Jan 25, 2015

The Nut Job: A Number of x The Number of

A number of should be used with a plural verb. Think of it this way: 
A number of equates to the word they.

A number of fans buy tickets at the game. (They buy tickets.) 
A number of dogs in our neighborhood actually like the mailman. (They like the mailmam.)

On the other hand, when using the number of, use a singular verbThe number of equates to the word it.

The number of snowstorms this year was more than expected. (It was more than expected.)

The number of dogs in our neighborhood has grown over the past several years. (It has grown.)

I.              Watch the movie segment and choose the best answer:


1. The number of cars on the streets WAS / WERE small.

2. A number of money bags WAS / WERE  inside the armored van.

3. A / THE number of nuts the vendor put in her the little girl's mouth was enough to keep her quiet.

4. A / THE  number of pictures were drawn to review the plan.

5. The number of nuts in the nut cart IS / ARE enough to feed everyone.

6. A / THE  number of squirrels have planned to assault the nut cart.

Answer Key:

1. was
2. were
3. the
4. a
5. is
6. a

Jan 15, 2015

The Secret Life of Water Mitty: Wish

This is such a strong character that his name became a dictionary entry. The definition is below and the plot revolves around the character's personality. The movie, though, did not meet my expectations.

Walter Mitty
noun, plural Walter Mittys.

an ordinary, timid person who is given to adventurous and 
self-aggrandizing daydreams or secret plans as away of 
glamorizing a humdrum life. 
In his heroic daydreams, Mitty does not triumph, several fantasies being interrupted before they actually happen.

I. Watch the movie segment about Walter Mitty.  Mitty wishes he could have done a few things in order to win Cheryl's attention over. Write at least three different things.


II. Now rewrite the sentences below and the ones you came up with, expressing wishes.

1. He did not manage to leave a wink to Cheryl. 

2. HE did not jump through Cheryl's apartment window.

3. He did not save her three-legged dog, Chips.

III. Discuss:

Have you ever felt like Walter Mitty? Have you ever thought that you could have done something to prevent a situation from happening, but you failed to do it? Talk about it.

Answer key:

1. He wishes he could have left a wink to Cheryl.

2. He wishes he had jumped through Cheryl's apartment window.

3. He wishes he had saved her three-legged dog, Chips.

Jan 5, 2015

Jack and the Giant Slayer: Modal Verb for Drawing Conclusions - Must

This is a great movie, but the legend became scarier that I had thought it would be. I would avoid showing it to young teens.

I. Discuss  these questions:

1. Are tales important or lies that make children believe the impossible can happen?

2. Why are tales so popular until today?

3. Do you know other tales? Talk about the ones you know.

4. What is your favorite one? Why?

5. Do you think fairy tales can be harmful? Why (not)? 

6. Is Jack and the Beanstalk a popular tale in your country? What do you know about it?


II. Watch the movie segment. What is the most plausible answer for the questions below? Then write sentences drawing conclusions, using MUST.


1. What do you think about Jack and his dad's relationship?

a. It is a bad relationship;
b. They are very distant from each other.
c. They love each other.

They must love each other.

2. What time of the day does the scene take place?

a) bedtime, late at night
b) early evening
c) right before sunrise

__________________________________________ .

3. Jack

a) believes giants exist
b) thinks giants are stupid
c) believes giants are pure imagination

_________________________________________ .

4. The legend of the giants

a) are funny
b) are real
c) are scary

_________________________________________ .

5. Jack's father believes

a) Jack has noble blood in his veins.
b) Jack has ordinary blood in his veins.
c) Jack is prepared to fight against the giants.

_________________________________________ .

6. According to the first scene of the movie:

a) the movie is a comedy
b) the movie is romantic
c) the movie has spectacular visual effects

__________________________________ .

7. How do you think life was like in the times giants ruled the world.

a) it was terrifying
b) people lived peacefully
c) people lived in harmony.

__________________________________ .

 8. Before the king expelled the giants.

a) he waited for the giants to leave his kingdom
b) the population suffered a lot
c) the giants tried to be friends with humans

________________________________________ .

Answer key - POSSIBLE answers

2. It must be late at night.
3. Jack must believe giants exist.
4. The legend of the giants must be scary.
5. Jack's dad believes his son must have ordinary blood in his veins
6. The movie must have spectacular visual effects
7. It must have been terrifying
8. The population must have suffered a lot.

