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Posted on December 11, 2011 by kierandonaghy

This EFL lesson is based on a short film The Holstee Manifesto: Lifecycle Video by Cooper Miller which is a call to action to live a life of creativity, passion, integrity and community. The film was commissioned by Hosltee a design company founded on ethical principles. The lesson practises the imperative form, inspiring vocabulary, listening, reading and speaking.



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Language level: Intermediate (B1)- Advanced (B2.2)

Learner type: All ages

Time: 90 minutes

Activity: Watching a short film, reading and listening to a kinetic typography video, reading, speaking and writing.

Topic: Manifestos, creativity

Language: Imperative form, first conditional, inspiring vocabulary and expressions

Materials: Short film, kinetic typography video and manifesto

Downloadable materials:  manifesto lesson instructions     holstee manifesto poster


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Step 1

Write manifesto on the board, and ask your students what it means. After students have given their definitions give them this dictionary definition:

a written public statement declaring the intentions, motives, or views of   a government, group or individual

Ask your students if they can give any examples of manifestos.


Step 2

Tell your students they are going to watch a short film which explains a manifesto.

Pre-teach the following vocabulary:

to quit, to seize, to hug, to share, a bite

Ask students to answer the following questions:

What is the manifesto?

What values are mentioned in the manifesto?

Who wrote this manifesto?



After watching ask students to compare their answers in pairs and then get feedback from the whole class


Step 3

Tell your students that they are now going to listen and read the manifesto using a kinetic typography video, and they should check anything they didn’t understand while watching the film.



Ask your students the following questions:

What do you think of the manifesto?

What do you identify with personally?

What do you like about the manifesto?

Is there anything you don’t like?

Is it a good guide for life?

Is it too simplistic?


Step 4

Now show this image of the manifesto and ask students to read it.

Step 5

Explain to your students that this is The Holstee Manifesto written by Mike, Fabian and Dave when they set up Holstee an ethical design and clothing company. They sat down on the steps of Union Square in New York and wrote down exactly what they wanted from life and how to create a company that breathed that passion into the world every day. The result became known as The Holstee Manifesto and has since been shared over 500,000 times and viewed over 60 million times online. The words of the manifesto resonate with many people throughout the world as a call to action to live a life full of creativity, passion and integrity.


Step 6

Tell your students you would like them to write their own manifestos to promote passionate, creative living. Put them into small groups, and tell them to use The Holstee Manifesto as a model. They should use the imperative form and inspiring vocabulary and expressions. Give them 10 minutes to create drafts of their manifesto. After 10 minutes ask a spokesperson from each group to read out their manifesto. Ask students to comment on the manifestos.



Ask students to write their own personal manifesto which should be a call to action to live a life of creativity, passion, integrity and community. Tell them they can use different colours and images in their manifestos.


I hope you enjoy this English language lesson.

Support Film English

Film English remains ad-free and takes many hours a month to research and write, and hundreds of dollars to sustain. If you find any joy or value in it, please consider supporting Film English with a monthly subscription, or by contributing a one-off payment.

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33 thoughts on “Manifesto

  1. Beautiful lesson, I’ll use it just before Christmas. It makes you think about how important life is. Thank you

    • Hi Saro,
      Thanks a lot for your lovely comments. I think it’s a good lesson to use before Christmas and, as you say, help us remember how important life is. Let me know how the lesson goes. I hope you have a great Christmas and a very happy 2012.
      All the best,

  2. This is great! I will be recommending this to my teacher trainees in the hope that they will ‘spread the word’ in their classes. A great way for the pupils here (the Netherlands – bikes galore!) to be using English as a tool to learn other things (CLIL/language as a medium not the final goal). Thank you for this!

    • Hi Louise,
      Thanks a lot for your lovely comments. Let me know how the lesson goes with your trainees. The guys who wrote the manifesto are crazy about bikes and wanted to express this passion in the video, I think it works really well.
      All the best,

    • Hi Ana,
      Thanks a lot for your really nice comments. You’re right, it makes a great lesson for the beginning of a new year. I’m really happy that you enjoyed it.
      All the best,

  3. Hi Kieran,
    What a fantastic and inspiring lesson! I’m going to use it with my students this week, I’m sure they’re going to love it. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  4. Hi Kieran,
    Oh… these are gems not just for the classroom but also for Life! I haven’t students in the classroom any longer. But I keep being very keen on educational innovation, educational technology, and I feel the duty to spread the word around… mainly to younger colleagues 🙂
    Season’s Greetings and a very happy 2012!


    • Hi Maria,
      Thanks so much for your lovely comments. I agree, the lesson works really well getting students to talk about what is important to them in their lives.
      Have a Great Christmas and a very happy 2011.
      All the best,

  5. I have worked with this lesson today, just to let you know that my students loved it. Thanks again and merry Xmas

    • Hi Saro,
      Thanks for letting me know that the lesson went well and that your students really enjoyed it, I’m really happy.
      Have a great Christmas and a very happy 2012, Saro.
      All the best,

  6. Just used this film with a group of 11- and 12-year-olds. Students came up with ideas to promote ‘a happy life’ for adults and wrote their ideas on flashcards. Then we made a video of them walking into shot and holding up their flashcards. They loved it. Thank you.

    • Hi Jo,
      The way you’ve used the lesson sounds fantastic, I really like the way you got students to make their own short film. Thanks a lot.
      All the best,

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    • Hi Alessandra,
      I’m really happy your students enjoyed the lesson. Of course I don’t mind you using the Scribd document. Thanks for your support.
      All the best,

  9. Love this one as I think it will produce an emotional response from learners, which is important.

    With one class, a colleague got them to write this sort of short motivational message on index cards and post them around her school to see if people would respond in any way.

    Very few did (!!), but the kids (teens) really got excited about the idea.

    Thanks for another wonderful video and lesson plan.

    • Hi Tom,
      Thanks a lot for taking the time to comment. I really like the idea of writing message on cards, I’m glad that at least the teens got excited about it. 🙂
      All the best,

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  11. I listened to you explaining this activity at the conference yesterday and was really wonderful! I am looking forward to doing it with my students! Thank you!!

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  13. As for me, it’s something new, and i think it’s can be very useful for students. i want to use it at my lesson))) thank you, very much for such value information)))

  14. It sounds great.Something from inside tells me to believe these words.Not only that the manifesto seems to have already set the wheels (of my life) in motion.Thanks a lot.

  15. I loved your idea!! I’ll apply it 🙂 Thanks a lot for sharing it!
    Josefina. Argentina