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The Journey

Posted on December 2, 2012 by kierandonaghy

This EFL lesson is designed around a short film commissioned by John Lewis as their Christmas TV commercial. Students practice vocabulary related to journeys and Christmas, prepositions, song lyrics, speaking and writing.


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

Learner type: Teens and adults

Time: 60 minutes

Activity: Watching short film, completing the lyrics of a song, speaking and writing

Topic: Journeys and Christmas

Language: Narrative tenses, prepositions and vocabulary related to Christmas

Materials: Short film and song lyrics

Downloadable materials: the journey lesson instructions     the power of love lyrics


Step 1

Write snowman on the board and ask students what comes to mind when they see the word. Put them in pairs and ask them to discuss the following questions:

Have you ever built a snowman?

Who did you build the snowman with?

What did you use to give the snowman arms, eyes, a nose and a mouth?

If you are teaching in a country where there isn’t any snow ask the following questions:

Have you seen a snowman in a film or cartoon?

Would you like to build a snowman?

What would you use to give the snowman arms, eyes, a nose and a mouth?


Step 2

Show your students the image of the snowman and snowwoman.



Ask then the following question:


Are they similar to the snowman or snowwoman you built as a child?


Step 3

Tell them that the image is taken from the start of a short film called The Journey.

Show them the start until 00:15.



Step 4

Put students in pairs and ask them to write a story titled The Journey which explains what happens in the rest of the film. Give them 10 minutes to write their stories and help them with any vocabulary. Get one student from each group to read out their story and discuss each story.


Step 5

Now show the rest of the film until 1:21. Ask the students the following questions:

What story does the film tell?

Did you like the story?

Did you like the film?

How does the film make you feel?

Does the film have a message?

What does the film say about Christmas?


Step 6

Show the film until 1:23 and pause when you see the caption:

“Give a little more love this Christmas.”

Ask your students what the caption means.


Step 7

Now show the rest of the film. Students will see that it is a commercial. Explain that John Lewis is a department store which is famous for its Christmas commercials. Ask them if they think the caption “Give a little more love this Christmas” has another meaning.


Step 8

Give feedback on the stories and correct any mistakes with the use of prepositions. Write up the following phrases:

The snowman and snowwoman were standing next to each other.

The snowman went across a field.

The snowman climbed up a mountain.

The snowman went down a mountain.

The snowman went across a river.

The snowman walked along a road.

The snowman looked up at something.


Step 9

Tell your students that they are going to watch the film again; this time they should listen to the song which accompanies the film and say if they think it is a suitable song for the film.


Step 10

Give students the lyrics to the song which has all the preposition removed; tell them they should complete the lyrics with a partner.



The Power of Love Lyrics


Step 11

Play the film again and students check their answers.


Step 12

Ask students the following questions:

Why do you think this song was chosen for the film?

Does the song add anything to the film?

How does the song make you feel?



Tell students to write a narrative of the story told in the film, they should make their narrative as descriptive as possible and try to use some of the expression from the song lyrics.


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.



16 thoughts on “The Journey

  1. Hi, your blog is as refreshing (both colours and content), as a gust of fresh air :D I really needed that this morning, and was lucky indeed to find it! You’ve done a really great job here, I must acknowledge that – as a blogger, who keeps almost forgetting my own blog sometimes :D Subscribed and will be following ;)
    Thank you! I just.. feel inspired :)

  2. I am using a lot of listening sites to help Spanish students improve their listening and observation skills – your site will be very useful!
    I love the advert and to find a lesson plan using it is wonderful!
    I shall use it this week with my intermediate students.
    Kind regards

  3. Hello Kieran,
    I used this last December with my upper intermediate class. It provoked such a lot of speaking during the writing task that it was hard to believe the students had only seen 15 seconds of the clip. The stories that emerged ranged from a holiday paradise for snowpeople to an intricate description of the family life of the people in the house, with many different ones in between. Those few seconds really seemed to touch the students and bring out their imaginations. An absolutely lovely lesson for the students AND me. Thank you so much.

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