Category Archives: Film

A look at Some ‘Fantastic Beasts’

“Anticipation for ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ has been so high that fans began dressing up as its main character, Newt Scamander, based solely on the trailer. That surprised its star, Eddie Redmayne, when he attended Comic-Con International in July and looked out into the audience only to see several Newts staring back at him.” M. Murphy, New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

newts-thunderbird-frank-his-wings-are-powerful-enough-to-create-storms-when-in-full-flight-photo-sun-co-uk

newts-thunderbird-frank-his-wings-are-powerful-enough-to-create-storms-when-in-full-flight-photo-sun-co-uk

 

Excerpt:Eddie Redmayne’s Guide to ‘Fantastic Beasts’ By Mekado Murphy

 “Ms. Rowling’s story follows a self-proclaimed magizoologist who was expelled from Hogwarts but eventually wrote one of the school’s most important textbooks. He has been traveling the world collecting, studying and building relationships with all kinds of magical beasts, toting them in a suitcase as part of his mission to educate wizards about why beasts are so important to them. But when some creatures escape and take to the streets of 1926 New York, the mishap could expose the wizarding world and lead to war.

While the beasts are at the heart of the film’s title, humans are at the heart of its story, said David Heyman,  a producer on the Harry Potter movies: The ‘Potter films and this film all emanate from a place of character. Newt is an outsider, a bit like all of [J. K.’s] characters. That’s why he feels best able to connect with the beasts, though eventually he connects with people as well.the-bowtruckle-credit-warner-bros

The Bowtruckle

While Newt knows he shouldn’t have favorites among the beasts, there is one he’s quite fond of; the skinny, plantlike Bowtruckle, which is difficult to spot thanks to its ability to blend into foliage. They eat only insects and are loyal to their handlers…There’s a specific Bowtruckle called Pickett who Newt loves. Pickett has attachment issues, and Newt lets him swing along in his top pocket.

the-swooping-evil-credit-warner-bros

The Swooping Evil

Butterfly meets pterodactyl in this colorful winged beast with the ability to suck out brains. He’s like this spiky ball with a thread that hangs down from Newt’s finger. When you spin him out, almost like a yo-yo, he unfurls into this terrifying creature.

the-demiguise-credit-warner-bros

The Demiguise

This beast has large eyes like an owl but otherwise moves like and resembles a primate, hairy and agile. It has this capacity to go from being visible to invisible, so their pelts can be used to make invisibility cloaks… That’s why the Demiguise is often hunted and remains very rare.

the-niffler-credit-warner-bros

The Niffler

The Niffler is a small furry creature with a platypus-like snout and an appetite for shiny things.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions:  Ask students to examine the title of the post and of the actual article they are about to read. Then, have them  examine the photos. Ask students to write a paragraph describing what they think this article will discuss. Students can use a Pre-reading organizer for assistance.

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. This is  her debut as a screenwriter.
  2. He found that weirdly shocking.
  3. Newt is seen toting them in a suitcase.
  4. The mishap could expose the wizarding world and lead to war.
  5. He feels best able to connect with the beasts.
  6. The ‘Potter’ films and this film all emanate from a place of character.
  7. He spent time observing animal handlers in the zoo.
  8. He incorporated his research into his character.
  9. A baby anteater proved inspiring.
  10. Newt is quite fond of the Bowtruckle.

vocab Freeology

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following paragraphs taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

While the ___are at the ___of the film’s title,___ are at the heart of its story, said David Heyman, a___ on the Harry Potter movies: The ‘Potter’ films and this film all emanate from a place of character. Newt is an ___ a bit like all of [J. K.’s] characters. That’s why he feels best able to connect with the___ though eventually he___ with people as well.  To learn how to___ with them, Mr. Redmayne  spent time at ___parks observing animal handlers. He ___his research into his character, and into the movie.

WORD LIST:  connects, producer,  wildlife, humans, outsider, work, incorporated, beasts,  heart   beasts,

 Grammar Focus

Grammar: Identifying Articles

Directions: Have students choose the correct articles from those provided to fill in the blanks.  THE/A/AN

___beasts are at___ heart of___ film.

Newt is___ outsider.

This is her debut as___screenwriter.

He has been traveling___world.

He was___producer on___“Harry Potter” movies.

The animals travel in___suitcase.

There’s___specific Bowtruckle called Pickett.

III. Post Reading Activities

Discussion

Directions: Place students in groups Have each group list 3  questions they would like to ask any person mentioned in the article. Groups share questions as a class.

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading.  Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Film | Tags:

Suicide Squad: a fun, grimy antihero mess!

“The beautiful thing about Suicide Squad is how, deep down at its core, it’s the realest comic book movies get: A movie about people who need people. Even the irredeemable degenerates, the villains of the world who’ve not only violated the rules of society but set them on fire.” J. Yamato, The Daily Beast

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

The Suicide Squad

The Suicide Squad

 

Excerpt: ‘Suicide Squad’ Review By Jen Yamato

“Suicide Squad is probably not a comic book blockbuster for the easily triggered. Cold-blooded murder, familicide, good old-fashioned assault, psychopathy caused by extreme domestic abuse, and various other ills have landed the country’s most violent criminals in Belle Reve Prison, locked away to rot forever for very good reason. And among the human cesspool of evildoers chomping at he bit to break out are a rough and tumble lineup of certain metahumans with superhuman abilities… the world is on high alert.

Katana, the beautiful slashing ninja

Katana, the beautiful slashing ninja

We’re introduced to the antiheroes of Suicide Squad in order of importance, with all the subtlety of a punch in the face. There’s Smith as Deadshot, exchanging tough guy banter with Belle Reve’s sleazy head guard (Ike Barinholtz) … Robbie’s lethal, lithe, and unpredictable Harley Quinn is next, perched like a caged bird on a rope fashioned from her own straightjacket… all get their (anti)hero moment as they begrudgingly learn to lean on their teammates.

The sinister Joker.

The sinister Joker.

There’s Diablo (Jay Hernandez), an Angeleno wracked with guilt over misusing his gift for starting huge fires with his bare hands; Boomerang (Jai Courtney), the boorish Aussie criminal armed with—you guessed it—a boomerang; Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) a fearsome reptile-man who wears a velour suit;

Delevigne’s hungry evil eyes as the Witch.

Delevigne’s hungry evil eyes as the Witch.

Slipknot (Adam Beach), the first guy to panic in battle; and Katana (Karen Fukuhara), Rick Flag’s samurai sword-wielding righthand woman. Needless to say stylistic flourishes, like unstable villains, are bountiful in Suicide Squad. The fun is in letting yourself go along with every silly bit.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Have students  examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. DC  has a fun, grimy antihero team.
  2. All of them are deranged.
  3. This is different from  the brawny Man of Steel  comics.
  4. Two were serious superhero blockbusters last year.
  5. Suicide Squad is probably not a comic book blockbuster.
  6. The squad is the perfect recruiting pool for a shadowy government.
  7. That was before a mutant zombie alien stabbed the hero.
  8. June Moone is a sorceress.
  9. They secured these supervillains with remote controlled neck bombs.
  10. The film had many flashbacks and montages.
Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

Reading Comprehension

Word -Recognition

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following paragraphs taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

Needless to say styles/stylistic flourishes, like unstable/unstoppable villains/villages, are bountiful/beautiful in Suicide Squad. The fun is in letting yourself go along with every silly/silliness bit. Do you like monsters/montages and flashbacks? Ayer loves them. He cannot get enough of them. He leans/leads on both far too heavily for far too long in a movie so stuffed/stiffed to the rafters with colorful characters, there’s barely/bare any room for a serviceable plot.

Grammar Focus

Fill-ins

Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.

It hardly___who the Suicide Squad is fighting or why: These ___just don’t feel like they belong in the same ZIP Code as DC’s gritty urban ___ let alone the same movie. One is a dark and ___witch with a ghoulish hunch and black magic, the other a gigantic___with horns and extend-lava arms. There’s___ in Delevigne’s hungry evil eyes but not much else, making her a___supervillain to set off the Squad.

WORD LIST: demon, matters,   menace, lame, demonic, antiheroes,

supervillains,

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion/Writing Activities

Directions: Place students in groups and have them discuss the following comment from the article.   Groups may share results as a class.

  1. “It hardly matters who the Suicide Squad is fighting or why: These supervillains just don’t feel like they belong in the same ZIP Code as DC’s gritty urban antiheroes, let alone the same movie. One is a dark and demonic witch with a ghoulish hunch and black magic, the other a gigantic demon with horns and extend-lava arms. There’s menace in Delevigne’s hungry evil eyes but not much else, making her a lame supervillain to set off the Squad.”
  2.  Have each group list 3  questions they would like to ask any person mentioned in the article.

