Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Nelson Mandela's Life Story (video + comprehension exercises)

Dec. 5 - South Africa's first black president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela dies at the age of 95.


Here is a short documentary about Nelson Mandela and his legacy.

Comprehension questions

  1. Why was Nelson Mandela able to get a good education?
  2. Where did he work while he studied law in Johannesburg?
  3. When did the Nationalist Government come to power in South Africa?
  4. What was the Freedom Charter?
  5. What charge did the Freedom Charter organisers face in 1956?
  6. What happened in Sharpeville in 1960?
  7. What sentence did Mandela receive in 1964?
  8. Where was he sent as a prisoner?
  9. What event signalled the beginning of the end to apartheid?
  10. When was Mandela released from prison?


  • apartheid: a former social system in South Africa in which black people and people from other racial groups did not have the same political and economic rights as white people and were forced to live separately from white people
  • blueprint: a detailed plan of how to do something e.g.  a blueprint for reforming the public school system
  • martial law: control of an area by military forces rather than by the police e.g. The government has imposed/declared martial law throughout the city to stop the riots.  

Now you can try the following quiz:

Related Articles

South Africa's Nelson Mandela dies in Johannesburg
Nelson Mandela death: A life in pictures
Nelson Mandela, anti-apartheid icon and father of modern South Africa, dies 

Related Resources

10 Memorable Quotes spoken by Nelson Mandela – RIP Madiba
World mourns Nelson Mandela (8th December, 2013)
Nelson Mandela free lesson plan

Friday, November 15, 2013

How Malala Yousafzai made Jon Stewart's jaw drop (VIDEO)

SOURCE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/09/malala-jon-stewart_n_4073426.html

Jon Stewart isn’t easily impressed. But on Tuesday October 8, 2013, a 16-year-old left this sardonic late-show host speechless.

Exclusive - Malala Yousafzai Extended Interview Pt. 1

Click the CC button on the video to view the closed captions (written words/sentences in English)

Class discussion questions:
  1. When did Malala realize the importance of education?
  2. According to Malala, why are terrorists afraid of education?
  3. When did the Taliban come to Swat Valley?
  4. How did their behaviour change a few years later?
  5. What gave Malala the courage to speak out publicly against the Taliban?
  6. When did she realize that the Taliban had made her a target?
  7. What does she say is the best way to fight violence?
  • If your jaw drops, you open your mouth in a way that shows you are very surprised or shocked. e.g. His jaw dropped  when he heard who had won.
  • When you snatch something from somebody you take it away from them, esp. by force. e.g. She snatched  the toy from his hands.
  • to blast something means to destroy something with a bomb or gun e.g. A powerful car bomb blasted  the building.
  • to slaughter means to kill a lot of people in a violent way e.g. Thousands of people were slaughtered  in the civil war.  
  • to flog someone means to hit someone very hard with a stick or whip as a punishment e.g. He was publicly flogged  for breaking the country's alcohol laws.
  • When a person becomes a target, it means that someone is planning to attack them.

Now you can try the following quiz:

Watch the next parts of Malala's interview on The Daily Show:
Exclusive - Malala Yousafzai Extended Interview Pt. 3

Related Articles
Documenting a Pakistani Girl’s Transformation
Malala did not deserve Nobel Peace Prize, say residents of her Swat Valley home

Related Post
Malala Yousafzai: Pakistan activist, 14, shot in Swat (BBC News video) 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Grammar Review Jeopardy Game

Here is a game I have created using Flash Jeopardy Review Generator.

Game categories:
  • Verb Tenses
  • Comparison
  • The Passive
  • Countable / Uncountable Nouns
  • Question Tags

Click on the picture below to play the game.


To download a powerpoint version of this game, click here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

21 March, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

A Class Divided

One day in 1968, Jane Elliott, a teacher in a small, all-white Iowa town, divided her third-grade class into blue-eyed and brown-eyed groups and gave them a daring lesson in discrimination. 

Click on the image below to watch the video on YouTube. (English captions)

Class Discussion Questions

  1. What scene or scenes are likely to stick in your mind for a long time?
  2. Did any part of the film surprise you?
  3. Does the children's body language reveal how they feel during the exercise? Can you give some examples?
  4. How do the negative and positive labels the teacher puts on the two groups become self-fulfilling prophecies? (a self-fulfilling prophecy is one that becomes true because people expect it to be true and behave in a way that will make it happen. e.g.If you expect to fail, you will fail. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.)
  5. What characteristics does the teacher attach to the superior and inferior groups? How do those characteristics reflect stereotypes about blacks and whites?
  6. At recess, two of the boys from different groups get in a fight. How does the teacher make the two boys reflect on their actions?
  7. How is the blue eyes/brown eyes exercise related to the Sioux prayer, "Help me not judge a person until I have walked in his shoes"? 

Now try the following crossword to practise some vocabulary related to racial discrimination.  

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Angelina Jolie: Behind the camera (CBS News - 60 Minutes video)

June 3, 2012. Bob Simon profiles international film star Angelina Jolie who is often called "the most beautiful woman in the world," but Jolie has worked hard to prove she's far more than that.

Watch the video and discuss the questions. (Click here to watch the video on YouTube.)
  1. How is Angelina Jolie depicted by the tabloids?
  2. What is the title of the film she has directed?
  3. Why did she shoot her film in Budapest?
  4. What is the film about?
  5. What is the storyline of the film?
  6. How many movies has Angelina acted in?
  7. How old was she when her parents broke up?
  8. What role did she win an Oscar for?
  9. What kind of film is "A Mighty Heart"?
  10. What job did she want to do before she became a star?
  11. How many countries has she visited as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN?
  12. How many children has she had?
  13. How does she get on with her father?
  14. What has her mother taught her?
  15. What is her next film going to be about?

  • If you draw the short straw (informal), you are selected to do an undesirable task. e.g. Sorry, Jim, you drew the short straw. You're on toilet-cleaning duty.
  • A tabloid is a newspaper that has pages about half the size of an ordinary newspaper and that typically contains many photographs and stories about famous people and other less serious news items. e.g.
    She is used to seeing her name in the tabloids.   
  • logistics: the practical arrangements that are necessary in order to organize something successfully, especially something involving a lot of people or equipment e.g.  My mother was in charge of the logistics of our camping trip.
  • Ethnic cleansing  is the organized attempt by a particular race or political group to completely remove from a country or area anyone who belongs to another particular race, using violence and often murder to achieve this.
  • A flick is an informal word for movie.  
  • If something is implausible, it is not believable or realistic. e.g. He gave an implausible excuse for showing up late for work.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Japan Earthquake, 2 Years Later

SOURCE: The Atlantic - In Focus

Tomorrow, March 11th, Japan marks the 2nd anniversary of the devastating Tohoku earthquake and resulting tsunami. The disaster killed nearly 19,000 across Japan, leveling entire coastal villages. Now, nearly all the rubble has been removed, or stacked neatly, but reconstruction on higher ground is lagging, as government red tape has slowed recovery efforts. Locals living in temporary housing are frustrated, and still haunted by the horrific event, some displaying signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Click here to view a series of before-and-after interactive images. Click on each one to see the image fade from before (2011) to after (2013)

Japan Earthquake (closed captioned video + worksheet)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Orwell's 1984 Summary (Video SparkNotes)

Watch the video and answer the questions.
  1. What does a totalitarian government try to do?
  2. What is the London in the book like?
  3. Who is Big Brother?
  4. How can the government watch you in your home?
  5. What is the penalty for breaking the rules?
  6. Why does Winston start writing a diary?
  7. How does he feel about Julia?
  8. Why does he accept O'Brien's invitation to his apartment?
  9. Where are Winston and Julia taken by the police?
  10. What happens there?
  11. Why are they eventually released?

Now try the following quiz.

Big Brother Is Watching You

Orwell's 1984 Summary (Video SparkNotes) worksheet

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oscar Pistorius Granted Bail (sntv video)

Feb 22, 2013

Watch the video and answer the questions.
  1. What charges does Oscar Pistorius face?
  2. How long did the court hearing last?
  3. How did the magistrate justify the decision to release Pistorius on bail?
  4. What does Pistorius claim regarding his girlfriend's shooting? 
  5. When will the next hearing in the case be?
  6. What is one important condition of Pistorius bail? 

Try the following quiz (either before or after viewing) to review/study some vocabulary related to crime and justice.

Oscar Pistorius Girlfriend Shot Dead at Paralympian's Home (sntv video)

Feb 14, 2013 

Pre-viewing: vocabulary matching exercise

Now watch the video and answer the questions.

  1. How old is Oscar Pistorius?
  2. Why has he been arrested?
  3. Where did the incident happen?
  4. How old was Oscar's girlfriend?
  5. What probable explanation of the incident was offered by some local news media?
  6. What did police officers find at the scene?
  7. Why do many people in South Africa keep weapons?
  8. What achievement will Oscar Pistorius, the athlete, be remembered for?
Oscar Pistorius Granted Bail (sntv video)


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Meteor strike in Russia injures hundreds (NewsyWorld video)

Feb 15, 2013. A meteor hit the Russian city Chelyabinsk on Friday. Hundreds were left with minor injuries and two are in intensive care.

SOURCE: http://www.newsy.com/videos/meteor-strike-in-russia-injures-hundreds/

What's the difference between a comet, asteroid, meteoroid, meteor & meteorite? Click here to find out.

Watch the video and answer the following questions. (Click here to watch the video on YouTube.)
  1. What happened at a Russian city early on Friday morning?
  2. Were any deaths reported?
  3. How many people were injured?
  4. What kind of injuries did they mostly suffer?
  5. Were any people seriously injured?
  6. How much did the meteor weigh before entering the earth's atmosphere?
  7. How much damage did the shock wave cause?
  8. When and where did the Tunguska event happen?
  9. What effects did it have?
  10. Why, according to the professor, is there no connection between the recent strike and asteroid 2012 DA14?

Alternatively, you can try the following quiz.
2013 Chelyabinsk meteor trace.jpg
"2013 Chelyabinsk meteor trace" by Alex Alishevskikh - Flickr: Meteor trace. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lionel Messi and the ascent of Barca soccer (worksheet)

Here's a worksheet that can be used with the CBS 60 Minutes video about Football Club Barcelona and Lionel Messi. (See related post here)

Download here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/122944701/Barca-Soccer-and-Lionel-Messi-video-listening-activity

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Lionel Messi and the ascent of Barca soccer (CBS video)

With stars like Lionel Messi and a youth academy bringing up the next generation of athletes, is Barcelona becoming the world's best soccer team? Bob Simon reports.
Click here to watch the video on CBS News.
Click here to watch the video on YouTube.
Click here to read the transcript.

Watch the video and answer the following questions. (Click the CC button if you wish to view the video with English subtitles.)
  1. What is football called in the USA? 
  2. What is the secret of Barcelona's success? 
  3. What team is Barca's main opponent? 
  4. What is a match between the two clubs called? 
  5. What is La Masia? 
  6. What is the Masia's new facility like? 
  7. What happens if a boy does not study enough and just likes to have a good time? 
  8. What is the Barca doctrine? 
  9. Why has the Masia been called a football factory? 
  10. How many members does FCB have? 
  11. How many competitions has Barca won in the last four years? 
  12. What record did Messi break last month? 
Now try the following quiz.

ionel Messi and the ascent of Barca soccer » Quiz School

Click here to download a worksheet about Lionel Messi.