Saturday, 10 November 2018

Greenpeace TV commercial that was too controversial to be played - a sad story of an orangutan

'Iceland's Christmas TV advert banned for being too political' - The Guardian


Well, if you saw that catchy headline somewhere on facebook or on any local websites, you probably automatically clicked on it to see what it is about. But what is wrong with the ad you may think? The answer is simple! It's 'too political' for some people. Let's explore the topic then and ask ourselves the questions: Since when has protecting endangered species become out of fashion? Since when have we become so indifferent to the global issues?

That is why, I decide to act quickly and prepare a short lesson plan you may find useful in the classroom. Hope you are going to enjoy it:) Personally, it's the best commercial I've seen in a long time.

The plot - a short film featuring an orangutan and the destruction of its rainforest habitat at the hands of palm oil growers.

In the first scene of the cartoon we can see a small girl playing with an orangutan. He keeps on playing tricks and is quite naughty. The girl doesn't like his behaviour and seems to be upset. Before getting rid of him, however, still being puzzled, wants to find out the real purpose of the ornagutan's visit. The story continues and shows how palm oil production impacts massive destruction of the rainforests where orangtutans live. That is why, I'm convinced it's a vital issue that should be discussed in every classroom.

TECHNIQUE:  storytelling

AGE: 12+

LEVEL: pre-intermediate +

AIM: to practice telling stories and making students aware of the environmental issues



STAGE ONE - before watching

Start telling a story from the cartoon and stop every moment you want your students to continue and contribute. Make them feel as if they were creating the story. For example: One day a small girl woke up......(Where do you think the girls woke up? - Ss try to guess) then you finish -  in her bedroom. Suddenly, she saw a strange looking animal ...(What animal do you think she saw? - Ss answers). It was an orangutan. She didn't like him because he was quite naughty. In one moment he was on a .....(Where do you think he was?) shelf playing with her......(What was the orangutan playing with?) etc. You keep telling the story until the moment the girl decides to get rid of the monkey. Pause. Then say: After a while, however, the girl started thinking: What is the orangutan really doing in her house? Why did he come? - Ask your students - What do you think? Keep them in suspense. After a few answers you can ask if they want to find out.

VARIATION - After introducing the begining of the story play the film. Students listen to the story writing down the activties the orangutan does until 0:26sec. Students only listen but they don't see the film. Then stop and ask students why they think the orangutan came to her bedroom. What could be the reason? (Predicting). 


Play the film until 0:57 min and pause. Ask the students if they are surprised or shocked by what they saw. Ask them if they knew about the situation of orangutans. Show them the map of Borneo and the disappearing rainforests there.

Class discussion: Why are the rainforests disappearing? What is happening there? What is palm oil? Where is it used? What is it used for? Do you know any products with palm oil? Do you use any of them? Show your students the poster with the products containing palm oil (there are a lot of them in the internet if you want to use a different one)


Play the film to the end. Ask your students if it is important to share the story or not.

Class discussion: How can we change the current situation? What can we do individually to change it? Is it possible to turn the clock back and make a better or newer habitat for such endangered species? We can discuss the example of pandas. They have been endagered species for a long time, however, thanks to raising awareness among people pandas are no longer in danger of extinction. Show your students the photo of other primates which are dying out.

  • with older groups you can discuss the reasons why the advert was banned and if it should go viral or not.

Want to know more about the issue:

If you liked the lesson share it:) Let's make it viral!

Friday, 15 December 2017

Let it flow! How to develop students' imagination? Silent movies.



Today is the last day of our Christmas film marathon. In just a few days I showed you 5 films that could be used as a warm up, filler or closer during the lesson. Some of them carried deeper emotions and could be developed into a whole lesson plan. No matter which option you have chosen, it was supposed to encourage you to use different films together with various video watching techniques. They, of course, can be developed, modified and changed depending on the age and level of the group. But what about today? What film will be presented as the last one? Sit comfortably and wait.

Who said that we have to watch films with dubbing? Who said that we have to watch films with any words? Silent films were popular at the beginning of the XX century and they made people laugh. While watching so many short films over this week, I discovered that I didn't show you one technique that could be really creative for students and could help to develop their imagination.



