EVAN - a stunning video with a powerful message


Over 7 mln people have watched it over the last 2 months. Most people have said that they were shocked or moved by the sursprising ending of the film. What is it about and how can we use it with our students?

The story

As the school year winds down, one student finds himself starting an unexpected relationship. He is completely bored so he starts scribbling sth on the desk in a library. Later, he notices that somebody writes back to him. He searches the faces of people passing him in the halls, hopeful he'll figure out who his lost connection is. And the whole time he's looking, he's missing some very important clues hidden right in front of his eyes. It looks like a love story at the beginning but it isn't. Now, if you haven't seen the video, stop reading now and watch it as you have to experience the same feeling as your students will. It can leave you speechless........

Now you know the ending. It was powerful, wasn't it? It had a message. And how did you feel? Didn't you want to watch it again to see how you could have missed so many facts? I did. So I watched it again and again and then I just had to play it to my students and discuss it with them. It's the problem that doesn't exist in such a scale in my country but that does not mean it should be avoided. Life is not a film and people - children! - do die every day. Our role as teachers is to make them aware and make them more sensitive to some issues.

So here is a lesson plan based on the film. Hope you will enjoy it.

Topic: relationship, gun permission, violence at school, campaigns and their messages, school love

Level: pre-intermediate +

Age: 13+

Activity aim:
  • to make students aware of the "invisible" problems at school 
  • class discussion about the right to carry gun +/-
  • to revise vocabulary connected with social problems: bullying, cyberbullying, depression, acceptance at school, peer pressure and many others depending on the age and type of the class and students
  • practice the language of speculation: What would you do if....?/Perhaps.../It may be....

Vocabulary to pre-teach: violate the law, bullying, social problems, gun permission, campaign, racism,  etc.

Time: 45-60 min

Film address: https://youtu.be/A8syQeFtBKc

Warm up - 5 min

Ask your students: Do you remember your first school love? How did you meet? Did the person know that you were in love or maybe you loved her/him secretly? Class discussion.

Tell them that they are going to watch a short story from one of American schools. Their task is to predict how the story is going to finish.

Stage one- 10 min

Play the film until 1 min 11 sec and then stop. Ask your students: What would you do? Would you try to find out who it was? How? Would you wait to the end of the summer holiday or try to figure it out in a different way? What way/s? Some students will say that they would break into a library or steal a key from a librarian or look for a different way of solving the problem. Class discussion. 

I don't want to spoil the ending so I still keep focusing on the main story. Most of them think that that's the message of the film - just another typical love story. 

Stage two - 2-3 min

Now, give them another set of questions connected with who it may be. Students work in pairs and discuss it. Useful language:  Perhaps it is.../I guess it's a .......because...../ It may be.....

Stage three - 15 min

Students watch the film to the end. Stop before the letters appear. Their reactions are different. They are stunned, surprised, they just can't believe it. Discuss their feelings and predictions. Ask your students: What was the message of the film?  Did they notice the boy with the gun earlier while watching the film? Could it have happened in their school? 

Tell them that it was a campaign. Now discuss what kind of campaign it might have been and then play the film to the end. Discuss if such campaigns are effective and make any sense or no. 

Stage four - 10 min

Class discussion. Divide your students into two groups: people for and against gun permission, (recommended with older students).

Give them 2-3 min to prepare arguments. Now the discussion starts. Observe the students and listen to them carefully. Write down any expressions that the students find difficult to use in their argumentation. List down the pros and cons and discuss with the whole class. 

Stage five - 10 min

Write on the board the words: SCHOOL PROBLEMS. Students write down any problems they face with at school: racial problems, peer pressure, drug abuse, gangs, bullying etc. Now, discuss with your students how these problems could be avoided.

If you have a really creative group you can ask them to make a short film with a different type of campaign referring to one of the problems discussed.

Hope you liked it. Share - comment - enjoy:)


  1. It's a really powerful video. Thank you for introducing it to me (and the other participants of the workshop at TESOL Macedonia-Thrace). I'm definitely going to use it with my students. I'll let you know how it goes.


  2. Unforunately, I missed your workshop at Tesol MTH, but I just watched the video thanks to Leo's report! Very powerful indeed!Thank you!


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