Friday, November 27, 2009

Frida: Frida Kahlo

This movie is just great and Kahlo is one of my favorite painters. We often talk about her and art in general in our classes, so I developed this ativity, which my students enjoyed and learned a lot.

A. Work in groups of three students. Answer the following quiz about the great painter Frida Kahlo. The group that score more points is the winner.

1. Frida was _______.

a. Spanish

b. Colombian

c. Cuban

d. Mexican

2. Frida was a survivor of ______.

a. polio

b. malaria

c. cancer

d. Spanish influenza

3. She was born in

a. 1897

b. 1907

c. 1917

d. 1927

4. She was married to a famous painter

a. Pablo Picasso

b. Salvador Dali

c. Juan Miró

d. Diego Rivera

5. At the age of 18, she was seriously injured in a ________.

a. bus accident

b. fall in the bathroom

c. fight with her husband

d. fall from the stairs

Answers: 1 d, 2 a, 3 b, 4 d, 5 a

B. Look at the painting below. Talk to a partner and make guesses:

1. Who is the character in the painting?

2. Why is she wearing those clothes?

3. What was she feeling?

4. What happened before she painted it?

5. Why did she paint it?

Painting: Self-portrait with cropped hair - Frida Kahlo

C. Watch the segment and check if you were right.


D. Now repeat the process with this painting:

1. Who is the character in the painting?

2. Why is she wearing those clothes?

3. What was she feeling?

4. What happened before she painted it?

5. Why did she paint it?

Painting: The Broken Column - Frida Kahlo

E. Now watch the second segment and check if you were right.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Swing Vote: Elections

This movie is surprisingly good. Because Brazilian elections are completely different from American's, this scene is perfect to practice vocabulary about elections and conversation. It is great at election times. I hope you like it. My students did.

A. Match the vocabulary and its definition:

1. polls

2. candidate

3. ballot

4. platform

5. campaign

6. party

7. running mate

8. swing vote

( ) a document listing all the alternatives that is used in voting

( ) the place where people vote

( ) a race between candidates for an elective office

( ) a person who is running for office

( ) the person a presidential candidate will choose to run for vice-president

( ) the vote that unties an election

( ) a statement of principles and objectives used during a campaign to win support from voters

( ) a group of persons with common political opinions and purposes

B. Now fill in the blanks with the words in Exercise A.

1.Everyone needs to go to the ________to vote.

2. Each political party nominates a_____________.

3. He put his vote in the __________ box.

4. The candidate simply ignored the party _______________ and followed his own ideas.

5. An organized effort to gain votes is a _____________.

6. Each political ___________selects a candidate.

7. The vice-presidential candidate is the ____________.

8. Because each of the candidates had 5 votes, mine will be the ___________.

Answer key:

A: 3, 1 5, 2, 7, 8, 4, 6

B: 1. polls, 2. candidate, 3. ballot, 4. platform, 5. campaign, 6. party, 7. running mate, 8. swing vote

B. Interview each other:

1. Do you like to vote?

2. Is it important to vote? Why?

3. Do you remember who you voted for in the previous elections? And for representatives?

4. Should voting be mandatory? Why (not)?

5. What are the best and worst things about elections?

C. Watch the movie segment from the movie Swing Vote. Then describe everything the little girl did on the American presidential election day. Make sure you use the vocabulary you have learned.



D. Talk to a partner:

1. Do you think that what happened in the segment could possibly happen during the elections in your country? Why (not) ?

