This EFL lesson plan is designed around a short film called My Shoes by Nima Raoofi, and the themes of envy and empathy. Students write a story, watch a short film, talk about empathy and envy, discuss comments on a YouTube video , and practise idiomatic expressions.
Language level: Intermediate (B1) – Upper Intermediate (B2)
Learner type: Teens and adults
Time: 60 minutes
Activity: Writing a short story, watching a short film, and speaking
Topic: Envy and empathy
Language: Narrative tenses and idiomatic expressions related to empathy and envy.
Materials: Short film
Downloadable materials: my shoes lesson instructions
Write the words My Shoes on the board and tell your students that they are going to watch a short film with this title. Ask them what they think the film will be about.
Show students the picture below.
Tell them that this picture comes from the middle of the film. Put them into pairs and ask them to write a short story which explains what happened before this picture and what happens after. Give them 10 minutes to complete their stories, walk around the classroom and help students with any language they need.
When students have finished their stories ask each pair to explain their story to another pair.
Ask one student from each pair to read out their story and ask students to discuss the stories.
Tell students they are going to watch the film and that they should compare their stories with the one told in the film.
Put students into small groups and ask them to discuss the following questions:
What is the message of the film?
How does the film make you feel?
What adjectives would you use to describe the film?
Do you think that the film is moving or poignant? Why / why not?
Do you think that the film is corny or cheesy? Why / why not?
This short film has been watched nearly 2 million times on YouTube. What’s the appeal of this kind of short film?
You may need to explain the adjectives moving, poignant, corny and cheesy.
Ask students if they ever write comments or read the comments about videos on YouTube. Ask them what they think of the comments. Now tell them that My Shoes has got almost 1,000 comments. Show them these 2 contrasting comments about the film.
“Too simple….too easy….too “commonplace”, what kind of message is this? It’s like: “Eat your dinner ’cause you know that in Africa there are children dying of hunger….” Ok….and so? Is that all…is this the message? And you need to make a movie about that?”
“First Lesson: You can’t really have everything in life. Some people may seem to have MOST of it but NOT everything.
Second: Be grateful for all the things you have. Do not compare your life with others. You don’t know the story behind theirs and what they are going through.
Third: Sometimes, we tend to think that others have it better than us, not realizing how much more we are really blessed compared to them.
Love yourself. Make the most of it.”
In the same goups ask students to read both comments, discuss them and say which one they most agree with.
Write the following proverbs and idiomatic expressions on the board:
The grass is always greener on the other side.
Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.
Put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Count your blessings.
In the same groups ask students to try and work out the meaning of each proverb and idiomatic expression. If necessary help students and give examples of the proverbs and idiomatic expressions in context.
Now ask students which of the idiomatic expressions they think best describes the message of the film.
Tell students that you would like them to choose one of the proverbs or idiomatic expressions in Step 8 and write a short story to illustrate its meaning.
I hope you enjoy this English language lesson.
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