Dec 15, 2014

Cellular: Emphatic DO

This is a thrilling scene. It is amazing how fast technology has developed in such a short period of time. I used it to practice Emphatic Do in a contextualized manner.

Emphatic DO can:

  • Add emphasis to a whole sentence - You do have a point.
  • Add sentences to an imperative. This use of emphatic softens a command and shows polite encouragement - Do come to the party!
  • Contradict a negative statement - You're wrong. I did lock the door.
  • Indicate strong concession - I do not enjoy horror movies, but I did enjoy "The Conjuring".

I. Correct the information presented in the movie segment. Use emphatic do to express your ideas. Answers may vary.


1 - Ethan did not worry about Jessica's son.

You're wrong. He ________________________.

2. He tried to save Jessica's son, but for just a short time.


3. The computer store does not sell cell phone chargers.


4. He told everyone he desperately needed a charger. How could he emphasize his cry for help!

5. The store staff doesn't follow strict policies.

6. Ethan did not find a charger.

II. Talk to a partner.
1. What would you do if you were in Ethan's shoes?
2. What about if you were one of the store clerks?
3. How different would this scene be if they had the cellular technology we do nowadays?
Answer Key:
1. He did worry about her son.
2. He did try hard to save her son.
3. The store does sell chargers.
4. Do help me, please. 
5. The staff does follow strict procedures
6. No, Ethan did find a charger.



Dec 5, 2014

Zookeeper: Reported Speech

Watch the segment. Then write the letter that corresponds to the character who said the following lines in the segment.


Giraffe: G
Lion: L
Lioness: FL
Coyote: C
Bear: B

1 ( G ) We are having a meeting.

2 (    ) I'm excited about this.

3 (    ) I have a very busy schedule.

4 (    ) You sleep 20 hours a day.

5 (    ) This is not good.

6 (    ) Oh, I like muffins.

7 (    ) Griffin saved my life.

8 (    ) You don't break the code.

9 (    ) How do we know that?

10 (    ) We're helping a human.

EX: The giraffe said they were having a meeting.

2 ________________
3 ________________
4 ________________
5 ________________
6 ________________
7 ________________
8 ________________
9 ________________
10 _______________

Answer key:

1. We are having a meeting. (G)

2. I'm excited about this (G) The giraffe said she was excited about that.

3. I have a very busy schedule (L) The lion said he had a very busy schedule.

4. You sleep 20 hours a day. (FL) The lioness said that he slept 20 hours a day.

5. This is not good (C) The coyote said that that was not good.

6. Oh, I like muffins (G) The giraffe said she liked muffins.

7. Griffin saved my life (FL) The lioness said Griffin had saved her life.

8. Don't break the code. (B) The bear told another coyote not to break the code.

9. How do we know that? (L) The lion asked how they knew that?

10. We're helping a human (L) The lion said they were helping a human.



Nov 25, 2014

Flight Plan: Present and Past Modals for Speculation

I. Watch the movie segment. Then write down three different explanations for what happened in the segment on a piece of paper. Use your imagination.


Ex: The girl is sleeping somewhere on the plane.

1 ___________________________________
2 ___________________________________
3 ___________________________________

II. Teacher collects the sheets and redistributes them among the students. 

III. Students analyze their peers' explanations and write sentences with modal verbs for speculation. Remember that you should vary the modal verb according to what you believe really happened to the boy.

Observe if the sentences refer to the present or to the past. You will have to choose the correct verb form.



The girl might be sleeping somewhere on the plane. (It is possible, but you don't think that is what really happened)

The girl must be sleeping somewhere on the plane. (It is very possible. You probably agree with the idea)

The girl can't be sleeping anywhere on the plane (It is not a plausible explanation. You don't believe it happened at all)

IV. Read the sentences out loud. Explain why you chose those modal verbs. Agree and disagree with your friends' ideas.

V. What is the most plausible explanation decided by the class?

Nov 15, 2014

Dark Tides: Because x Because of

I. Watch the movie segment and match the causes and their effects. Then match the effect and its sentences, using BECAUSE or BECAUSE OF.




