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




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

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

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

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


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


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.


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