AGE: - any

LEVEL: elementary +

AIM: to develop students creativity and imagination
          to improve writing skills




Divide your students into groups of 3-4. Tell them that they are going to watch a silent film carefully. They have to remember what it is about and imagine what the characters are talking about. 


Ask students to retell the story in the groups. They have to try to put all the facts together. Group discussion.


The aim of the activity is to write the script to the film. The groups have to decide what they want to write about, who is going to be The Snowman, who The Reindeer and who The Narrator. Revise Past Tenses that they can use while writing briefly. It helps when they imagine that they are telling it to a blind person so every detail is crucial - the weather, the feelings, the background etc. Of course, you can use any other silent cartoon:)


Each group gets the link to the film and can have one mobile phone to watch the cartoon again and again in order to complete the task. Give them about 20 min. Then you play the film and they read the script. Althout it seems to be time consuming, it's a great fun.

This activity can be used at various levels and it is the biggest advantage of it. What's more, the film doesn't have to be English:) Students at higher levels will use more sophisticated vocabulary than those at lower levels. But both can show their creativity. Hope you enjoyed the tips and ideas.

Merry Christmas to everyone!!!

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Audi Holiday Campaign - one film, two techniques



Finally, something for car lovers and groups consisting of boys mostly. I happen to have a few of them so I found it tempting to use this video during my Christmas lesson.

This time we are not going to talk about 'ohs and ahs' of X-mas time. Quite on the contrary, we are going to talk about the things we dislike.

  • sound vocabulary: bell ringing, engine rev, car brakes screeching, choir singing, car sensor beeping (door open), car keys beeping, shopping cart/trolley rattle, reverse parking sensor beeping etc.


LEVEL: pre-intermediate

  • to talk about things that annoy us with the use of the following expressions:
-It really annoys me when........
-It's so annoying when.........
-It drives me mad when.....
-What I hate about Christmas is/are................
  • to introduce sound vocabulary (sound only technique)
  • to practice predicting - What is going to happen next? (freeze technique), to be going to



The following film is perfect to present this technique. It contains plenty of sounds. You can use it with any other film that if full of various sounds.


Tell your students that they are going to hear the sounds from the film. While listening they have to remember the sounds, their order and guess what the story is about.


Students work in pairs and write down the sounds they have heard and discuss what the story was about.
When  they finish, write down some of the expressions on the board and introduce the ones they didn't know. See sound vocabulary above.


Discuss with the students what they think the story was about and if they agree with the other students. Then tell them that it was a commercial but they have to guess what kind of commercial it was. It's quite obvious but in some groups there are real car lovers so I would ask what make of car it was:) Remember - fun is necessary. If listening is a pleasure then deeper learning takes place.


Ask the students if they would like to see the commercial. I think that the answer will be obvious. In one of my groups, the students put a bet on the make that would appear in the film:) Tell them also that while watching they have to find out what kind of problem connected with Christmas is presented.


Class discussion. Introduce the expressions connected with dislikes (see above) and ask your students to tell what they dislike about Christmas. 


You can use a completely different technique with your students which is called FREEZE or connect both of them. If they film is involving and there is some action, you can keep your students in suspense and freeze the scene from time to time asking - What is going to happen now? The pace of this film is quite fast so it would be perfect to apply. In case of this commercial, I would definitely freeze after 1:33min. Ask about the ending:)

Remember that all those techniques can be used with various films. Hope you will enjoy it. If yes, you can share your experience in the comments. Tommorow the last film in a five-day Christmas film marathon.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Now It Feels Like Christmas: David Jones 2017 - one film, two techniques

Now it feels like Christmas...

Our Christmas film marathon IS STILL ON...

AGE: 12 +

LEVEL: elementary +


What makes Christmas so special? Why do we like it? What makes it special for you? Is it somebody, your favourite relative or something like a Christmas dish that you can't wait to eat?

Those and many other similar questions can be asked at the very beginning of the lesson. Students talk about their personal feelings and their likes and dislikes. 

Then you can move on to the topic of presents: Have they bought them yet? Who was the most difficult one to buy presents? Why? Do you buy presents on your own or together with other family memebers? What would you like to get and why? You will come back to the topic of presents at the end of the lesson.



