Friday, 29 July 2016

Trailers market -

Trailers in the classroom

Who of us doesn't like waching films? We all probably do. However, the most important is that our students fancy movies more than anything else. Quite recently I have finished a summer camp with my teens and almost every day we had a film planned for the evening, of course the one corresponding the topic we were covering - CRIME, ENVIRONMENT, HOBBIES, ADVENTURES and so on. Unfortunately, we normally do not have 2 hours to watch a film with our students during one class. What's more, we have no time to do some activities before, while or after watching as time is pressing at school.  Luckily, I had a chance to do it as it was a summer camp and we had plenty of time to talk and have fun. However, if you really want to use films in the class, I would strongly suggest using trailers. A perfect website that offers a wide variety of trailers is


  • short (usually about 2-3 minutes)
  • totally engaging
  • often with special effects
  • a concise story
  • a wide choice to suit all the levels, ages, gender etc
  • highly enjoyable
  • listening for gist
  • practice vocabulary
  • touch a wide variety of topics

Let me just show you one of the ways I use them as a warm up activity or sometimes as w whole lesson if you are bored of coursebook work (in the next posts there will be other ways of using trailers presented). Choose a trailer that your studetns will enjoy, for example I have a group of 11 year olds 6 boys and 6 girls and the trailer is: "Mirror, mirror" with Julia Roberts.

Topic: any, depending on the trailer, in this example romance and love & hate relationship
Time: about 20-30 minutes
Level: elementary +
Age group: 11 and above
Activity aim: 
  • to present/revise and practice vocabulary (depending on the trailer)
  • to practice speaking, class discussion
  • story writing
  • Writing alternative ending
Film address:

Stage One:

Before I use any trailer with my students I watch it twice or three times and check if there are any words that could be used in an activity. From the above film I selected the following words:


You have to be sure that the words appear more than once in the film.

Stage two:
Write the words on the board and divide your studetns into two groups and enourange to create a story. Then one person from a group reads out a story and you choose the winners. I usually give them some sweets or other gadgets that I have in my secret drawer such as a rubber band or a ruler with irregular verbs.

Stage three:
Ask you studetns to rememebr the words you gave them (time: 30 sec) and then wipe out the board and check if they remember the given words.

Stage four:
Play a trailer and tell your students to (here are two options and both are fun) either stand up every time they hear a word from the board or clap their hands. With younger students I used the option of standing up while with the older ones of clapping. They enjoyed it very much.

Stage five:
Then you play the second time to see whose version of the story  was closer to the original one.
Extra homework: write an alternative ending using your imagination. It's a great activity to rechange the most obvious bed time stories as we are used to one version only and students prove that it's not the only one. Fun guaranteed!!!

But if we are in the topic of movies I cannot resist the temptation to suggest you one more activitiy that I use with my students and it's connected with your visit to the cinema. While waiting in a line for the ticket I always collect the cards with the films that are coming out soon. Even my students bring me fresh cards whenever they are in the cinema and I always try to use them efficiently. So one of the things I do is to give out the cards and tell that they have 3-4 minutes to read (sometimes there is a long text, sometimes just a few words and they are of course in their mother tongue but it doesn't matter) and then they have to imagine it's  Friday evening (perfect if you have a topic of entertainment) and our group wants to go to the cinema but we have to decide on the film we want to watch and convince each other giving reasonable arguments. Now imagine a person who gets a card with Finding Dory or Bella and Sebastian 2 and the others American Sniper or X-man: Apocalypse. There is a lot of fun and usually, which is not a sursprise, the most childish or stupid films win as it's the easiest to find arguments for and it suits all the tastes. It's perfect for levels pre-intermediate and above and the more advanced the more you are going to enjoy it. Just try!

Do you have your own way to use cards with film description?  Just share with us.

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