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A Thousand Words

Posted on November 28, 2012 by kierandonaghy

This EFL lesson is designed around a short film called A Thousand Words by Ted Chung and the theme of images. Students practise speaking, writing and idiomatic expressions.

Language level: Intermediate (B1) – Advanced (C1)

Learner type: Teens and adults

Time: 90 minutes

Activity: Watching video and short film, speaking and writing

Topic: Images

Language: Idiomatic expressions and going to + infinitive

Materials: Video, short film and PowerPoint

Downloadable material: a thousand words lesson instructions     a thousand words

Step 1

Write up the expression a picture paints a thousand words

Ask students if they know what the expression means. When they understand the meaning, ask them to discuss it and see if they agree.


Step 2

Show the students the first slide of the PowerPoint presentation which illustrates the expression a picture paints a thousand words.

Tell students go are going to show a series of pictures which illustrate idiomatic expression in English and that they have to guess the meaning. As the expressions are quite difficult I’ve added a Wordle with the words of the expression jumbled up. If the students can’t guess the meaning from the picture show them the Wordle to help them.



After looking at all the pictures, students should try to remember the expressions and test each other.


Step 3

Remind students that the last expression was like a fish in water. Ask them to look at this picture of a goldfish and a cat. Tell them the picture is part of a story, put them in pairs, tell them have to imagine what the story is. Give them 5 minutes to write their story.


Step 4

Show the students the video and stop at 25 seconds. Ask the students what they think is going to happen.


Show the rest of the film and ask them what they think the message of the film is.


Step 5

Tell the students they are going to watch a film called A Thousand Words.  Ask these questions:

  • What’s the film going to be about?
  • Who’s going to be in the film?
  • What type of film is it going to be?
  • What part do pictures play in the film?



Play the film until 0:57. Check their predictions and ask them what they think is going to happen next:

  • Is the man going to look at the photos?
  • Is he going to try to return the camera?
  • How’s he going to return the camera?

Play the film until 1.46. Ask them what they think the man is going to do now. If they think he’s going to try and contact the woman, ask them how he’s going to do it.

Play the film until 3.14. Ask them what they think the man is going to do now.

Play the rest of the film. Ask the students the questions:

  • Will the woman receive the camera?
  • What will she do if she sees the picture of the man and his mobile number?
  • Will they ever meet?



For homework ask students to write the story of the film and to finish the story after the film ends.


I hope you enjoy this English language lesson.

Film English is a labour of love, it takes hundreds of hours and thousands of euros a year to sustain and provide free English language lesson plans. Keeping it a free, clean, ad-free experience — which is important to me and, I hope, to you — means it’s subsidised by the generous support of readers like you through donations. So if you find any inspiration, joy and stimulation in these English language lessons or if they help you teaching English, please consider a modest donation — however much you can afford.



10 thoughts on “A Thousand Words

  1. The way it was discussed is really interesting not only for the children but also for the teachers. Film English is really strong and full of emotion and educative too.

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