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A Letter from Fred

Posted on June 2, 2015 by kierandonaghy

a letter from fred

This EFL lesson plan is designed around a beautful and heartwarming short film titled A Letter to Fred by Green Shoe Studio, and a song written by Fred Stobaugh titled Sweet Lorraine. Students watch a short film, listen to song lyrics and talk about love and relationships.

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I would ask all teachers who use Film English to consider buying my book Film in Action as the royalties which I receive from sales help to keep the website completely free.

 

 

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

Learner type: Teens and adults

Time: 90 minutes

Activity: Speaking, watching a short film, and listening to a song

Topic: Relationships and love

Language: Love and relationships

Materials: Short film and song lyrics

Downloadable materials: a letter from fred lesson instructions     sweet lorraine lyrics

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Step 1

Tell your students they are going to watch the start of a short film in which record producer Jacob Colgan describes a competition, as they watch the film they should answer the following question:

What is the competition?

Play the film until 00.44.

 

A Letter From Fred from Green Shoe Studio on Vimeo.

 

Step 2

Pair your learners and ask them to discuss their answers to the questions. Answer – the Green Shoe Studio Competition is a singer-songwriter competition in which contestants have to upload their song video to YouTube and send a link to the Green Shoe Studio.

 

Step 3

Ask your students what they think Jacob means when he says they ”didn’t expect any entry like Fred’s”. Ask them to focus on the images they see after Jacob stops speaking. Show the first part of the film again and then put the students in small groups to discuss their ideas.

 

Step 4

Get feedback from the whole class on how they think Fred’s entry might be different.

 

Step 5

Tell the students they are going to watch the rest of the film. As they watch their task is to say how Fred’s entry was different and special. Show the film until 04:42.

 

Step 6

Get feedback from the whole class. Answer – Fred’s entry is different as he didn’t upload it to YouTube, but sent the lyrics in an envelope and explained that he wasn’t a musician or singer, but he’d written a song about his wife who had recently died.

 

Step 7

Tell your students they are going to watch the second part of the film again; this time their task is to answer the following questions:

1. How did Fred meet Lorraine?

2. When did they meet?

3. How long did they date before they met?

4. How long were they together?

5. How did Fred write the song?

6. Why did Jacob decide to record the song?

7. Why was Fred surprised?

Show the second part of the film until 04:42 again.

 

Step 8

Students discuss the questions in pairs and then go through the answers.

1.   She was a car hop at a root beer stand and she brought the trays to their car.

2.   In 1938.

3.   2 years.

4.   75 years.

5.   He was alone at home one night and the lyrics just came to him.

6.   Jacob realised that Fred’s wife had died recently and he was moved by the lyrics.

7.   Fred was surprised when Jacob got in touch to tell him that his studio was going to record his song professionally for free.

 

Step 9

Now tell your students they are going to watch the rest of the film in which they see the song being recorded and Fred listening to the song for the first time. Before they watch ask them the following question:

How do you think Fred reacts when he hears the professionally recorded version of his song for the first time?

As they watch the film they should answer the same question.

Show the rest of the film.

 

Step 10

Ask the students to discuss how Fred reacts.

 

Step 11

Give your students the lyrics to the song. Ask them to read the lyrics and ask you to explain any words they don’t understand.

 

Step 12

Show the part of the film in which Fred hears the song for the first time and ask the students to listen and read the lyrics at the same time.

 

Step 13

Ask the students how the film and the song make them feel.

 

Step 14

Write the expression “the love of my life” on the board and ask them if they know what it means. Explain that Lorraine was the love of Fred’s life. Ask them to think of a couple they know (either among their family or friends) who have been together for a long time and are still in love. Ask them to tell their partner about the couple and what makes their relationship special.

 

Step 15

Get feedback from the whole class on couples who have been in love for a long time.

 

I hope you enjoy this ESL 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

13 thoughts on “A Letter from Fred

  1. You guys are doing an incredible job! Keep it up… We are definitely incorporate this Lesson Plan during one of our classes. I was just taking time to explore your site! And it’s pretty awesome. We will def support your work.
    Jeff
    NICARAGUA

  2. I tried this lesson out today! wonderful experience! … had a few students sharing their grandparents’ love stories and an otherwise noisy class absolutely absorbed and crying!
    Thank you so much!

  3. This lesson had us all in tears this morning! Just a beautiful, and very moving story! You do a great job Kieran, and I gladly continue to support your phenomenal film lessons! Thank you for sharing your hard work with us ESL teachers.

  4. Pingback: Love | Pearltrees

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