Small Pleasures

Posted on February 2, 2010

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Video 01 : Small Pleasures

As soon as I saw this video I knew it had teaching potential, which is strange really because it’s in Greek – with subtitles in English I hasten to add. After much mulling, what I eventually came up with was more of a lesson than a single task – and a bit of a mish-mash of a lesson at that. Apart from the video itself there’s conversation practice on the topic of Memory, a bit of work on Cleft Sentences and then to finish up, more speaking on the nature of Happiness. A bit of a mess but it seemed to flow OK when I did it with my Level 4 groups (CEF B2.1). Anyway, here it is.

Step One : Conversation activity on Memory

  • Ask your students whether they have good memories. Alternatively, ask them to tell each other about what they did the previous weekend in as much detail as they can.
  • Once they are warmed up a bit, put them in pairs or groups and get them to talk about the questions in the worksheet below.


Step Two : The video

  • Tell your students that they are going to watch a video of a man describing the small everyday things that give him pleasure. Let them watch the video once and ask them what it was that made the man “see life from a different perspective“.

  • Tell your students that the man mentions about 25 small pleasures. Play the video a second time and ask them to try and remember as many as they can – without taking notes!
  • Get some feedback from your students. How many can they remember? Write them up on the board, if you like. I also insist on the use of the gerund as subject here.

Step Three : Focus on cleft sentences with ‘What’

  • Explain to your students that when we talk about things that give us pleasure we often wish to sound especially enthusiastic. Give some examples of things that give you pleasure using a few of the cleft sentence structures below – go to town on the emphatic intonation (What I REALLY love is … !), students love it. Focus on the grammar and explain that we use cleft sentences to put extra emphasis on part of a sentence.

What I like is + gerund / noun / when …

What I really love is …
What I especially enjoy doing is …

What I like doing (+ time adverb e.g on Sunday morning) is …

What I couldn’t live without is …

What makes my day is …
What cheers me up (after/when …) is …
What I couldn’t possible give up is …

What makes me happy is …
What I would find difficult to give up …

  • Ask your students to write six cleft sentences illustrating some of the everyday things that give them pleasure.
  • Get them to explain their sentences to each other in pairs or groups.

Step Four : Conversation activity on Happiness + Sadness

  • Finish the lesson with a bit of general discussion on what causes us to feel happy and sad. Ask your students to discuss the questions below in pairs or groups.

Oh! One more thing! You might like to show your students this beautifully simple Path to Happiness flow diagram. Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo for passing it on via Twitter (@Larryferlazzo)


I hope you find this task useful!

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Posted in: Video Lessons