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Gratitude

Posted on November 16, 2013 by kierandonaghy

Schwartzberg_gratitude

This EFL lesson plan is designed around a beautiful and moving video by time-lapse film-maker Louis Schwartzberg and the themes of gratitude, beauty and nature. Students write sentences about gratitude, speak about what they are grateful for, write dictated sentences, watch a video, and write a composition.

film_in_action_thumbnail

 

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

Learner type: Teens and adults

Time: 90 minutes

Activity: Writing, speaking, dictation, watching a video, speaking and writing a composition

Topic: Gratitude and nature

Language: grateful for and vocabulary related to nature

Materials: Video

Downloadable materials: gratitude lesson instructions

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Step 1

Write grateful on the board. Ask students if they know what the word means. Write an example sentence such as:

I’m really grateful for having a loving family.

Try to elicit the meaning (feeling or showing thanks).

 

Step 2

Ask students to think about what they have to be grateful for and to write 10 sentences. Give examples such as:

I’m grateful for the friends I have.

I’m grateful for my health.

I’m grateful for being able to study.

I’m grateful for having a job I like.

 

Step 3

When students are ready ask them to explain their sentences to their partner and to compare the things they are grateful for.

 

Step 4

Hold a plenary discussion on what students are grateful for and write up any common themes. Ask them if the things they are grateful for are generally big or small.

 

Step 5

Tell students they are going to watch a video which is titled Gratitude. Explain that gratitude is the abstract noun from grateful. Tell them that the person who presents the video is a film-maker called Louis Schwartzberg. Dictate the following questions to students:

How does Louis describe his films?

What is time-lapse photography?

What does Louis say we can learn from nature?

What does Louis say we should be grateful for

 

As they watch the first part of the video they should try to answer the questions. The first time you show the video show without subtitles and pause at 03:32.

 

 

 

Step 6

After students have finished watching the video, put them in pairs and ask them to compare their answers.

 

Step 7

Show the video again; this time with subtitles. When students are ready go through the questions with the whole class.

 

Step 8

Dictate the following quotation from Louis:

“When we see ourselves in nature, it connects us to every one of us, because it’s clear it’s all connected in one.”

Put students into pairs and ask them to check if they’ve got the same words. Read the quotation again and check they’ve got it right.

 

Alternatively show students the quotation.

 

Schwartzberg_nature_quote_film_english

 

 

Step 9

Put students into small groups and ask them to discuss the quotation for 5 minutes. Hold a plenary discussion.

 

Step 10

Louis says that he is going to show the perspective of this world from the point of view of a young girl; ask students what they think a young girl’s perspective of nature and beauty would be.

 

Step 11

Show the second part of the video from 03:34 to 04:11 without subtitles and ask students to answer the following question:

What’s the girl’s perspective of nature?

 

Step 12

Ask students what the girl’s perspective is. Show the video a second time; this time with subtitles.

 

Step 13

Ask students if they like the young girl’s perspective and if they think it is typical of a young child.

 

Step 14

Louis says that he is going to show the perspective of this world from the point of view of an elderly man; ask students what they think an elderly man’s perspective of nature and beauty would be and how it might be different from a young girl’s perspective.

 

Step 15

Dictate the following questions to students:

What does the elderly man say we should be grateful for?

What does the elderly man say we should open how hearts to?

Put students in pairs and ask them to compare their questions. Tell students they are going to watch the rest of the video and that they should answer the questions:

Now show the video from 04:13 until the end without subtitles.

 

Step 16

Get students to compare their answers. Show the video with subtitles and hold a plenary discussion on the answers to the questions.

 

Step 17

Dictate the following quotation from the elderly man.

“You think it’s just another day. It’s not just another day. It’s the one day that’s given to you today. It’s given to you; it’s a gift.”

Check that students have the correct quotation and then put them into small groups to discuss the quotation. Hold a plenary discussion.

 

Alternatively show students the quotation.

 

Schwartzberg_day_quote_film_english

 

Homework

Ask students to write a composition titled:

What I’m grateful for.

 

I hope you enjoy this EFL 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

One-off payment

35 thoughts on “Gratitude

  1. thank you for such a beautiful lesson plan. I will definitely use it with my ESL adult learners.

    I wish you a blessed holiday season.
    Thanks again.
    Michele

  2. from the first beginning I felt that something unusual and different, thank you I hope u sent me more and I have things I can sent you too, thank you.bye

  3. vERY MANY THANKS .VERY RELAXING AND GREAT FOOD FOR THOUGHT.IDEAL FOR CLASS USE.LET’S THINK POSITIVELY AND HELP OUR STS DO SO AS WELL.

  4. Dear Kieran, thank you a lot for You Generous Gift to teachers.It is an excellent project- presentation and I hope I’ll use it for my lessons.Thank You Very Much.You Are The Best:)Very interesting indeed.
    Best regards Magdalena

  5. dear kieran, i like this lesson because the act of teaching can spread positive ideas, and involve students at a deeper level, not only cognitively: learning is important, but learning through values make it a unique experience. thank you for sharing your ideas with all of us. very inspiring

    marina

    • Dear Marina,
      It’s a pleasure. Thanks a lot for the kind words. I really believe that learning through values can be a very positive experience for both students and teachers.
      All the best,
      Kieran

  6. I loved this lesson plain, very creative and excellent to make our students give value the things our planet and GOG give us. I will use it in my classes, even the Portuguese classes, may be!!!1 Thank you a lot!!!!

  7. It’s touched me deep…I’ve been crying while watching it! Awsome and magnificent, breathtaking and truly amazing…thank you very mch for your ideas and for this “piece of life”!!!!!!!!! Incredible!!!!!

  8. Pingback: What Are You Grateful For? | The Literacy Council of Central Alabama

  9. Hi Kieran! Thank you so much for this lesson. I used it with my French high schoolers, who are usually the worst combination of squirrelly and angsty, and they just loved it. I finally got them to shut up and listen; it was a dream!!!!! Thank you so much, and have a great day!

  10. Hey thanks a ton for this lesson idea 🙂 I am happy to say that I have shown it to my students and will show it to them today as well; when I show it to them, it captures their attention and changes their mindset- one girl even told me that before the film, her day was ruined, but when I showed it to her and talked about it that her whole thought about the day had changed and I was really happy for that 🙂 thanks from South Korea

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  12. It’s the new year and what a perfect time to reflect on what we are grateful for. I plan to use this the first week of class. Thank you so much for this lesson and all that you do. These ideas are shared like ripples in water around the world.

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