Monday, September 30, 2013

Lincoln: Abolition of Slavery - Civil Rights Movement

I love this historic scene despite the slow pace of this movie. I used it to provide the students with opportunities to learn a bit more about culture and history.

I. Work with a partner. Here you have facts about the abolition of slavery in Britain, the USA and Brazil. Take the quiz below and let's see how much you know (or can guess) about these historic moments that had different patterns in the three aforementioned countries.


inspired by:

1. It was the first big slave-trading nation to abandon the trade. (True or False)

2. The campaign against slavery was dominated by women. (True or False)

3. In the 18th century thousands of slaves were brought into Britain, and the height of fashion amongst rich ladies was to have a black child servant. (True or False)

4. Coffee  produced by slaves transformed the British cuisine. It was what turned tea into a British national obsession as opposed to the strange Indian pastime it originally was. (True or False)

5. Slavery inside the British Empire came to an end after a rebellion led by a Jamaican slave. What he originally planned was to make use of non-violent tactics and passive resistance to end slavery. (True or False)


Inspired by

1. The senate passed the 13th amendment one year after the end of the civil war. (True or False)
2. President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that all slaves in the rebelling states were free as of January 1, 1863. The Civil War became about ending slavery once and for all. (True or False)

3. 26 of the 27 states of the Union ratified the amendment in February, 1865, the first month after its passage by the Congress. (True or False)

4. The first to ratify the 13th Amendment was Illinois. (True or False)

5. Mississippi was the last state to ratify. (True or False)


Inspired by

1. Brazil achieved independence from Portugal in 1822. The Constituent Assembly was published and addressed that not only the slave trade must end, but also for the gradual emancipation of slaves. However, since this point until the 1880s, the Brazilian demand for slaves was filled by a gigantic increase in the importation of African slaves. (True or False)

2. In 1848, the Brazilian slave trade continued on considerable level growing rapidly during the 19th century, and during this time the numbers reached as much as (6,000 - 60.000 - 100.000)  slaves per year.  (Choose the best answer).

3. the foreign slave trade was finally abolished by 1850. Then, by 1871, the sons of the slaves were freed. In 1885, the slaves aged over 60 years were freed. (True or False)

4. Brazil was the last nation in the Western Hemisphere to abolish slavery. (True or False) 

5. The country that sent most slaves to Brazil was Tanzania. (true or False)

Answer key:


1. True
2. True
3. True
4. False - Sugar
5. True


1. False - Before
2. True
3. False - eighteen states
4. True
5. False - Georgia


1. True
2. 60.000
3. True
4. True
5. False - Angola.

II. Watch the movie segment and discuss the questions:

1. What is the mood of the voting? What about after the voting?

2. What exactly were they deciding with the passing of the 13th amendment?

3. Describe the scene.

4. Can you think of other historic moments in your country's history that were similar or even greater than the passing of the 13th amendment?

5. What are the consequences of slavery in Britain, the USA and Brazil nowadays? Do you have any idea?


Friday, September 20, 2013

Click: Regrets

This movie provides us entertainment and food for thought when it comes to our life choices. Having a remote control to extend our favorite moments of the day sounds like a dream, but we have to deal with its consequences. This scene is really touching.

Work in pairs:

1. Are you an impulsive person or do you mull an idea over for a long time before taking action?

2. How does it affect your life decisions? Have you ever regretted a decision you have taken? Give examples.

3. Think about three things that you regret having done in your life. Share them with your partner.

4. Would you do anything differently if you could go back in time? Explain it.

5. Imagine that you had a remote control that would allow extending your most pleasurable moments and speeding up your boring moments. Which moments would you extend and which ones would you speed up? Think at least about 5 different moments for each situation.

Watch the movie segment and discuss the questions:

- Is the scene about the past, present or future?

- Can he change his past? Why (not)?

- How does he feel about his relationship with his father?

Make a list of 5 things he regrets. Use both should have + past participle and wish.

EX: He wishes he had spent more time with his dad OR He should have spent more time with his dad.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Little Man Tate: Privileges for the Gifted

This movie is a classic. It is a turning point on movies about people with special needs and gifts. Definitely worth-seeing!

I. Discuss the following quotes. Which one do you agree with?

1. 100% of our intelligence comes from the environment. If so, genetics influence is not important, just the way you were educated or raised will count.

2. 50% of our intelligence comes from genes and 50% comes from the environment.

3. 100% of our intelligence comes from our genes. If so, the family of Sigmund Freud and his descendants are all intelligent, for example.

II. Do you think that preferential treatment should be given to the gifted? Do you agree with this statement?

"Gifted Children should be singled out for preferential treatment. They should be given advantages that other children don't get in order to nurture their special talents".

Make a list of arguments for and against this issue.

III.  Divide the class into two groups and promote a debate. The groups prepare a list of arguments for and the other one against the quotation.


IV. Watch the segment and discuss the questions:

1. What is the main characters' special talent?

2. How did feel about it?

3. What did he want to have, and he doesn't?

4. How did the school professionals deal with the situation?

5. How did his mother deal with this situation?

6. What would you do if you were his mother?

7. What if you were the school's director?