2. What would the consequences of her act be if the elections were in your country?

3. Is the voting process in your country similar to the one in the segment (USA)? How different is it?

E. Watch the second segment and answer the questions:



1. What were the consequences of the power failure?

2. How did the candidates react? Would it be different if they were in your country?

3. What do you think the candidates are going to do to convince that citizen to trust him his ballot?

4. What would you do if you had the the swing vote?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Long Weekend & The Beach: Sharks

I. Work in small groups. Answer the following questions about sharks. The team that scores more points is the winner:

1. What is the largest shark in the world?

a. Hammerhead shark
b. Whale shark
c. Great white shark
d. Tiger shark

2. How long can a shark go without eating?

a. a week
b. two weeks
c. a month
d. two months

3. Mother sharks stay close to their babies until they are mature.

a. true
b. false

4. The great white shark is the most fierce of the sharks.

a. true
b. false

5. About how many kinds of sharks are there?

a. Under 250
b. 250 -350
c. 350 - 450
d. Over 500

6 . Sharks have upper and lower eyelids but they do not blink.

a. true
b. false

7. The most harmless sharks tend to be the largest.

a. true
b. false

8. Some sharks may eat other sharks.

a. true
b. false

9. Florida has the greatest number of shark attacks annually in the whole world.

a. true
b. false

10. Almost all sharks are "carnivores" or meat eaters.

a. true
b. false

Answer key:

1 b, 2 c, 3 b, 4 b, 5 c, 6 a, 7 a, 8 a, 9 b, 10 a

B. Discuss the following questions:

1. What's your opinion about sharks?

2. Have you ever seen a live shark? Where?

3. Are sharks a problem where you live or spend summer vacation?

4. Is it okay to kill or hunt sharks in areas they attack human beings?

5. What are the qualities of a shark?

C. Watch the movie segment from the Australian movie, Long Weekend, and answer the questions.


1. Describe what happened in the scene.

2. What would you do if you saw someone in the ocean and a shark approaching?

3. The scene takes place in Australia, a country famous for its shark attacks. Would you swim on a beach you knew there are sharks around?

4. If you were Peter, would you swim there again on another day?

5. What will happen next?

D. Now watch another segment from the same movie, Long Weekend. Check what happens to the animal.


1. Was it a shark? What was it? Did it surprise you?

2. Why did the characters think it was a shark when they first saw it?

3. Would you feel more relieved or worried after the discovery?

E. Work in small groups discussing the following questions, previewing the next segment from the movie, The Beach.

1. Who is more likely to win in a confrontation? A man or a shark?

2.What should a man do in order to defeat a shark when fighting in the waters of the ocean?

3. Is it possible to defeat a shark in its natural habitat?

4. Watch the segment. Then describe the scene and share your opinion about what actually happened.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Lakeview Terrace & Rear Window: Neighbors

I. Interview a partner:  

1. Talk about your neighborhood. Do you know all your neighbors?

2. What kind of neighbors do you have?

3. Do you trust them? Why (not)?

4. Do you have nosy neighbors?

5. What about noisy neighbors?

6. What should one do to be a good neighbor?

II. Switch roles now.

1. Is it good to have neighbors who visit you often? Why (not)?

2. Talk about your best neighbor.

3. Talk about your worst neighbor.

4. What are the most common disagreements between neighbors.

5. Have you ever argued with a neighbor? Talk about it.

6. Have you ever had a "dog problem" with a neighbor? Talk about it.

III. Watch the segment from the movie Lakeview Terrace now and discuss the following questions

1. Describe what happened in the segment.

2. How would you describe their relationship? Why?

3. What do you think happened before the segment?

4. What will probably happen next?

5. Who's right in the scene?

III. Circle the adjectives that you believe your neighbors would apply to you and underline the ones you think apply to your neighbor (choose one of them).





Open minded


















IV. Now watch the segment from the movie Rear Window and discuss the questions that follow.

1. Describe the scene.

2. What do you think actually happened?

3. Was the owner of the dog right to say what she did? Explain it.

4. What kind of neighborhood is it?

5. How do you compare these neighbors to the ones in the first segment?

6. Which of the adjectives in the previous exercise apply to this neighborhood?

7. How different are these neighbors from your own?

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I have given an interview that has been published on a peer's (Vanessa Prata's) very intereresting blog, about using movie segments in the classroom. You may check it out here. Thanks Vanessa. Your blog, English for All, is great for teachers. Congratulations.