This ELT lesson plan is designed around a short film titled Taking Flight by Brandon Oldenberg for Mooonbot Studios and the themes of childhood games, grandparents and grandchildren. Students watch a short film, predict a story, retell a story, discuss the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren, and discuss a short film.
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: All ages
Time: 90 minutes
Activity: Watching a short film, predicting a story, retelling a story, discussing family relationships
Topic: Childhood, grandparents and grandchildren
Language: Vocabulary related to family
Materials: Short film
Downloadable materials: taking-flight-lesson-instructions
Support Film English
Put your students into pairs and ask them to come up with as many words for members of the family as they can.
Go through the family and practise pronunciation. If students haven’t come up with grandfather and grandchild, elicit or explain them.
Dictate the following questions:
- How would you describe the relationship between a father and a child?
- How would you describe the relationship between a grandfather and a grandchild?
- How and why is the relationship between a father and a child, and the relationship between a grandfather and a grandchild different?
Get students to compare the questions they have written down. Check they have the correct questions and drill them.
Ask students to discuss the questions with a partner.
Hold a plenary discussion based on the questions.
Tell your students about your relationship with one of your grandparents.
Ask your students to tell their partner about their relationship with their grandparents.
Hold a plenary discussion on the students’ relationship with their grandparents.
Tell your students they are going to watch the start of a short film in which they see a grandfather, father and son. As they watch their task is to try to understand what is happening and think about how they would describe the relationship between the three members of the family. Show the film until: 01:55
Get feedback from your students on the story the film tells and the relationship between the characters. Elicit or explain that the father seems to have a lot of work, is stressed and doesn’t have much time for his son, and the son seems to feel neglected by his father and not very keen on spending the day with his grandfather. However, the grandfather seems very eager to look after his grandson.
Ask your students if the situation illustrated in the film is a typical one in their country.
Go back to the point in the film you paused at when the grandfather is taking his grandson in a wagon to have adventures. Tell them that the adventures are going to be very exciting and intrepid. Put your students into small groups and ask them to predict what adventures they will have. Encourage them to imaginative and creative.
Get a member of each group to explain the adventures the grandfather and grandson will have.
Tell your students they are going to watch the rest of the film; as they watch they should compare the adventures they see with the adventures they created. Show the rest of the film.
Get students to compare the adventures shown in the film with their own.
Tell your students they are going to watch the second part of the film again; this time they should try to remember as many details of the film as they can. Show the film again.
Get students to retell the story to each other in as much detail as possible.
Show the film again, but this time pause at key moments and get students to describe what is happening.
Ask your students to discuss the following questions in small groups:
- Did you like the film? Why/why not?
- How did the film make you feel?
- Did the film remind you of your childhood? In what way?
- Does the film have a message?
Hold a plenary discussion session based on the questions from the previous stage.
In pairs, ask students to describe any fantasies they had or games they used to play as a child.
Hold a plenary session based on the fantasies they had or the games they played as a child.
Give students a link to the film; ask them to watch it at home and write a narrative based on it.
I hope you enjoy this ESL lesson.