My Favourite Things (from The Sound of Music) to tell the difference between /s/, /z/ and /ɪz/

This activity is aimed at helping students tell the difference between /s/, /z/ (and /ɪz/) in plural endings (the same as in 3rd person singular present simple endings and possessive ‘s). It uses the song “My Favourite Things” from the film The Sound of Music, which makes a long list of plural things the singer allegedly loves.

Students are provided with the phonemic transcription of the singular word. By applying the rule, they can guess what sound(s)/phoneme(s) would be used to pronounce them in the plural. Then, they can check their answers against Julie Andrews’s performance, by paying special attention to the way she pronounces either /s/ or /z/. Can they tell the difference?

  • Exercise- click here
  • Key to answers- click here


Game of Thrones blooper spotted- Starbucks cup

Apparently, fans were shocked to find a Starbucks disposable coffee cup on the set of the latest Game of Thrones episode. Listen to this news report to know more about this blooper:

Annotated transcript (pay attention to the highlighted expressions)

  • Do you remember other bloopers you might have seen on film or TV?
  • What’s your take on the last part of the report? Would you say this blooper (or others) are intentional, or simply careless mistakes?

I, Daniel Blake- Ken Loach interview

Watch the trailer for I, Daniel Blake (to watch with subtitles in English, click here):

As you watch the trailer, write down any expressions related to work and unemployment. Then, check your answers against the transcript here.

Then, listen to this clip taken from an interview with filmmaker Ken Loach, the director of I, Daniel Blake, about the film. You can listen to the clip twice. Then, submit your answers through the Google Form.

Open form in new tab here.

Read the full transcript here.

When you check your answers, please pay attention to the feedback given to both right and wrong answers. It includes the quote from the interview that gives you the key to the right answer; definitions of words that might have been distractors (some false friends), as well as audio comments trying to clarify why that is the right answer, or dealing with ambiguities.

WAGOLL- film review: Mary Poppins Returns

To model writing a film review, I wanted to show my students ‘what a good one looks like’ (WAGOLL). I decided to use this review for Mary Poppins Returns.  In this case, it may not have been the best review I could find, but it served the purpose of illustrating the typical structure of a review.

I also wanted to provide students with the same explanations I would give them if I was explaining the positive points of the review in class. Even if I did go through them during classroom instruction, having an online document allowed them to access the information again, or for the first time if they had been unable to attend that particular session.

That is why I decided to create a Pages document on my iPad. First, I annotated it (highlighting relevant keywords, or underlining structural elements); then, I took a screenshot of the document, to get an image file, and uploaded it to Thinglink (open link in new tab here). Thinglink allows you to create interactive, media-rich images and videos, by adding text, audio, video, and/or links to specific parts of the image.

On the left-hand side of the document, headings to the paragraphs were added: that way, students can check the structure of the review. On the right-hand side, audio comments for each of the paragraphs were included, with a view to providing further clarification, or the reasons why some language resources and expressions had been/can be used.

This was the annotated/enhanced review (click on the picture to access all the interactive features):

Writing reviews- examples in real contexts

In this video you can find real examples of positive comments and adjectives to describe theatre plays and musicals. Many of these adjectives could be used as well to describe films or even books.

The pictures of the billboards were taken in London’s West End only some days ago to illustrate the language related to this topic in real use. Bear in mind, however, that these are all examples of rave reviews (extremely positive reviews), as they want to attract potential audiences.

pdf file of the slides here.

Some of the flyers we’ve used:

Remember you can use some of these tips to improve your writing tasks:

Películas para aprender inglés- Films to learn English

This is a completely subjective list of films that may be helpful to improve your level of English: whether because the actors and actresses’ accents are clear and nice (or I especially like them anyway), or because the subject matter of the film and the language involved is easy to understand.

The films selected are arranged in chronological order. The ones with this symbol next to the title are the ones I especially recommend in terms of language level and accent.

The Great Dictator (1940)

Rebecca (1940)

To Be or Not To Be (1942)

Roman Holiday (1953) [*****]

Sabrina (1954)

To Catch a Thief (1955)

Love in the Afternoon (1957)

Charade (1963)

Mary Poppins (1964)

My Fair Lady (1964)

Take the Money and Run (1969)

Radio Days (1987)

When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Peter’s Friends (1992)

In the Name of the Father (1993)

The Remains of the Day (1993)

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) [*****]

Gattaca (1997)

My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)

The Full Monty (1997)

Shakespeare in Love (1998) [*****]

Notting Hill (1999)

The Sixth Sense (1999)

Billy Elliot (2000)

Moulin Rouge! (2001) [*****]

The Others (2001) [*****]

Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) [*****]

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2002) (and the whole Harry Potter saga) [*****]

Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

V for Vendetta (2005)

Match Point (2005) [*****]

The Queen (2006)

The Prestige (2006)

Black Swan (2010)

The King’s Speech (2010) [*****]

(subtitled in English:

The Iron Lady (2011)

The Impossible (2012)

(subtitled in English:

Hitchcock (2012)

The Imitation Game (2014) [*****]

(subtitled in English:

Hidden Figures (2015)

Suffragette (2015)


(First published October 2013, last update November 2018)

Películas para aprender francés- Films pour apprendre le français

Les quatre cent coups (1959)

Jules et Jim (1961)

Foutaises (1989): Court-métrage de Jean Pierre Jeunet, réalisateur de Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain, dont la première partie s’inspire de Foutaises.


Sous-titrée français ici

Le dîner de cons (1998)

Bande annonce sous-titrée ici

Le fabuleux destin d’ Amélie Poulain (2001)

Les Choristes (2004)

Long Dimanche de Fiançailles (2004)

La môme (2007)

Odette Toulemonde (2007)

Bienvenue chez les ch’tis (2008)

Entre les Murs (2008)

Rien à déclarer (2010)

Le prénom (2012)

Intouchables (2012)

Qu’est-ce qu’on a fait au Bon Dieu? (2014)

Le Petit Prince (2015)

Plus d’info, et liens pour regarder des films:

(Publicado Abril 2013, última actualización Noviembre 2018)