What makes a good life?

I came across this Ted Video this morning and decided to prepare a class activity about it. The topic is ideal for my group of teachers and non-teachers who attend a B2 speaking course.


LEVEL: B2 and above

AGES: 16 and above

TIME: 90 minutes approx

MATERIALS: youtube video projected in class

GROUPING: pairs, small groups and whole class

You can download the lesson plan here or read it below.


a) Pre-watching (15 minutes)

Ask students these questions. They should answer in small groups, then do some whole group feedback. I suggest you form the groups attending to age. Answers might vary according to life experience.

  1. What keeps us healthy and happy trough life? 
  2. If you were going to invest in your future self, where would you put your time and your energy?
  3. What are your most important goals in life?

b) Watch until minute 1:17. (5 minutes)

4. Ask this question and get whole class feedback: Are you surprised with what is said in the video?

c) Now watch until 1:57. (20 minutes)

5. Ask this question: How can we analyse the entire life of somebody? (whole class question)

6. Ask them to work in the groups you organised during the prewatching. They have 10 minutes to design a plan to study 100 people lives, from their childhood till they die. They also have to focus on their level of happiness.

7. Choose a spokesperson per group and ask them to explain their conclusions.

d) Watch until minute 6:01 (15 minutes)

8. Before watching, ask them to gather as many details as possible about how the project is conducted.

9. What did they find out about these people?

10. What lessons do you think they’ve learnt from this study?

e) Watch until the end. (25 minutes)

11.Discuss these questions in groups:

    1. What is the lesson they learnt? Give as many details as possible
    2. Do you agree with this lesson?
    3. What’s the effect of long-lasting and close relationships in our lives?

12. Now you know the secret, what can you do to achieve a better life? Design a plan. 



Writing a blogpost with B2 students.

20131209-121105.jpgThis is a rather long lesson plan for B2 students, though it can be adapted for B1 and higher levels. It is the result of two objectives I had in mind: first, writing an article, and second, doing some collaborative work on a blog.


TIME: 1 hour

SKILLS: writing

MATERIALS: printed model article, some slideshows (shown below), projector, pc and whitescreen



Students revise a model article, they have to work on its structure, cohesion and coherence, vocabulary, etc. Once they have shared their discoveries, the teacher has to help them find out other discourse markers, topic sentences, etc. I used one found on NEF Advanced, Oxford.


The teacher shows the first two slideshows you can find on this article. With the help of the teacher, they have to relate what they have seen in the model text with what they are seeing at the moment.


The teacher explains the use of wordpress with the last slideshow (it’s in Spanish as I had prepared it for a session with teachers of several languages) of the same post as before. We have to expect some negative reactions as most of them have never used wordpress, our mission here is to reassure them and motivate them to try. It’s important that we provide them with a channel to express their doubts and questions, we are using our facebook group, and there they do not only get my help, but other classmates’. Anyway, I’ve promised I will publish myself the blogposts of those who try and can’t manage to publish their posts.


Explain their task.

Your task

  • Select a topic you can talk about. Some ideas might be: your job, studies, hobbies, a place you have visited or you would like to visit, etc.
  • Write a blog post of about 250 words (don’t copy from Wikipedia or similar) using your own words.
  • Add at least one related image, link and video. Slideshow presentations or audio using soundcloud are optional.
  • Send me an email when you have sent it for revision. I will revise it and publish (you can not do it on your own).
  • If you have problems with media resources (video, images, etc.), leave them as a link and I will solve it for you.
  • When you see your mates’ works, please comment all of them, say your opinion, if you like them or not. There will be time for this (until Christmas holidays).
  • The deadline is the 12th of December.
  • After this deadline there will be time to use the comments section to ask and answer and create some interaction among them.


Now you have to invite them as “contributors” to your blog, thus, they will be able to write and add links, but not to publish posts. This way you can revise what they produce and make any necessary changes.

The deadline for the articles is still open today (December, 9th 2013), but here you can see what they’ve written so far and what other students have done previously.


Writing Stories

I’ve designed this two-hour lesson plan to teach how to write a story. I hope you like it.

Aim: Writing a Story

Level: Intermediate – Upper-intermediate

Materials: Google Docs document, slideshow presentation, photocopies

This is the lesson plan I wrote. At the end of the lesson we ask them to write a 200 word story starting like this:

The most wonderlful thing of life is that you always know how your day starts, but you never know how it is going to finish.

Saint Valentine’s Day

For this special day I’ve designed a 30-minute lesson plan for my upper-intermediate students, though it could be used with intermediate and advanced learners too.

The lesson plan includes the use of vocabulary referring to body parts and comparative and superlative structures.

I’ve chosen Bruno Mars’ song “The Way You Are” because me and my students really like it. Here you are the videoclip of the song.

Finally, I leave here the lesson plan, you can download it if you wish to. I would also appreciate that you left a comment if you use this activity in your own class saying if it worked.