Review: Veslio video lessons

I do love a good video-based lesson. Jamie Keddie at lessonstream does them really well. Kieran Donaghy’s lessons on Film English are good for focusing on certain themes. Vocabulary in Chunks and AllatC are two great blogs sharing video lesson ideas – the latter isn’t updated much now though. There are lot more video related content around (like the ISL Collective video quizzes or the listening tasks on TubeQuizard), but there’s always room for more.

Veslio offers ‘modern English language lesson plans based on real-world videos for teachers with teenage or adult students’. Nik Peachey recently endorsed it on his LinkedIn feed so I blagged a promo code off the creators to check it out.

Layout and feel

The layout is very slick – it’s easy to navigate and they’ve kept it simple. It has a very professional feel to it – I like the way that the lesson plans for each lesson have been embedded into a viewer, so you can get a good idea of what’s on offer. Throughout using the site I only came across one tech issue, which was with a YouTube video which wasn’t embedded due to copyright, but this was a one-off. (more…)

Lesson idea: crazy recipes

I feel like I say this a lot, but thanks to ELT-cation (Svetlana) for yet another great lesson idea. Your post on Wordless Videos for ELT was awesome.

I used the Western Spaghetti video from PES as inspiration for a crazy recipe task…

The basis of the task was for students to…

1) choose a dish they know well, write down the ingredients

2) think of a theme (sports, school, music, etc)

3) relate each ingredient to the theme – so for a school theme bread might be an exercise book, pepper might be chopped up pencil lead, etc

4) Write the recipe and illustrate

5) post-it note vote on the best/strangest recipe

Svetlana’s post came along at the perfect time for our module on cooking. It was a great end of term task for the students. They produced some really creative work that on the whole was pretty accurate and included plenty of target language for cooking processes. Thanks for planning my weekend lessons Svetlana! I guess that was a gift from one British Council to another!


Lesson idea: Tomlinson’s text-driven approach

In Developing Materials for Language Teaching (2013) Tomlinson introduces a text-driven approach to materials development. He goes into quite a bit of detail regarding text selection, offers a suggested framework for the approach and provides a practical example (pages 99-114). I won’t attempt to summarise, I’ll just say read the chapter! It was the most useful and applicable reading I undertook on my recent MA course.

For the purpose of this post, here’s the framework overview, taken from Tomlinson (2013:110, ©Bloomsbury)

click on the picture to enlarge

We had to plan a lesson using the text-driven approach for a unit assignment. I chose to use my favourite poem as the text – Blessing by Imtiaz Dharker. Here’s a nice dramatization of it (I think originally BBC):

You can find the full text here

These activities are pitched at upper-intermediate, for young adults/adults.

I’m based in Bangkok, hence the personalisation in the first activity… (more…)

Lesson idea: introducing inventions

Lessons that involve designing a new invention or product have cropped up at 5 of the 6 summer schools I’ve worked at. I came across this video the other day that gives me a new lead-in to the topic…

After 44 seconds the video starts to reveal a series of interesting inventions to help with routine/household tasks. The inventions include a plate smashing machine, an automatic thumbs up/down hand, and a bed separator! (more…)

Lesson idea: introducing dreams and ambitions

You really must check out these two sites: All at C and Vocabulary in Chunks. I’ve started to use a lot more videos in class and these have some great resources on them!

Sometimes I come across resources, especially videos, that make me think ‘this would be really useful for introducing a lesson on [INSERT TOPIC HERE]’. I often forget about them if the topic doesn’t come up in the textbook soon. I’m going to start storing these videos in my ‘lesson ideas’ section, so I can come back to them when needed! I hope you find some of them useful too! When I get enough videos I’ll put them all into one post.

First up, here’s one I found yesterday. It’s about a radio-controlled car who creates their own little adventure:


Lesson idea: activities for short videos

I use a lot of videos in class these days. There’s no shortage of inspiration for film lessons online, and a bit in print too. We received a funnybonescopy of Film in Action last June, which Martin Sketchley reviewed here. This book (plus the accompanying website, Film English) has great resources and ideas for using videos in class. There are some other brilliant sites to bookmark – notably and Vocabulary in Chunks, which choose some great clips to build lessons around! The best resource I’ve ever come across for using movies in class was Shrek in the ESL Classroom by Brian Boyd (of Grammarman fame). When I create my own video resources I often find myself delving into this booklet.

Anyway, here’s something I made recently. It’s based on a classic kids cartoon called Funnybones (which were great books too). I used it with my 10 year olds during Halloween and it went down well.

This post is less about the actual video, and more about showing some example activities to use with short film clips. I hope it gives you some ideas for making your own lessons using videos, especially with YLs.

Here’s the clip:


Lesson idea: Introducing travel

The old ones are the best! Here’s a video of a guy travelling around the world and dancing. You’ve probably seen it. I’ve used it quite a few times to generate interest in the topic of travel/geography. Actually, I think it was the first ever video I used in class. There’s the clip along with some observation questions! There are plenty of other tasks you could do with this – I’ve also got students to write down as many places as they can remember seeing, then organise these by continent. Also, I’ve given students a list of travel related vocabulary before (monument, desert, town, village, beach, etc) and got them to add a tally mark to each word every time they see it. As always, share any interesting activities you try out in the comments, I’m always looking for new ideas. Enjoy!