Archive for the ‘Books & Movies’ Category


Screenplay to work on your English!

June 13, 2013

best_exotic_marigold_hotel_ver2At last!!! Finished preparing the screenplay of the movie called The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel!

It’s taken me two months because I did it whenever I had some free time!

I’ve prepared this screenplay for me to use in class next year with Upper Intermediate and Advanced students. Teachers are welcome to use it, of course. And if you are a lifelong learner, you might want to use at home to work on your English.

the-best-exotic-marigold-hotel-bk13 (44 pdf pages – the two last are ideas for activities!)


Language items for Descriptions (book / movie reviews)

January 20, 2013

her-fearful-symmetryangelcartersbookoffairytalesWhen you are asked [I’m making YOU the protagonist of the sentence, so I need to use the passive here] to write a REVIEW, you are being asked to write a DESCRIPTIVE text.

In terms of language range, this means we expect you will use all kinds of modifiers, for instance,

  • modifiers used BEFORE the noun they modify: the middle-aged woman, the 14-year-old boy, the angry young man, the beautiful small ring, the frightening event, this dangerous action; which includes, yes!, -ed/-ing adjectives: The acting performances are outstanding. The story is gripping
  • modifiers used AFTER the noun they modify: the man in a dark green coat, the children with pony tails, the woman in red. PLUS: relative (adjectival) clauses. With “who”, “which” or “that”, e.g., The farm, which lies in a valley, …; He gives it to the woman he met on the train; and also omitting this relative pronoun, e.g. The gas station the main character works in.
  • Other pronouns in relative clauses (where-, when-, why-, whereby; whoever, whatever, whichever), e.g. The gas station where he works…, The reason why she is calling on him that afternoon is because…; The period of time when they lived together…; possessive: The main actor, whose acting is outstanding, is R. L… … there is a village, whose name I don’t recall, where
  • Participle clauses: past participles (-ed, or 3rd column), present participles (-ing) and (passive) “being -ed”, e.g. Hearing a loud crash outside, the little girl runs out of the house and into the street…; The man wearing a blue overcoat is my brother; Feeling very tired Leaving behind all of her possessions, the young woman closes the door behind her; Putting on a serious face, he walks to his father and…; Book reviews published last week were encouraging; Set in the 19th century, the story portrays the lives of different middle-class people who…; Being chosen as the best feature film, “Whatever whatever” tells the story of… Yes, as you can see, we can replace some of these with a relative clause. More: with “have” (perfect): Having completed the journey, the family…; Having been invited to the party (AWESOME!: perfect, and passive!), the family…
  • smokesignals_bookAll kinds of comparatives (including superlatives):
    1. the same as the other; hotter than, more intelligent than, funnier, warmer, less handsome than, the most perfect, the least boring, the least intoxicating. Exclamations such as: They were SO angry!, They felt SUCH anger!
    2. SO/SUCH clauses: It was SO funny that I wet my pants! It was SUCH A funny movie that I wet my pants! There were SO MANY people that we couldn’t move. The place was SO crowded that we couldn’t even move.
    3. The more they try, the harder it gets, so they decide to… The harder they try, the less oxygen they have…
  • Degree adverbs: very/really, too, extremely, quite, not enough…, very much (She likes WHATEVER very much – V + O + “very much”)
  • Connectors like: In contrast, the first part was more exciting. About the screenplay, … In the end (an ending to the story), they found the treasure. At the end of the trip/movie, we… However, … Surprisingly, … Instead (of doing that), they decide to…, All in all (assessment)… Personally, I enjoyed… Unbelievably, in the end they marry.
  • Time clauses are handy to narrate the plot: After they marry, they return to England. Before they married, they were living in Canada. Once they marry, they return to England.
  • Conditional sentence for stating who would like the book or movie you are recommending (but this is not compulsory, you can recommend by using other wording): If you enjoy this kind of action, this novel is a must. / If you enjoyed Titanic, you will certainly enjoy this romantic story (yes, this mixture of tenses is not what comes in the textbook).

Oh my! Long, right? Also for me!!! Time flies! Gotta have din-din!!! 😀 😀 I was just brainstorming, so please, feel free to add some more, or tell me about possible mistakes. Nightie night!