1. They were shooting a documentary

2. She has a dangerous job.

3. She dives  among sharks.

4. She has a security man.

5. They threw a bait at the ocean.

6. Free divers have to leave the protection cage.

7. They must be very careful swimming among sharks


( ) their unpredictable behavior.

( ) the obligations of her dangerous occupation.

( ) free divers swim among sharks.

( ) that is the only way to understand  sharks behavior in the wild.

( ) free divers swim among sharks.

( ) she has to come up to breathe.

( ) it attracts sharks fast.

1 ______________________

2 ______________________

3 ______________________

4 ______________________

5 ______________________

6 ______________________

7 ______________________


Work in small groups. Answer the following questions about sharks. The team that scores most 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

II. 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?


Answer Key - 

Possible Answers. Other matches are possible, so check meaning for alternatives.

1. They were shooting a documentary because they wanted to learn more about sharks.

2. She has a dangerous job because free divers swim among sharks.

3. She dives  among sharks because of the obligations of her dangerous occupation.

4. She has a security man because she has to come up to breathe.

5. They threw a bait at the ocean because it attracts sharks fast.

6. Free divers have to leave the protection cage because they want to understand  sharks behavior in the wild.

7. They must be very careful swimming among sharks because of their unpredictable behavior.

II. The Shark Game

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



Nov 5, 2014

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2: Describing People's Physical Characteristics

The first movie was so good that it makes this sequel almost unnecessary. Anyways, it has its good moments. The idea of foodimals is just great and perfect for classes in which the students have to work on people physical characteristics.

A. Write down the characteristics we use to describe people under the correct verb column. To Have or To Be.













B. Watch the movie segment and then describe the  ‘foodimals’ (aka food animals) and characters below, using the words in exercise A. Make sure you say, for example, how many eyes, legs, arms they have and their colors too.


Ex: It is a spider-hamburger. It has eight legs, etc

1. Fla-Mango

2.  Barbs, the simio

3. Double Bacon CheesSpider

4. Flint Lockwood

5. Earl



 Sam Sparks


Taco-dile Supreme



C. Draw ‘foodimal’ (aka food animal) or monster. Be creative. Don't show it to anyone. Give it a name too.

Ex: Mosquitoast


It is thin. It has six legs  and two toast (toasted) wings. It has two big black eyes and two short antennas.

D. Describe your drawing to a partner, but do not show it to him/her. Your partner draws what he/she listens.

E. When you both finish, show each other the original drawing and the foodimals your friend drew, based on your dictation. Check how similar they are.

Answer key:

Ex: A.

To Have:

He has ...
(Hair, Eyes, Arms, Legs)

To Be:

He is ...

(Fat, Thin, Short, Tall, Chubby, Slim, Heavy, Medium-Built)



Oct 25, 2014

The Hunger Games - Catching Fire: Unrestrictive Relative Clauses

I really like the Hunter Games franchise. The stories are original and I am usually involved with the characters' dilemmas.
1 - Cashmere and Gloss

2 - Enobaria and Brutus

3 - Wiress and Beetee:

4 - Finnick Odair:

5 - Johanna  Mason - The Morphling:

6 - Mags:

I. Match the pictures (characters) with the descriptions made about them in the segment.

( ) They're not fighters, but brilliant. They're weird and real tech-savvy. They won their Game by electrocuting six Tributes at once.

( ) They are siblings. They won back-to-back Games. They have lots of sponsors. They will be lethal.

( ) She had her teeth filed into fangs so she could rip people's throat out. She's committed. She works with Brutus.

( ) He won his Games at 14. He was the youngest ever. He is a peacock. He is the Capitol darling.
He's charming, smart and very skilled at combat, especially in water.

( ) She is a master of camouflage. She won her Games by hiding until everyone else was dead.

( ) She volunteered for Annie. She was his mentor and and basically raised him. She is a wonderful lady

II. Now combine the sentences and the characters, creating relative clauses. You may select the information you consider most important to come up with the sentences.

III. Discuss:

1.  Which of the characters do you consider the hardest one to defeat. Explain it.

2. Who will be easily defeated?

3. Which of the characters' qualities would you like to have? Why? How would they make your life different?

Answer key:
3, 1, 2, 4, 5, 6
II. Answers will vary.



Oct 15, 2014

Frozen: Future WILL x Simple Past

Frozen is an amazing animated movie. It is visually breath-taking and the story and music are fascinating. You have to see it.
Coronation Day

Coronation Day is the anniversary of the coronation of a monarch, the day a king or queen is formally crowned.
I. The future Queen's sister has lived a lonely life inside the castle, without contact with the outside world. Her sister's coronation will be the first time in forever that she will be able to do what she had always wanted to do. Fill in the blanks with affirmative or negative forms of the future tense (will or be + going to). Choose the correct verb too.

________________ light, __________________ music. I ________________ dancing through the night. I __________________ alone. __________________ magic, _________________ fun. I _____________ getting what I'm dreaming of because nothing is in my way.

II. Watch the movie segment and check your answers.


III. What were some of the things that she did for the first time in forever? Make a list of at least 5 things.

Ex: She saw the people who lived in the kingdom.

IV. Think about your plans for your next vacation. What are some things that you intend to do for the first time in forever?

V. Now think about your last vacation. What were some of the things that you did for the first time in forever?

Answer key:

There'll be light
There'll be music
I'll be dancing through the night 
I won't be alone
There'll be magic
There will be fun
I'm getting what I'm dreaming of because nothing is in my way



Oct 5, 2014

Rio: Possessive Adjectives & Prepositions of Place

This awesome activity was provided by a reader, Marilu Costa, who kindly shared it with us. Thanks, Marilu. 

My name is Marilu Costa, from Itatiba-SP. I've majored in Languages (English, Portuguese and Spanish) and I've attended a Graduation Program in English Language. I teach English to elementary and high school students, and Spanigh to elementary I students. I've been teaching English and Spanish for about 15 years. I love my job, and I always try to make my classes enjoyable for my students and myself. This blog is really amazing and helpful. I hope you guys like this activity. kisses, Marilu

Watch the movie segment and answer tasks 1, 2 and 3.


1)      Check the correct option to complete the sentences.

a-      The girl wakes up at___.
(   ) seven fifteen
(   ) six o’clock
(   ) seven oh five

b-      The ___ are good for the bird.
(   ) vitamins
(   ) cereals
(   ) hot chocolate with marshmallow

c-      Blu is a kind of bird called___.
(   ) macaw
(   ) parakeet
(   ) parrot

2)      Read the sentences and check True or False.

a- The girl and Blu are best friends.

b- Blue Macaw Books is the name of the bookstore.

c- Blu is drinking coffee.

d- The man wants to bring the male and female birds together to save their species.

e- The man is looking for some books.

f- Macaw is a kind of bird that is extinct.

3)      Answer the questions (use complete answers).

a-      What’s the girl’s name? ___________________________________________
b-      What’s the man’s name? ___________________________________________
c-      What’s the bird’s name? ___________________________________________
d-     What’s the man’s occupation? _______________________________________

Watch the movie segment again and answer task 4.
4)      Who says what? Write Linda, Tulio or Blu next to the sentences.

a-      (_________) “I’m not really built for this weather.”
b-      (_________) “ Are you looking for some books?”
c-      (_________) “I have come 6,000 miles looking for him.”
d-     (_________) “He’s magnificent.”
e-      (_________) “Linda? Little help here.”
f-       (_________) “ You’re actually communicating.”
g-      (_________) “I did not get that at all.”
h-      (_________) “ Your macaw is a very special bird.”
i-        (_________) “Blu is the last male of his kind.”
j-        (_________) “He needs me.”

Now, watch the movie segment for the last time and answer tasks 5 and 6.
5)      Observe the spot and complete the sentences with NEXT TO, BEHIND, AT, ON or IN.

a-      The birds are dancing ___________ the trees.
b-      Linda’s computer is ___________ the desk.
c-      The books are ___________ the desk.
d-     The telephone is ___________ Linda.
e-      The bookstore is ___________ Village Café.
f-       Linda is ___________ work.
g-      Blu is ___________ the desk.
h-      The female macaw is ___________ Brazil.
i-        The men put Blu ___________ a box.

6)      Now complete with the possessive adjectives (MY, YOUR, HIS, HER, ITS, OUR, THEIR).

a-      Blu is the last male of _____ kind.
b-      Linda is talking to _____ mom on the phone.
c-      Tulio wants to take Blu to Brazil to save _____ species.

d-     “I never left Blu out of _____ sight.”