AIM: to practise story telling


The film I want to show you today tells a story of a Gingerbread Man. He really wanted to see the world so one day he packed his suitcase, looked around his small room and set off. While travelling, he visited and admired a lot of interesting tourists sights suchs as London, Paris, The Alps and he even reached New York. He sometimes felt lonely but never forgot about his family. That is why, he always bought some souvernirs for them. Suddenly, while he was visiting one of his last destinations he was attacked by a terrible monster - a dog. His life was almost coming to an end, when some man found him and helped him to recover. Later, he sent him back to his family.

BUT NOW.... what could you do with this story? Modify it, change it, make it funny, make it scary - just exaggerate!!!! 

They don't really know who the story is about. Imagine that it's a story of a single man who never left his small poor village and has always been dreaming of seeing the world. Describe how he looked like and what he packed, tell all the details but stop every now and then to let students finish. They somehow create the story with you. In every group the story can look completely different. You say and then they say - mouth to mouth.

For example:

One day a single man callled.......(students' answer) who had enough of living in his........ (students' answers) decided to .........(students' answers)....

But remember that it's you who puts them on the right track and stimulates their imagination. At the end, ask your students if they would like to see a film about this poor boy who travelled around the world. Can you imagine their faces? It's a Gingerbread Man! I really like having fun on my lesson, as well:)


AIM: to practise telling stories
           to practise Present Continuous (What is happening now?)
           to build cooperation/team work


One of my favourite video watching technique is jigsaw viewing. For those unfamiliar with this term, I will explain it in a moment. I just want to add that it involves a lot of fun and engagement from the students' side. There are also some modifications of this technique that I want to present below.

Take any video with some action in it (today it is the story of a Gingerbread Man). Divide your students into two groups A and B. Group A sits facing the screen of a TV or a projection. The second group sits with their back to the screen. Play the first part of the film. While students are watching they have to tell their partners what is happening in the film. Then they change the seats and do the same. Then you can ask them a few questions just to be sure they remembered the film. The pair who remembered more facts wins!

Some kind of  modification can also be a fun. Again divide your class into two teams. One team leaves the classroom and waits. The secons team stays in and watches a film. They they change. The aim is to know the whole story. So get the students in pairs and ask them to tell each other what they know about the story. You can prepare a few questions to ckeck. No matter which option you will choose they will have fun for sure.

After those activities you can come back to the questions asked at the beginning. Were the presents the most important in the film? What was more important? Why? And what if you didn't get anything this Christmas? How would you feel?

Hope you enjoyed the lesson plan and your students will love the lesson with video.

Rememeber that those techniques can be applied to any films, even when Christmas is over:)

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

H&M - A magical holiday - one film, two techniques


Fairy tales? Who of us doesn't like them? We all used to have our favourite ones. So here is another Christmas film with two great techniques to use. 


AGE: 12+



VOCABULARY: plung into, paraller universe, evil, nasty, stright away, formidable, wisdom, fihure out, give scolding, damned, summoned


AIM: to practise Past Simple/Past Continuous (stories)
          to develop students' creativity
          to teach team working 

I absolutely adore using SCREENSHOTS in the classroom. So here is the time to show how to do it effectively. Watch the film and choose scenes to make screenshots. Max 6. Divide the class, depending on the size, into two/three groups. Place the screenshots in front of each of the group and ask the students to use them in the story they will create. Students decide in which order they are going to use them. Then each group tells their story. The most creative and original story wins.



AIM: to practise retelling the stories (memory task)
           to watch for general information/detail
When we think about a film, we usually think about a vision. We less often use sound only. But in case of this film, I would like to encourage you to use SOUND BEFORE VISION technique. Divide your class into two/three groups. Give each of the groups 6 screenshots. Tell them that they are going to listen to a story and their task is to put the pictures in the correct order. After the listening activity, play the film again and tell them that now they are going to watch the film with vision now and have to check if they were correct. Later ask random students to retell the story.

Both techniques can be easily applied to any films that you want to play during Christmas season. And tomorrow another film and two techniques to use.