Interview to Sherman Alexie, by The Poetry Foundation

December 14, 2012

Next Monday and Tuesday, the Avanzado 2 groups are welcome to share the language they learned/learnt from The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, what they learned about Indians in the USA, about reservations, about life, about humour/humor, about friendship, about family, about identity, about finding one’s way in spite of hardship…

There are a few interviews to Alexie on the Net. In this one, if you have read the novel, you’ll recognize some of his main themes as a person and as a writer, of course! If you haven’t read the book and you can spare the time this weekend, I’ll let you know I read it in a very cold and very cozy homey weekend. But I love reading books in one or two sittings, because the reading experience kind of transports you to other worlds!

About the movie, Smoke Signals, if you all like we can watch it in February, to take a break from Exam Practice activities! 🙂 If you are into movies, I recommend you get a copy of the screenplay. It’s got a lovely intro.

In spite of things — I wrote to his agent and got a huge NO about publishing one of Alexie’s stories for people to read. “Search Engine” is the title and it is included in his collection of stories entitled Ten Little Indians. Considering I’ve been asking four generations of students to get his novel, I must admit it felt bad, because I couldn’t show people his other kind of writing. I wonder where the Fair Use policy went. Quo vadis, Fair Use? Anyway, there’s always Free Culture and Civil Disobedience — I might type it and share it somewhere.


Childhood Memories (videos for Avanzado 2)

November 21, 2012

When thinking about childhood memories, a novel that immediately comes to my mind is Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”. My avatar here is Scout, actually. (I’ve just read the first 100 pages only, but someday I’ll manage the rest! Those first pages are Scout telling about her childhood adventures. There’s a movie version, with Mary Badham and Gregory Peck, Scout and Atticus. The problem is that the sound is not too clear, so I think it’s too hard for you to practice REAL listening. Anyway, if this is precisely the movie you’re dying to watch 😀 I won’t beat you up if you watch it using subtitles in English! 😀 )


For Avanzado 2 – Reading 1

October 1, 2012

October-November 2012

The Absolutely True Dairy of a Part-time Indian (2006) by Sherman Alexie


Listen to the author reading one of his favo(u)rite scenes!

Read the book a couple of times, to pick a few scenes you would like to share in class (reading aloud). Underline useful language (sentences you might want to use), too, which you will also share in class in December.

Before the winter holidays we will watch the movie “Smoke Signals” – screenplay by Sherman Alexie! You can buy the screenplay, if you like. It’s as cheap as the novel. The first Native American movie by Native American people!


Life of Brian

September 17, 2011

Monty Python’s Life of Brian , also known as Life of Brian, is a 1979 British comedy film written, directed and largely performed by the Monty Python comedy team. It tells the story of Brian Cohen, a young Jewish man who is born on the same day as, and next door to, Jesus Christ, and is subsequently mistaken for the Messiah.

Official Site


Farenheit 451

June 16, 2010

The Farenheit 451 Project will allow you to learn about a few relevant cultural references, among many other things: one is related to this Ray Bradbury novel and to why Michael Moore called his documentary Farenheit 9/11. The other is that Ray Bradbury is also the author of The Martian Chronicles, an amazing collection of stories, totally unrelated to the reality show that took this name.

This project involves (at least):

  • Reading an excerpt of the novel Farenheit 451 and listening to another excerpt read by Ray Bradbury. Find all this at the Ray Bradbury TP webpage.
  • Reading the novel (£5)
  • Watching French director’s Farenheit 451 movie version.

Then prepare your OP! What would you do in class to present these masterpieces?

More: Interested in downloading Michael Moore’s documentary Farenheit 9/11?


Robin Hood

June 13, 2010

The Robin Hood Project we are linking to was designed for classroom activities for Upper Intermediate students, but Advanced students can pick ideas from it and adapt them.

This project would involve…

  • watching the movie Robin and Marian (1976)
  • reading Lancelyn’s retelling The Adventures of Robin Hood (£5)

Example of how a teacher exploited Robin Hood with Upper Intermediate students


High Fidelity

June 12, 2010

The High Fidelity Project involves…

  • Watching the movie
  • Reading the screenplay or Nick Hornby’s novel (£8), or both!
  • Selecting scenes/lines for classroom activities

To get started, check out the TP Page on High Fidelity

%d bloggers like this: