Film English: Love in a Heartbeat

As Valentine’s Day is around the corner I thought I would post some lessons regarding love. I’ve always found love to be a good topic for students whether you have experienced it or not, believe in love or not – we all have some opinion to give.


to have a change of heart about smt
to have a heart-to-heart with sb
to have a heart of stone
to have (one's) heart in smt
to follow (one's) heart
a childhood sweetheart
to pour (one's) heart out to sb
to be young at heart
to wear (one's) heart on (one's) sleeve

This is a lesson I have taken and adapted from which is a very good website to use to add a little media magic to your classroom.

First, I start off by writing the title of the film, asking the students what does ‘in a heartbeat’ mean (something very quick) and holding a short discussion about love. Do you believe in love? What would you say to someone who doesn’t believe in love? Have you ever been in love? What is love to you? Is love forever/eternal?

Next give them the worksheet and put them in pairs. Students must now read the sentences with the expressions and discuss the meaning of the expressions. After 5/10 minutes get some feedback, clarify meaning and elicit some examples to write on the board. Now get the students to write some sentences about themselves or people they know using the expressions.

Next tell students they are going to watch a short animation about a love story. Make sure they understand the questions by going through each one. Students watch the film, compare answers in pairs and then get some feedback.

Now put them in groups to discuss the questions. When they are done, hold a class discussion with the feedback.

Lesson Plan: Lexicography (B2+)

Hmmmmm, what is lexicography, you ask?

‘the activity or occupation of compiling dictionaries.’ – Sounds like fun, right?!

This is a nice little Ted Talk lesson focused on vocabulary and how words are selected in our dictionaries, also focusing on a discussion on what words should/shouldn’t be put into the dictionary.

Here are some new words added to the Oxford English dictionary in 2018 you can share with your students. Why do you think they were selected? What do you think is the criteria for adding a word to the dictionary? Are these words useful?

slimeball (n) – A repulsive or despicable person.

‘My boss is a complete slimeball – he always hits on me and he’s married!’

sausage party (n) -An event or group in which the majority of participants are male.

‘this is a total sausage party, let’s leave’

munted (adj) -In a state of disastrous disintegration; broken or ruined.

‘with government departments buying overpriced rubbish, no wonder the budget is all munted’

chemsex, n. -Sexual activity engaged in while under the influence of stimulant drugs

‘the majority of interviewees had a history of recreational drug use prior to becoming involved in chemsex’

facepalm, v. – A gesture in which the palm of one’s hand is brought to one’s face as an expression of dismay, exasperation, embarrassment.

‘did anyone else facepalm during this scene?’

crowd-surfer, n. – A person who engages in crowd-surfing at a concert.

‘I was recording a video of my favorite band when a crowd-surfer kicked my phone out of my hand’

Get students to check the questions before watching the video. Watch the video and then go through the answers. Put students into groups to discuss the questions and then get some feedback. If you have any time left, use the extension task below (it’s hilariously fun).


Game: Balderdash

Play in groups. One student will be the leader of the group. The teacher will give the leader of each group and set of words and definitions. The leader will give the word to the group (but not the definition!). Everyone must invent a definition for the word. The leader should write correct definition and then mix with the other definitions. The group must then decide the correct definition. Whoever chooses the correct definition gets a point. The student with the most points wins.

Lesson Plan: Lying (B1-B2)

If you’re partner hasn’t been eating very healthily for the last few weeks and asks you ‘Do I look fat today?’, what do you say? If you tell the truth, you’ll ruin their day (and probably your sex life) or maybe they will appreciate the honesty – who knows.

You see your friend’s partner on the street kissing another person – What do you do? Most people would tell their friend immediately but should you? is it your business? could it jeopardise your friendship?

You’re gay and not ready to come out but people are asking you? Sure, you could tell the truth but can you wholeheartedly trust the people you love to accept you? What are the short-term/long-term consequences?

We are all taught from a child that lying is wrong but then why is it so easy? We all do it. We do it to protect ourselves, we do it to protect others and we do it because sometimes telling the truth feels like giving up the control in a situation.

and so, is lying inherently bad?

These are some questions and situations I like to discuss with my students at the beginning of the class before eliciting some good vocab – for example;

to tell a lie
to tell the truth
to tell a whopper/a tall tale
to fib / tell a fib (UK)
to detect a lie
a white lie
to get away with a lie
to get caught (in a lie)

After this, get them to discuss the questions with a partner and then pre-teach the vocabulary on the worksheet, get them to match to the definitions and maybe make some example sentences together if they are finding the vocab too difficult.

Next, tell them they are going to watch a talk about children lying – Ask them ‘Do you think children lie more than adults or adults lie more than children – why?’ – hold a little discussion with your class and then get them to take a look at the questions before watching the video.

After you have gone through the answers and checked their understanding of what was said in the talk – have them discuss the questions in groups and get some feedback.


If I have some time left, I usually play 3 truths and a lie. If you don’t know this game, it’s very fun! Do an example for your students. Write 4 things about yourself, 3 true and 1 lie. Ask them to try and detect the lie, hold a small discussion and then reveal who is right. Put your students in groups and ask them to do the same.

I have met JK Rowling. (t)

I have lived in Italy. (t)

I have been a teacher for 7 years. (f)

I have met Amy Winehouse. (t)

Phrasal Verbs for Emotions/Feelings

Phrasal verbs, phrasal verbs, phrasal verbs! I love phrasal verbs but I feel like most students overlook their importance. Phrasal verbs are a very important part of the English language, there are over 10,000 of them, they are often used in spoken English, and they are probably the reason why you find it so hard to understand when English speakers are talking to you. So here are 10 common phrasal verbs connected to emotions and feelings. Try to use them the next time you’re speaking English

to cheer up

Meaning: to make yourself or somebody else happy when feeling sad

E.g. ‘I took my friend to the pub last week to cheer him up after he broke up with his girlfriend

to lash out at someone

Meaning: to attack someone physically or verbally because you’ve had a bad day.

E.g. ‘My sister always lashes out at me when she is in a bad mood

to crack up

Meaning: to suddenly laugh; laugh without control because it was just so damn funny

E.g. ‘I cracked up when my sister fell down the stairs

to calm down

Meaning: to become less angry or upset

E.g. ‘I try to count down from 10 when I am angry to calm down

to choke up

Meaning: to almost cry. That moment when you want to cry but other people are around and you have to remain strong.

E.g. ‘I choked up like five times while I was watching Coco

to let someone down

Meaning: to disappoint someone.

E.g. ‘I let my friend down yesterday because it was his birthday and I forgot to message him ‘Happy Birthday’.

to grow on someone

Meaning: to gradually like something or someone; to slowly like or appreciate someone/something.

E.g. ‘It usually takes some time for people to grow on me.

to bottle up

Meaning: to not express your emotions.

E.g. ‘I know it is not healthy but I usually bottle up my feelings.

to goof off/around

Meaning: to not focus; to be silly; to watch funny cat videos on youtube when you should be doing your homework ;p.

E.g. ‘When I was at school, I was a very lazy student. I always used to goofoff/around in class.

to lighten up/loosen up

Meaning: to be less serious and more fun

E.g. ‘I wish my friend would lighten up/loosen up a little and come to the pub with me but he just wants to study all the time.