Hope you enjoyed the activity. Comment and share

Monday, 11 December 2017

BBC One Christmas 2017 - one film, two techniques


Christmas cartoon marathon!

Are you ready for Christmas? Did you buy all the presents? Did you decorate the house? Our heads are full of the things to do before the big day comes......

Also, in the class Christmas it is a hot period and we sometimes need fresh ideas. That is why, today I'm starting a big countdown to Christmas and I would like to remind you of a few video watching techniques, as well. For the next few days I would like to present you a few fresh cartoon and the ways in which you can use them. Are you ready?

Let me start with a cartoon created by BBC. This two-minute video can be a great warm-up activity.



AGE: 7-12 




AIM: to watch for details
           to practise memory

I love to call this activity MEMORY MASTER. Just watch the cartoon and prepare about 10 general questions referring to the film. For example:

1. What colour is the girl's jacket? (yellow)
2. What is the name of the competition? (Christmas Talent Show)
3. What colour are the girl's headphones? (green)
4. What is the father ironing? (a checked shirt)
5. Is it snowing when they are outside? (No, it isn't.)
6. What is mum doing? (nothing, there is no mum in the video) etc.

Of course, the questions can be in Past tenses, depending on the group level.
To make it a bit more fun, I always use a great phone application BUZZER. It's a button to press. Just devide a class into two groups and select one representative from each of them. Give them buzzers and the one who knows the answer first, presses. Fun is guaranteed!


          to watch for details

The second option is connected with GRAMMAR PRACTICE. When I saw the film for the first time, I had a great idea. I was just finishing grammar with my students: Past Simple and Past Continuous and thought that it can be a great practice. Write on the board a sentence:

What was the father doing while the girl was dancing?

The students open thier notebooks and write down as many activties as they see while watching. Then students produce correct sentences:

e.g. While the girls was dancing, her father was talking on the phone. etc

With less advanced students you can practise Present Continuous Tense:

Just write down a list of activities that apppear in the film. For example:

  • Do the wahing up
  • Buy a Christmas tree
  • Do the ironing
  • Repair the car
  • Do the shopping
  • Decorate the Christmas tree
  • Take a photo
  • Talk on the phone
Studnents watch and write numbers next to the activity they see and then produce sentences:

e.g. The father is doing the washing up. etc

Hope your students will enjoy the activities. Tomorrow the next film!

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Never have I ever - a fun game inspired by Ellen

Never have I ever - a fun game inspired by Ellen

There are a lot of fans of Ellen show all over the world and I'm the one, as well. While watching various episodes of her show I noticed a regular game that she uses with her guests. The game is called Never have I ever....Each participant is asked a series of questions and all they do is to choose the correct answer - either I HAVE NEVER or I HAVE and explain it to the public. Below there is one randomly chosen video to show you what it is all about. Most of them are not suitable for the classroom use but it is just to show you the idea of the game.

Film address:

AIM : to practice Present Perfect in questions and answers versus Past Simple, Inversion

Take two (or more) table tennis rackets and just stick a sheet of paper with words I HAVE NEVER on one side and I HAVE  on the other side. Prepare your students a series of funny questions such as :

1. Never have I ever stolen sth from the shop.
2. Never have I ever cheated in the test.
3. Never have I ever kissed sb in the public. etc.

Or ask each student to write 5 crazy sentences starting with Never have I ever....
Give your own example on the board eg. Never have I ever worn sister's/brother's clothes.
Then choose two students and give them the tennis rockets. Students have to react to the sentences and if the answer is I have they are asked additional questions but using Past Simple this time:
When did it happen? How old were you? etc

A perfect activity for a short warm up or filler. Fun is guaranteed especially if you have a creative group and the questions are funny.


Friday, 12 May 2017

Remember me? - a desperate video from a loving mum


Time to come back after a short break...but all those conferences and webinars and especially preparations for them can be killing (read: time consuming:)

May is the month when mothers all the round the world have their special day - MOTHER'S DAY. I did some reserach and found out that in fact Mother's Day is celebrated on various days and in different months depending on the country. So for example, in Poland it is on 26th of May, whereas in the USA,  it is always the second Sunday of May. That is why, I've  planned a few great and inspiring lesson plans especially for this month.

Today, I want you to watch a video of a mother whose son went to university. Sounds like a normal thing, right? But not in this case. Days passed and he completely "forgot" to call his parents or give any signs of life. So the mother after some time decided to record in "despair" a funny but serious at the same time video to recall him a few facts from his life.



A mom gives her son a serious guilt trip for going off to college and not calling! In this tongue and cheek video she tried to jog his memory on all that was done for him in the last 18 years!

WARM UP - (before watching)

Ask your students to list all the things their mums do for them every day - give a short time limit just 2-3 min. This part should be quick! Then students exchange the information in pairs. Write down top 10 things on the board. Class discussion.


Ask your students: 
1. What is your earliest memory connected with your mum? How old were you then? 
2. Do you sometimes argue with your mum? What about?
3. How would you finish those two sentences:

I LOVE MY MUM FOR.........
I HATE WHEN SHE...............

Usually, during such discussions, it turns out that all mothers are the same. We love them for their care, love and support, and hate for shouting to clean the room again and again (I'm the mother myself, I now what I'm saying)


Ask your students to watch a video of a mother who misses her son a lot. Divide your students into two groups. 

Group one:
While listening write down as many things as the mother did for her son.

Groups two:
Write down as many memories connected with her son as she recalls.


Students compare thier answers and a class discussion begins. Ask your students: Why do you think the mother decided to record herself? What do you think the reaction of the son will be? Why? How often do you talk to your mother? What about? Problems? Life in general? Love? 


If you could record a video for your mother, what would you like to thank her for? Why?

The video is really great fun for the students but as a mother I wouldn't like to be in her shoes:)

Enjoy the video!!!

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Image challenge - IS 'street art' ART?

Image Challenge - week twelve

Can we call it Art?

So here is another exciting week with images. As for the past weeks we talked about Art, today I would like to stay wih the topic but maybe leave museums and art galleries and go the street. Can we find art in the street? Sure we can!!!

Recently, I've had a text about graffiti in the coursebook with my 12 year-olds. It really inspired me to prepare a lesson that would be completely devoted to street art. I wanted to check the way they perceive it and expand the topic a bit. Since street art is not only graffiti but also murals, symbols, tags etc. I wanted them to understand that painings on the wall can have a message - even very powerful one, as in case of Banksy, for example. The street doesn't only limit to the walls but also pavements/sidewalks and this is where 3D street art developed with top names such as Julian Beever.


'Graffiti is a poem the city writes to itself' (seen somewhere on the wall)

Vocabulary to pre-teach

tag - a signiture of an artist representeed by letters or an image
mural - a large picture painted directly on a wall or ceiling
epigram - a brief, interesting, memorable, and sometimes surprising or satirical statement.
(there is also a special graffiti language but we don't want our students to become graffiti painters, instead we want to make them aware of a few facts and encourage to produce some language)

Level - interemediate+

Age - 14+

WARM UP -5 min

Ask your students some questions regarding graffiti:

some typical tags on the wall
1. Do you think street art is ART or VANDALISM? Why?
2. What kind of graffiti is commonly found in your town or city? Are they images or words?
3. Are they tags, murals, symbols, logos, icons or messages?
4. Where can you see graffiti?
5. Why do people paint graffiti?
6. What type of music is often associated with graffiti? (hip-hop, punk)

Suggested answers: Why? For political reasons, out of boredom, to express their anger, to mark the territory etc. Where? On the trains, train or underground stations, walls, tunnels etc.


Show your students two different types of graffiti. One with typical tags and signs and the second one with some painting. Students compare the photos telling which one they would call ART. Ask your students: Which of them would you like to see in your hometown? Why? Why not?

STAGE TWO - group discussion

Ask your students: Do you know any famous graffiti painters? Which ones? Why are they famous? Some students may be familiar with Banksy and his works, others not. Explain who Bunksy is and what kind of art he does.

Banksy is an anonymous England-based graffiti artist, political activist and film director of unverified identity. His satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine dark homour with grafftiti. Banksy's works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world. (source -Wikipedia)

Divide your students into 3-4 groups depending on the number of students you have in the class. Each group gets one of the Banksy's works. They are given a few minutes to discuss what it represents, where it is located and what is the message . Group discussion. A few examples below. There are plenty available on the internet.

