Christmas 2018- ads and songs for the classroom

However Christmassy you may or may not be, this is a time of the year when lots of audiovisual texts and materials are released, which gives teachers very nice opportunities to use them in class. These are some possible ideas:

John Lewis’ s ad 2018: 

John Lewis released yet again another heart-warming ad, featuring Sir Elton John. The real Elton John opens this backwards look at his career through a series of flashbacks, á la Benjamin Button, and with a string of John’ s look-alikes. The ad comes to a close with Elton John as a child, being given his first ever piano.  The soundtrack to the ad is provided by his hit song “Your Song”.

The slogan (Some gifts are more than just a gift) may be playing with the two meanings of ‘gift’ (present / talent).

As to the meaning of ‘gift’ as ‘present’, Elton John himself donated a piano to St Pancras station in London back in 2016.

Classroom questions and activities:

  • What’s the gift you liked the most? Did it have an impact just at the time of receiving it, or later in life?
  • What are the reasons why people like presents?

Cadbury ad 2018- Secret Santa:

  • What’s the fun in Secret Santa? 
  • What are the reasons why families / friends / colleagues do it? 
  • What strategies can you use to leave your presents / notes and not be noticed? 

Wayfair- Santa caught red-handed (sort of):

  • What would you do if you found Santa / the Three Wise Men in your living room?
  • How can Santa /the Three Wise Men deliver presents to children everywhere in just one night? 

But then, after all this consumerism, some reflection on alternative presents may be in order. This speaker discusses in this clip his DIY take on presents for his family and loved ones:

Transcript here

BBC Christmas 2017:

Ideas for activities and resources here.

Previous years’ ads and resources:

 

Using ads for teaching/learning English

Ads (both print and TV) can be a helpful tool to teach/learn languages. Basically, because businesses want you to remember their product or service. That’s why they use a whole range of strategies, to make an impact on potential buyers. In the field of language learning, we can use those strategies to our advantage, to help us remember key vocabulary/collocations, and associate pictures to words.

First of all, TV ads tend to be short, so the same ad can be watched several times, and at different points in time, to reinforce relevant vocabulary, pay attention to stress and pronunciation…

On top of that, they create a context, or a short fiction: that context may be helpful to remember dialogues, slogans…

Last but not least, advertising campaigns tend to have a catchy slogan, sometimes playing with alliteration or rhyme, which can help us remember words/expressions. Besides, the same slogan is used over and over again.

These websites can be useful for both teachers and students as resources:

  • http://www.tellyads.com/: Comprehensive website for UK TV ads since 2006 (although it does have some vintage ads as well). It tends to be updated daily. You can search by brand name (alphabetically), or just have a look at the 20 most recent ads.
  • You can also use http://tvadvertsuk.com/

World ads:

Some of my favourite TV ads:

 

Specsavers (Opticians)- Should’ve gone to Specsavers (a good way to practise perfect infinitives with modal verbs)

 

 

Sainsbury’s- Mog’s Christmas Calamity

 

 

 

An activity I’ve done some times is to play some ads to students: then, ask them to identify certain strategies which feature frequently in ads, as well as write down interesting / relevant vocabulary / collocations.

Exercise- associate ad- strategy used – vocabulary

The objective was twofold: Ss were expected to be able to analyse the kind of persuasive strategies and language that advertising uses to entice consumers into buying; later, they were asked to write and perform their own ads, using some of those strategies, and trying to use language they had seen in the ads.

Bulbs ad

Would you like to watch the ad again? How many gadgets, inventions and scientific discoveries can you spot?

H/T to The English Blog

M5U6- travel- Heathrow airport Xmas ad

You may watch this Christmas ad from Heathrow airport below:

Can you list all the places in the airport / steps in the process of arriving home that these two characters go through?

Xmas ads in the classroom

Here’s a selection of this year’s UK Christmas ads that you may use in the classroom:

Students may write their own letters to Mrs. Claus asking for presents for somebody else, not for themselves. They may also roleplay what happened after the incident with the shoe (how did Anna react when Tiger chew her shoe? What did Jake say?) or after receiving the present.

Good for primary, for example, to list all the animals that appear on the video. Students might also write a short description of how Buster felt from his point of view.

You have some more Xmas ads ideas and resources here:

For ads from previous years, you may visit

Other Christmas resources:

Using a green screen in the classroom

For quite some time I had been toying with the idea of using a green screen for some activity, or for the end product of a project. And finally I’ve had the chance to do it both with my year 1 students and with some of the teachers learning English at CARLEE.

I bought a reasonably priced green screen from a well-known online retailer. I have some trouble getting it to stick to the frame, but until I come up with a better option, good old duct tape will have to do. It’s not the smartest of setups, I should have ironed the screen, I know, but I get by.

screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-21-04-56

Then, I bought the Green Screen app by Do Ink (not too expensive anyway, but I’m sure there must be others, and for other platforms as well). Then, it’s as easy as A,B,C. You simply record the video with the “actors” playing their roles in front of the green screen with the usual camera (in my case, of my ipad). Then, students have to choose up to three pictures to be used as their background. Of course, these pictures need to be related to the product they’re creating. You may even trim the video or the pictures a bit, or resize the video in case some parts outside the chroma key were recorded. Then, you mix the two elements, and there you have it! A lovely video! It’s a good excuse to foster speaking, creativity…

Ads- selling strategies

You may watch some of the most interesting ads we watched today, focusing on the strategies they use to sell their product, and interesting expressions they may use.