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Symmetry

Posted on December 19, 2011 by kierandonaghy

This EFL lesson is based on 2 short  films which both reflect the concept of symmetry. The first film Symmetry by Everynone, is a fascinating split-screen short film which explores the poetic parallels and contrasts of our world — birth and death, heart and brain, darkness and light, masculinity and femininity. The second film Split Screen: A Love Story by James W. Griffiths which was shot with a Nokia mobile phone has a simple premise: two lovers wake up in different cities (New York and Paris) and set off on parallel journeys to meet each other. Students practise speaking, writing and vocabulary.

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Learner type: Intermediate (B1) – Upper-intermediate (B2.1)

Time: 60 minutes

Activity: Vocabulary activities, predicting and storytelling

Topic: Symmetry; parallels and contrasts

Language: Vocabulary (opposites and synonyms)

Materials: 2 short films; vocabulary worksheet

Downloadable materials: Symmetry lesson plan instructions     vocabulary activity 25 words

 

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Step 1
 Write word dark on the board and ask your students what words they think complement it or oppose it.
Write the following words on the board:
 ketchup     fire     laugh     die     coins     analogical     old man     heart     zero     salt     bride     woman     big          end     paint       key     Pepsi     cookies     popcorn     rain     cop     cat     high tide     short     puddle
You can also show the 25 words using the document below.
[scribd id=119052368 key=key-1wnxyz0ses75gs5lunxo mode=scroll]
Put your students into pairs and ask them to come up with  words which complement or oppose  them. Get feedback from your students and discuss these opposing or complementary words.
Step 2
Tell students they are going to watch a short film in which the 25 words they have worked with in step 2 are visualised together with an opposing or complementary image.  They should watch the film and identify images which reflect the words and their opposing or complementary form.
Show your students the trailer of the film as an example. Ask them to identify which word is represented and which opposing or complementary form. Students should be able to identify the opposing concepts of light and  dark.

Step 3
Ask them to identify which words are represented and which opposing or complementary forms.

Step 4
Get feedback from your students and then watch again.
The words and their opposing or complementary form are:
the  start – the end
paint – brush
lock – key
milk – cookies
Coca-cola – Pepsi
popcorn – cinema
French fries – ketchup
salt – pepper
bride-groom
small (family) – big (family)
man – woman
girl – boy
cop – robber
cat – mouse
short (hair) – long (hair)
cloud – rain / puddle
low tide – high tide
zero – one
analogical – digital
note – coin
baby – old man
heart – brain
fire – ice
laugh – cry
birth – death
These words are also on the second page of the Scribd document above and in the downloadable vocabulary worksheet.
Step 5
Tell your students they are going to watch another split-screen short film which tells a story. Show them the split-screen image below from the start of the film and ask the following questions:
What can you see in the photos?
Where were the photos taken?
What story is the film going to tell?
Get your students to speculate about what story is going to be told in the film. Put them in small groups and give them 5 minutes to write a short narrative based on the film they’re going to watch. After 5 minutes ask one student from each group to read out their story.
Step 6
Show the film and compare the students’ stories with the narrative of the film.

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.

Monthly subscription

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11 thoughts on “Symmetry

    • Hi Phil,
      I’m really happy you like the lesson. I’m glad to share and if other teachers find the resources useful, even better.
      Have a great Christmas and a very happy 2011.
      All the best,
      Kieran

  1. Hi Kieran ,
    First of all I must congratulate you on this excellent website . I must say I have used the first part of Symmetry in today´s lesson and it has worked out very well . However it will be even better when I show them in its full length .Thank you very much indeed !

    • Hi José Ramon,
      I’m glad you liked the lesson. The short trailer is a nice way to introduce the film, the whole film works really weel, I’m sure your students will like it. Let me know how it goes as it’s great to have feedback from other teachers. thanks for your kind comments.
      Have a great Christmas and a very happy 2012.
      All the best,
      Kieran

  2. Hi Kieran,

    Not sure how I can across your site, but glad I did, as I want to use more video in my classes as well. Haven’t had much time to check our the lessons and videos as I have been consumed finishing my Masters. But now that I have, taking my time to catch up on sites like this…

    Loved the vid and lesson for Symmetry! I have thought about lessons I could do for some of my favorite films, and have even envisioned doing a full semester course on ONE FILM! Many have the depth to allow such an undertaking.

    One question I have, which I have begun to ponder myself, is how to adapt the lessons for a very low beginning EFL class.

    Thanks for the ideas and inspiration!
    Chaz Burton
    EFL Teacher in Jingyo, South Korea

    • Hi Chaz,
      I’m glad you liked the lesson, and thanks for your kind comments.Using a whole film is a good idea, but I’d recommend using it in short clips, maximum 10 minutes at a time and very detailed preparation of before, during and after watching activities and tasks.

      There are many films which I use which can be used at lower levels, in fact, I label the lesson plans according to level.

      Have a great Christmas and a very happy 2012.
      All the best,
      Kieran

  3. Since I came across your site, I have really started appreciating short movies rather than full-length feature films. This lesson worked very well with secondary school students. I followed ‘your plan’ very closely, there was a surprising amount of the generated associative words 🙂

    Thanks!

    • Hi Selga,
      I’m really happy that the film worked well with your students. I also think short films are great for using in the classroom, I find them really easy to exploit.
      All the best,
      Kieran

    • Hi Leo,
      Thanks a lot for taking the time to comment and for your kind words about the site, I really appreciate them. I’ve checked out your lesson and it’s great. Well done!
      All the best,
      Kieran

  4. Pingback: Binomials | Ще один нотатник

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