Show me the Monet reworking of Claude Monet's Water Lillies, showing the connection between nature and mankind

                                                                                Hope for the future on the Israel - Gaza barier wall

No trespassing painted in San Francisco - comments on indigenous rights of native people whose lands have been invaded and occupied

                                                                            The Slave Labour mural as it appeared in May 2012

Then each of the groups presents its version and discusses it with the rest of the class. Tell them the true story of each of his paintings (you can find easily on the internet).


Street art doesn't only limit to walls. There are some artists who decided to use pavements and streets to create their art. Ask your students if they know any of them. Present briefly Julian Beever:

Julian Beever -  is known all over the world for his pavement drawings, more especially his 3D illusions, drawn in a special distortion to create an impression of 3D when seen from one particular viewpoint. He is often called Pavement Picasso. ( 

You can do this in two ways: either print out a few copies and put it on the board or open google graphics and show a slide show of his works of arts. Below a few examples: 

Discuss with the students if we can call it art. Students describe selected photos telling what they can see and where they think they were painted and why. For example, the first one was painted by the river to stop people from speeding. 

Since all the photos are 3D you can use them perfectly to practice the language of description (there is always something happening in them and they are colourful) and revise the vocabulary such as: in the foreground, in the background, in the corner, at the top, in the middle, in the top left-hand corner etc.

STAGE FOUR - pair work activity

Students open Pinterest and look for graffiti art. Their task is to find the one they would like to have on their bedroom walls.  Students work in pairs and explain each other why they would like to have a certain graffiti on their walls. Then they change partners. 

Follow up activities: you can print out students' names in graffiti fonts and hand in each of them. Students colour them the way they want. With younger students you can take some chalk and go out to do same pavement art:) You can also watch a film where is presented how Julian Beever works or there is also the film about Banksy's life and works that you can recommend to your students.

Hope you will enjoy the lesson with your students:)

Friday, 14 April 2017


Water Of Life

Stories have been part and parcel of our lives since prehistoric times. People used to sit around the fire and tell them one after another. But every story has a twist and every story can have a different perspective. In today's post, I would like to show you a great activity where the story changes depending on a storyteller.


LEVEL - pre-intermediate +

AGE - 13 +


Set in 1912, 'Uisce Beatha' (Gaelic for Whiskey or Water Of Life) is the true story of Tom, a young Irish man who leaves his home in rural Ireland to cross the ocean on the ill-fated 'Titanic'. But a night of celebration beforehand results in a twist that will affect Tom's fate drastically....

Film address:


Ask your students if they know what happened on 14th April 1912. Some students may be familiar with the date, some not. Tell them the story of Titanic and asked them if they have seen the film. Class discussion.


Divide your students into groups of 4. Give each of the groups a set of 5 screenshots from the film. Tell them that this is a true story that took place in Ireland in 1912 on the day Titanic set off. Give them a few minutes to prepare their own version of the story. Monitor the use of L1. When they finish, each group has to present its version. One last screenshot is missing, give them the last photo a minute before the end (it can be any photo, to mess up a bit in their story:). Ask how it influences their story. Does it change? You want to make students aware that knowing a fact or two more, can change the perspective completely.


Play the film to the end. Ask students which version was the closest to the original story.



Ask your students to work in the same groups. This time they have to retell the story but from a different perspective.

Group one - you are the father whose son decides to leave hometown and travel to America. Tell your own story (feelings, opinion etc.)

Group two - you are the son who cannot stand poverty and decides to leave his father and look for work and a better life in America

Group three - you are the bar owner who meets a young naive boy who boast about going to America

Group four - you are one of the 'new friends' met in the bar who meets a young man who is planning to travel by Titanic the following day

Give your students a few minutes to prepare their own version of the story and choose one person from each group to tell it aloud. 


Students work in pairs this time. One is a journalist, the second one the young man. Let's imagine that the story took place in modern times. All media would like to hear this unbelievable story of the man who fooled his destiny. You are the journalist and have to run an interview. Prepare a short role-play and act it out. Choose two pairs of students to act it out in front of the class.


Questioning the truth. And what if it wasn't Titanic that sank but a completely different ship. It's still a mistery but there are a few versions of the story going around. Ask your student to look for a video of a conspiracy theory about the real Titanic. There are plenty of videos available on Youtube. Give it as homework.

REMEMBER - you can change it up side down if you want and not mention anything about Titanic at the beginning and let the story develop.....

Hope you will enjoy the lesson and this beautiful story:)

Monday, 20 March 2017

Image challenge - Disabilities among us - a heart melting video

Image challenge - week eleven

It's all about being noticed!

Today, I would like to encourage you to have a closer look at the "invisible" problem of the disabled ones and a lesson that can be done around this topic. It started with a press article about the action that took place in one of the shopping centers in Poland. However, as it later turned out, it was part of a bigger project that have already been carried out in other countries, as well. A group of people decided to make people aware of the problem of parking spaces for the disabled ones. People keep parking their cars there, pretending not to see the "No parking sign". When asked, their most common explanations were:

"I'll be back in a moment", "I'm in a hurry", "I'm only for a second", "I've just given a lift to my grandpa", "Big deal, only this place was free".

"I'll be back"
"I'm sorry, I'm in a hurry"
People placed wheelchairs in the most "wanted places" in a car park situated in a big shopping center (Alfa Center) in BiaƂystok, in form of a protest. Drivers kept coming and being irritated often left the car park with screeching brakes. But that is how the disabled people feel, don't they? Their disability is not the case of a choice but leaving a free parking space is.


Level: pre-intermediate +

Topic: health, disabilities, equality, human rights

Vocabulary to pre-teach: disabled, wheelchair, parking space, tow away a car, overcome problems, lifts, to be ashamed of, the need of support and acceptance, easily accessible place, protest against
With more advanced students: attitude towards, physically handicapped, live with dignity, impairments, mentally retarded, overcome everyday hurdles, wheelchair access ramps, adjust trasport, pothold pavement/sidewalk, ill adjusted, obstacles


Put the two pictures of the wheelchairs in the car park on the board. Don't say anything for a while. Let the students think for a moment and then ask:
1. What do the pictures show? Why are there wheelchairs in the car park? Where is the car park?
2. Is it a problem in our country?
3. Have you seen any people parking in a "no parking" places?
4. How do you think the disabled people feel?
5. Do you think such actions make sense? etc
Explain the story behind the pictures. Make students interested in the topic.


Tell your students that they are going to watch a video of man who parked in a place for the disabled ones. After a while he came out and saw something shocking. What do you think it was? Students are predicting and guessing with the use of expressions like: perhaps, maybe, I think... etc. Now play the film to the end. Later ask your students:
1. What would you do in such a situation?
2. How would you feel?
3. Do you think the man will ever park in such a place again? Why? Why not?
4. What do you think about such actions? Do they make sense? Are they effective?

Film address:


Ask your students:
1. Are there any people in the school that are disabled? Have you ever talked to them?
2. Do you have any disabled children living in your neighbourhood? Have you ever talked to them?
3. What things can't you do when you are disabled? How do think they feel?

Play the film till 12 sec and pause. Ask your students:
1. What do you think the boy with a ball is thinking?
2. What do you think the boy on a wheelchair is thinking?
2. Can you imagine a typical day of a boy on a wheelchair? What things can't he do?

Play the film till 18 sec and pause. Do you think the boy will join the game? Why? Why not? 
Would you join? Why?

Play the film till the end. Ask your students:
Are you surprised by the ending of the story? How do you think the boy was feeling? (accepted, like an ordinary memeber of a society, memeber of a group)

Film address:

STAGE THREE - Homework.

Find an example of a disabled person who despite his/her disability has achieved success. Prepare a short story of such a person. Bring picture/s in your mobile phone and just take notes as you can't read the story. Students find a lot of examples like Nick Vujcick or Bethany Hamilton.

Further film and lesson materials: "Butterfly Circus"  (only 22 min) or a new film called "The Fundamentals of Caring" (2016)
Hope you liked the lesson plan and you will enjoy it with your students