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Mr. Happy Man

Posted on March 28, 2012 by kierandonaghy

This EFL 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.

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I would ask all teachers who use Film English to consider buying my book Film in Action as the royalties which I receive from sales help to keep the website completely free.

 

 

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

Topic: Happiness

Language: Adjectives to describe character

Materials: Short film, video and discussion quotes

Downloadable materials: mr-happy-man-lesson-instructions      mr-happy-man-discussion-quotes

 

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Step 1

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.

 

Step 2

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.

 

Step 3

Show the film and ask students to compare their answers in step 2 to what they see and hear in the film.

 

Step 4

 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.

 

[scribd id=87015622 key=key-1h9kg4241ksgjj2ijz3e mode=list]

 

Step 5

Write the following sentence on the board:

The secretof 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.

 

Step 6

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.

 

Homework

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 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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27 thoughts on “Mr. Happy Man

  1. Thanks Kieran, this looks great …. I can definitely use this for my B2.2 class. Have a nice holiday ….

    Kind and grateful regards,

    John

  2. Thanks for your work, I’d like to use this with my students but the video doesn’t work, where can I get it? as in youtube there is only a preview???

    Thanks

  3. Maraming salamat (thank you very much) from the Philippines. Your lessons are like a breath of fresh air. I absolutely love them!

  4. Thanks ever so much for the lesson, I’ll be using in class after Easter and link it to my classroom blog, too. I loved it, and not only this lesson but many others that you share, thanks for sharing!

  5. Thank you ! It’s really one of the greatest lessons . I loved it and will use it with my students. Very urgent community problems are touched in the lesson .Thanks a lot!

  6. Pingback: Motivation | Pearltrees

  7. Thank you for posting this. I used it in two different lessons today. One was an advanced group and the other was an intermediate one on one. It went well in both. I will use it in future lessons as well. Thanks again! Love the lesson and the site.

  8. Thanks Kieran, these lessons are so inspiring, they grow as we do them. I love to give my students positive messages, that they leave feeling better, not exhausted. I tell people I love them A LOT, sometimes I worry they think some people might feel it’s not sincere, but it is… and so this great man has inspired me to continue, Love you Kieran, have a great and blessed day!! Lucy

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