I love using movies to each English, but they can be too much – you know – too long, to boring, yadda, yadda, yadda. The Genki English guy, Richard Graham, has a suggestion. Use movie trailers. What a fantastic idea! He suggests using the Apple movie trailers. Good choice in that the movie trailers on the Apple site are offered in HD. http://www.genkienglish.net/usingmoviesinclass.htm

Below is the link to the trailer site. There is a veritable smorgasbord to choose from. It may not be such a bad idea if you want to mix things up and/or kill some time. Or, if you get a positive response from the students you could do it as a regular thing, turn it into “Movie Monday.” It doesn’t have to be on a Monday, but you get the idea.

You could do a bunch of different activities along with it, like:

  • transcribe it and have the student follow along as a simultaneous listening and reading activity
  • create a close activity from the transcript focusing on specific grammatical items, such as contractions
  • introduce new vocabulary and idioms
  • assign a movie trailer to be viewed cold (their choice) as homework. They have to view it and write down one new vocabulary word and find the appropriate definition to share with the class. (Homework – I know not the most popular choice, but this is not too difficult to do.)
  • have students perform it as a readers theater script
  • is there a song with lyrics involved? Assign small groups to sing the song to the class as others in the group act it out.

For example, Invitcus http://www.apple.com/trailers/wb/invictus/ can be used to teach about Nelson Mendela and apartheid. If you’re a Rugby fan then “forget about it!” You could springboard a mini-unit about the game, history, rules, etc; Maybe you could get a Rugby club going with the students? Do you think they would go for that? I don’t know, but my teenage son would be totally into that (he plays’ American football – which is kinda like Rugby except with armor, right?)

What about Where The Wild Things Are? This story is a children’s classic. I remember reading it to  my son when he was a little guy. http://www.apple.com/trailers/wb/wherethewildthingsare/ Can you get your hands on the book? This would be a great one to teach the kids.
Here is a random list of resources that can be found on the net:

This lesson incorporates math and science

Students create their own wild things

Character development lesson

Beginning, middle, end

Sequencing monster

What about A Christmas Carol? Another timeless classic.

and let’s not forget the ppt’s!

Then there is Amelia. http://www.apple.com/trailers/fox_searchlight/amelia/

Is she dead? Is she alive and living with Elvis on a deserted island?

lesson plans

Even if you don’t have the series, you can still glean nuggets that you can use in class.


Forensic evidence – create a discussion – is she alive or dead? Let the students decide based on evidence provided by the following sources and then present their position to the class.
Is she alive? http://www.irene-amelia.com/index.html
Is she dead? http://www.nndb.com/people/943/000026865/

There’s lots of rich material to choose from. It can be used year after year once you put the lesson together. So a little bit of work will pay off in the long run.