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading  and one thing they did not understand in the reading.  Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Film

Disney’s “Inside Out” Relates to Adults Also

“…writer and director Pete Docter of Pixar reached out to us to talk over an idea for a film that would portray how emotions work inside a person’s head and at the same time shape a person’s outer life with other people. He wanted to do this all in the mind of an 11-year-old girl as she navigated a few difficult days in her life…. We ended up serving as scientific consultants for the movie, Inside Out, which was recently released.” D. Keltner and P. Ekman, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Film Inside:Out- Adults have Emotions  Too-Disney

Film Inside:Out- Adults have Emotions Too-Disney

Inside:Out- Pixar images

Inside:Out- Pixar images

Excerpt: The Science of ‘Inside Out’ Dacher Keltner and Paul Ekman, The NYT

“Our conversations with Mr. Docter and his team were generally about the science related to questions at the heart of the film: How do emotions govern the stream of consciousness? How do emotions color our memories of the past? What is the emotional life of an 11-year-old girl like? (Studies find that the experience of positive emotions begins to drop precipitously in frequency and intensity at that age.)

Riley’s personality is principally defined by Joy, and this is fitting with what we know scientifically. Studies find that our identities are defined by specific emotions, which shape how we perceive the world, how we express ourselves and the responses we evoke in others.

But the real star of the film is Sadness, for “Inside Out” is a film about loss and what people gain when guided by feelings of sadness. Riley loses friends and her home in her move from Minnesota.

Image from film Inside:Out-Disney

Image from film Inside:Out-Disney

Emotions organize — rather than disrupt — rational thinking. Traditionally, in the history of Western thought, the prevailing view has been that emotions are enemies of rationality and disruptive of cooperative social relations.

The Science of Inside Out-Credit Gérard DuBois-NYT

The Science of Inside Out-Credit Gérard DuBois-NYT

We see this in “Inside Out.” Sadness gradually takes control of Riley’s thought processes about the changes she is going through. This is most evident when Sadness adds blue hues to the images of Riley’s memories of her life in Minnesota. Scientific studies find that our current emotions shape what we remember of the past. Other studies find that it is anger (more so than a sense of political identity) that moves social collectives to protest and remedy injustice.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Have students  examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Tasks

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. More poignantly, she has entered the preteen years.
  2. We do have some quibbles with the portrayal of sadness.
  3. Sadness is seen as a drag.
  4. How do emotions govern the stream of consciousness?
  5. The film is about how five emotions grapple for control of the mind of an 11-year-old girl.
  6. Riley’s personality is principally defined by Joy.
  7. The film shows  the full array of emotions.
  8. An angry outburst causes Riley to storm upstairs.
  9. Sadness leads Riley to reunite with her parents.
  10. “Inside Out” offers a new approach to sadness.
Vocabulary Organizer by Against the Odds

Vocabulary Organizer by Against the Odds

Reading Comprehension: Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following paragraphs taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

Other ___find that it is___(more so than a sense of
political identity) that___social collectives to protest and
remedy injustice. Research that one of us has ___has
found that expressions of ___trigger others to ___when we’ve
acted in ways that momentarily violate social norms.
This insight, too, is___ in the movie. You might be
___to think of sadness as a state defined by inaction and
passivity — the ___of any purposeful action. But in “Inside
Out,” as in real life, ___prompts people to unite in response
to loss.

Word List
absence, embarrassment, studies, conducted, dramatized, sadness, anger, forgive, inclined, moves.

Grammar Focus: Using Adjectives to describe pictures

Directions: Have students choose a picture from this lesson and write a descriptive paragraph using adjectives.

III. Post Reading Tasks

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?
Where does the action/event take place?
When does the action/event take place?
Why did the action/event occur?
How did the action/event occur?

Discussion/Writing Exercise

Directions: Place students in groups and have them answer the following questions. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the following discussion topics.
1.The following statements were taken from the article. Rephrase each statement in your own words, then discuss the meaning with the members of your group.

“We do have some quibbles with the portrayal of sadness in “Inside Out.” Sadness is seen as a drag, a sluggish character that Joy literally has to drag around through Riley’s mind. In fact, studies find that sadness is associated with elevated physiological arousal, activating the body to respond to loss. And in the film, Sadness is frumpy and off-putting. More often in real life, one person’s sadness pulls other people in to comfort and help.”

“But the truth is that emotions guide our perceptions of the world, our memories of the past and even our moral judgments of right and wrong, most typically in ways that enable effective responses to the current situation. For example, studies find that when we are angry we are acutely attuned to what is unfair, which helps animate actions that remedy injustice.”

2. Which emotion is the most constant in your character? (e.g., anger, happiness, sadness,) Why do you think you feel this way most of the time?

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about emotions from the reading, two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Film | Tags: