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Make It Count

Posted on April 15, 2013 by kierandonaghy


This EFL lesson plan is designed around an inspiring short film by Casey Neistat and the themes of life, inspiration and travel. Students put words into order to create quotes, discuss quotes, watch a short film, speak and write.



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Language level: Intermediate (B1) – Upper Intermediate (B2)

Learner type: Teens and adults

Time: 90 minutes

Activity: Putting words in order to create quotes, discussing quotes, watching a short film, speaking and writing

Topic: Life, inspiration and travel

Language: Quotes and vocabulary related to travel

Materials: PowerPoint, quotes and short film

Downloadable materials: make it count lesson instructions     make it count quotes  make it count correct quotes 


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Step 1

Ask your students if they have any favourite quotes from famous people. Write up any examples on the board and get students to discuss the meaning.


Step 2

Show students the quotes in the PowerPoint presentation. Look at the first slide and tell students that they have to order the works to make a quote from a famous person. Give them 1 minute to put the words in order and then move onto the next slide. When you have shown all 10 slides give them the handout with the quotes and go through them.


Step 3

Put students into pairs and ask them to choose the 5 quotes which they find most interesting. Now give them 10 minutes to discuss the quotes.


Step 4

Tell students that they are going to watch a short film in which the 10 quotes appear. As they watch the film they should consider the following questions:

What is the story of how the film came to be made?

Which countries did the men visit?

How do the quotes relate to the narrative of the film?

Show the film.

Make It Count from Casey Neistat on Vimeo.


Step 5

Put students into small groups and ask them to discuss the 3 questions. Then get feedback from the whole class.


Step 6

Tell students they are going to watch the film again; as they watch it they should consider the following questions:

What’s the message of the film?

Why do you think Nike accepted the short film as the ad?

Show the film again and then get feedback from students.


Step 7

Write Make It Count on the board and ask students if they can explain the expression. Ask students why Nike used this title for the ad and their advertising campaign.


Step 8

Put students into pairs and ask them to discuss this question:

How can you make the most of your life / this year / this week / today / this class / this moment?


Step 9

Put your students into groups of 3 or 4 and tell them you would like them to plan a trip around the world in 10 days. They have to decide which countries they want to visit and plan their itinerary. They also have to decide what they’re going to do in each country. Give them 10 minutes to plan their trip. Then each group has to present their trip to the rest of the class.



Tell your students you would like them to write a composition about their trip around the world in 10 days.


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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20 thoughts on “Make It Count

  1. Hi, Kieran!

    Looks like a great lesson and I will definitely use it soon.

    I just wanted to say that “quote” is a verb. In spite of popular usage, a statement that one “quotes” is a “quotation”. Sorry – just one of my pet peeves.

    Thanks for your great work!


    • Hi Maura,
      Thanks a lot for commenting and your kind words about the site. I’m aware that 2quote” is the verb and “quotation” the noun, but I did a Google search before writing the lesson and “famous quotations” came up with 700,000 results while “famous quotes” came up with 7 million results so I decided to go with “quotes”.
      All the best,

      • I was afraid that was going to be your answer.

        It’s hard for grammar nerds like me 😉

        • I agree with you, Maura. I think “quotation” is the right word, but I thought I’d use “quote” as I relly like the site Brainy Quotes which has loads of cool quotes and there were more results on Google. By the way, you’re NOT a nerd 🙂

    • I love this video so when I saw the lesson here I jumped at the chance to use it – and it worked beautifully!

      I used this lesson with various advanced groups (B2-C1 levels). The powerpoint is a really nice way to get the students thinking about the quotes, although weaker/smaller groups needed a lot more help to get the words in order.

      The video is great and really uplifting and all of my students enjoyed it and we managed to create great discussions about the video and the meaning of the quotes.

      It was great to get my teenager to start thinking about travelling (some of whm hadn’t even thought about where they’d like to go before!) and they created some great ‘around the world’ trips.

      HINT – there is a website called which specialises in round the world travel. If you follow the link to ‘Indie’ it will take you to a world map where all you need to do is type in the name of your destination and your route will be automatically shown.

      • Hi John,
        Thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m really happy you and your students enjoyed the lesson so much. Thanks a lot for the heads up about the travel site.
        All the best,

  2. An inspiring lesson plan. Thank you. I’ll try it with my students. I think I’ll add one more exercise. To brainstorm in groups and come up with the words that count in their lives and make up their own quotes.

    • Hi Aliona,
      Thanks a lot for commenting. Your brainstorming stage sounds really good. Please let me know how the lesson goes.
      All the best,

        • Well, I tried this. And we were playing with these quotations for two classes. Discussed, invented new ones. In the end they posted their own quotations in our class group and I assigned them to “like” those they liked the most. The competition is still on! They are coming up with new ones!

          Everything went great. Thanks a lot!

  3. Dear K,

    I love this lesson. Travel always acts as a springboard for productive chitter-chatter, and this video facilitates this.



    • Hi Mike,
      I’m really happy you like the lesson. Yes, travel’s always a great prompt for speaking. Let me know how it goes if you use it with your students.
      All the best,

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  6. Great lesson, great quotes (yes, I will use “quote” also), and great film!! This is the perfect extension to the Life 6 / Unit 5 The Writer’s Journey (Cengage Learning) I am using in my advanced ESL class at a community-based program in Washington, DC. We have been discussing the impact of text and image combinations. The language lesson using the quotations is engaging even before watching the film. Thank you for being a terrific, multimodal resource.
    p.s. I bought your book from Amazon US – waiting for it to arrive.

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