Going to the movies is fun for everyone.
You can use these fun activities as an opportunity to teach your students more English, as well as teach them about typical routines and conversations about going to the movies. Enjoy!
Try These 10 Activities to Teach about Going to the Movies
First Things First
To begin talking about going to the movies, you will need to introduce the vocabulary to your students. You will want to include terms like: movies, tickets, seats, theater, popcorn, soda, candy, and so on. You may also include terms directly relevant to the movie, such as: actor, scene, previews and so on. Use large, clear pictures with clearly written labels to introduce these vocabulary words. Check for pronunciation as your students repeat after you.
Your students will need to be able to check what is playing at a given theater. It would be great if you had computers available for this activity, or at least one teacher computer to model. Choose your favorite movie times’ website. Let students know you want to see a certain movie between two given times. Let them search for it on the website. They will need to tell you the name of the theater and the starting time of the movie there. You can treat this like a scavenger hunt, having them look for running times of certain movies or a theater that has three certain movies playing in it. This will all make them familiar with using a website to find movie times.
While it is possible to purchase movie tickets online, many people still go to the theater and buy them in person. Therefore, it is a good idea to role-play for your students how to buy tickets at a movie theater. You will need several role plays ready giving examples of how to say, “Two adult tickets for the 5 o’clock showing of “The Movie,” please.” It would be fun and fairly easy to construct a cardboard cut-out for the “worker” to stand behind while the “customer” asks for their tickets. Model one or two role plays, and then let the students take over. Building familiarity with the concept of buying tickets in English will make them more at ease when they actually go to do so.
You will definitely want to go over typical encounters at a concession stand. Go over typical food and drink items that are sold there, bringing in empty containers of them, if possible. Emphasize pronunciation here, as the worker’s understanding of your student may hinge on that proper pronunciation of his order. Discuss small, medium and large as sizes of containers. Introduce sentences such as, “Where are the napkins, please?” or “May I have butter on the popcorn, please?” This can be driven home by role playing as well.
Have students brainstorm examples of movie theater etiquette, such as silencing cell phones and not talking during the movie. When you have the list up and have discussed them, write them down on a piece of paper and cut it up into individual sentences. Pass them out, and play a game of charades with them. Pick a student randomly, and have that student act out their etiquette example. The other students should try to guess what that student is acting out. In a beginner’s class, you may want to leave the brainstorming on the board so they have an idea of what the answer may be, but in an intermediate or advanced class, you may want to erase the brainstorming so they have to remember the etiquette example on their own.
What Kind of Movie Is It?
Your students need to be able to categorize movies for when they have conversations in their social lives about them. You will need to prepare several clips from all types of movies: horror, romance, drama, documentary and so on. Show a clip of one type and introduce the name of it, for example, “This is a scene from a documentary,” and explain what a documentary is. Be sure that all of your movie clips are appropriate for your audience. After you have gone through all of the movie types, divide the class into two teams. Have one player come to the front of the room from each team. Show a different movie clip, and the first player to buzz in with the correct type of movie gets a point. Play until one team has five points, or an appropriate number for your class. This is a fun way to get students familiar with this topic.
It is always great to let students use art to learn. Show students several movie posters from famous movies. Talk about what is on the poster, such as the picture, the title, the main actors’ names and maybe even a quote from the movie. Tell the students this is what they will need for their movie poster. Have them think of one of their favorite movies. Assist them with finding the title in English, and any other information, if necessary. Have them each design a movie poster for their movie. When they are done, they will each share with the class. These posters can be hung in the classroom, if possible, as a reminder of what they have learned.
You’re a Star!
Tell the students that today, they will become a movie star. Explain the concept of a movie star, if necessary. Have them make up a stage name (if they would like) and a short biography talking about in what movies they have appeared, and what type of movies they like best. Have some props if possible, such as sunglasses, hats and a boa for them when they present their “autobiography.” Let them take turns sharing in front of the class with their props. This activity provides opportunity for using their imaginations, which is always a fun direction.
Choose 10 appropriate classic movies for the class. Discuss the plots and the main characters. If you would like, show a short clip from each. Have several sets of cards ready: You will need cards prepared that have the movie title, and then cards prepared listing a one sentence plot about that title. Divide the class into pairs, and play the game of concentration with them. This will reinforce the titles and main storylines of some classic movies.
Allow the class to vote on a favorite movie of those ten movies listed in the activity above. Let them watch the movie they voted on for a special treat. You may choose to provide typical movie snacks while they are watching the film, just be sure to check for food allergies in the class first. Watching a movie together will be a fun culminating activity for a group who has covered the topic of movies. Depending on your class time, this may take more than one class period. Enjoy!
Going to the movies is a popular activity for everyone.
Use these activities to help your ESL students become more familiar with the associated vocabulary and routines. This will help make going to the movies an even better experience for them.