This lesson is designed around a beautiful short film by Matt Morris about Johnny Barnes, an 88-year-old Bermudian who dedicates his life to making people happy. Students practise speaking, listening and writing.
Language level: Upper-intermediate (B2.1)- Advanced (C1)
Learner type: Mature teens and adults
Time: 90 minutes
Activity: Speaking, writing and watching a short film and a video
Language: Adjectives to describe character
Materials: Short film, video and discussion quotes
Put your students into pairs and show them the photo below. Ask them to describe the man and to speculate about the man’s life and his character.
After five minutes, get feedback from the whole class.
Tell your students that they are going to watch a short film called Mr. Happy Man about this man, Johnny Barnes.
Put your students into groups of three or four and ask them the following questions:
Why do you think Johnny is so happy?
What do you think you will see in this film?
What do you think people will say about him?
What do you think he will say is the secret of happiness?
After five minutes get feedback from the whole class.
Show the film and ask students to compare their answers in step 2 to what they see and hear in the film.
Give your students the documents with quotes from Johnny about happiness and love. Put them into small groups and ask them to discuss the quotes. You can also show the quotes in the Scribd document below.
Write the following sentence on the board:
The secret of happiness is helping others.
Ask your students to write sentences starting:
The secret of happiness is ……………
Give them a few minutes to write their sentences and help them with any vocabulary they’d like to use, and then put them in pairs to discuss their sentences.
Tell your students that they’re going to watch a video which is a mash-up of clips from experts from various disciplines talking about the secret of happiness.
Ask your students to compare their sentences about the secret of happiness with what the experts say.
Show the video.
Get feedback, and then show the video a second time.
Get your students to write a composition titled The Secret of Happiness. Tell them to try to use some of the vocabulary and expressions they’ve come across in the lesson.
I hope you enjoy the lesson.