct 

  4. Play trailer again and have students recite correct vocab out loud by stopping the trailer for each picture scene.

  5. Students complete worksheet with fill in the blanks.

  6. Teacher reviews answers.



Trailer English Listening: Present Progressive

Touch his head

Lay on the ground

Play basketball

Fly over Jack’s  head

Talk to Jack

Ride a motorcycle

Sit at a desk

Fall through a hole

Scream at Jack

Light a match

Shoot a gun

Bang on the door

Fly and shoot

Ask the girl

Light shine

Spin around

you are a reporter, and you are telling the TV listeners exactly what is
happening right now on the show in the order it is happening. Use the PRESENT PROGRESSIVE tense.

1.       Jack _______________________________,
he  _______________________________, and
he  ________________________. 

2.       Right now, an object/plane  _______________________________________,  the
Jack _____________________________. 

3.       Now, the red- haired woman
____________________________________, but Jack
________________________________________and he

4.       At this moment, the man with
the glasses __________________________, but the red-haired woman
Jack _________________________________________. 

5.       Now, the light
___________________________________ in the room,  Jack  _______________________ a question ,and the
planes ____________________________________. 
Now, Jack’s plane ____________________________________.

Touch his head

Lay on the ground

Play basketball

Fly over Jack’s  head

Talk to Jack

Ride a motorcycle

Sit at a desk

Fall through a hole

Scream at Jack

Light a match

Shoot a gun

Bang on the door

Fly and shoot

Ask the girl

Shine bright

Spin around

Cut and distribute cards after students order the pictures, having them match
the vocab cards with the correct pictures. 
This works on sight recognition of vocabulary. Circulate and assist with
unfamiliar vocab

Cut and
distribute the pictures, then play the trailer at

Students put
them in order.  Then hand out the first
sheet.  Have students put the present
progressive in the blanks.

* All the pictures are available in the worksheet


1.       Is playing basketball, is
laying on the ground, is touching his head.

2.       Is flying over Jack’s head/ is
riding a motorcycle /is sitting at a desk/

3.       Is talking to Jack/is falling
through a hole /is shooting a gun

4.       Is lighting a match/is
screaming at Jack/is banging on the door.

5.       The light is shining/is asking
the girl/are flying and shooting/is spinning around.