Go Public: Thumbs up and Thumbs Down

Stories come in all shapes and sizes is the second unit of the 10th Grade Scenario if you are teaching academic lessons for the Ministry of Education.

The second lesson of the second unit is called “Thumbs up and Thumbs Down” and it is about the different story tellers and what they do.

The lesson has been modified to fit my teaching needs and context. Feel free to use it, share it and contribute with ideas to make it better.

wHY i do this

The lesson planning for academic lesson is simply insane, if you check the model you will see that planning a lesson could take 25 pages or more.

I have been always open about what I do in terms of teaching so why don’t we go public? why are you afraid of?

Let’s go public. It is not the recipe for Coca-Cola


This lesson takes around 140 to 160 minute to teach since learners might struggle with some aspects and you have to take attendance every time you have a class and not just at the beginning of a week.

Students might not know the past tense of some verbs or might need some extra time to create sentence with words that have certain sounds.

Remember that you also need time for the mini project.

Assessment Strategies and Goals

L2. extracts specific details from oral/aural movie reviews.

L2. understand specific details from many web-based broadcasts/ memes, comics, posts, poems dealing with subjects of interest if the people talk clearly.

SI.2. interacts in a face to face conversation talking in detail about tweets, memes, poems, posts, blogs, comics, and short stories, videos when interacting in pairs or small groups.

SI.2. talk in detail about tweets, memes, poems, posts, blogs, comics, short stories, videos.

PEDAGOGICAL mediation/didactic sequence

Pre-teaching (50 Mins)

Routine: Checking attendance, checking in with Ls, T posts the Essential Question on the board, Can Do’s, and class agenda, etc.

Participating: Warm up

Learners will send a presentation to the learners filled with movie posters. Students have to guess what type the movie is.

Engaging: Activation of prior knowledge

Learners are shown five movie posters. Students pick the one they like the most  or the one that they know. They write a comment about the movie they like or know.


The teacher read the description of a very popular movie and the students have to figure out  what movie I am referring to.  

  • It was a science fiction film written and directed by James Cameron.  The film had incredible special effects, which took people to a spectacular world beyond imagination.The film was set in the year 2154 on Pandora, a fictional Earth-like moon in a distant planetary system
  • Will Rodman, a scientist in San Francisco, is experimenting with a drug that he hopes will cure his father’s Alzheimer’s disease. After his work is deemed a failure, Will becomes the guardian of Caesar, an infant chimp who was exposed in-utero to Will’s drug. Caesar displays unusual intelligence, and Will decides to continue his experiments secretly. But as Caesar’s intellect and abilities grow, he comes to represent a threat to man’s dominion over Earth.

The teacher then introduces key vocabulary to talk about films: 

What is the name of the movie?The name of the movie is___
What type of movie is it?romantic, comedy, science-fiction,  horror movie, animated movie,  action movie,  thriller, documentary, adventure movie,  drama
What was the movie about?The movie is about
Where did it take place?The movie took place ____
When did it take place?The movie took place____
What was it about The critics _________________.
How was the movie?It was heart-warming. It was a total laugh riot. The special effects were breathtaking. It made my blood run cold. It gave food for thought. The plot was intriguing.

Learners choose a movie and answer 7 questions in their notebooks

Oral Comprehension (50 Mins)


Learners are asked to rank what the most  important elements of a film are

Elements of a filmRanking from 1 to 5
The Plot
Special Effects
The Leading Actors
The Ending
Music and Sounds

Learners share their opinions and they analyze what the majority think 

Learners observe as the teacher writes the sentences below on the board. Learners read the sentences and try to figure out what the adjective is and if it has a negative or positive connotation.

StatementPositive / Negative
The movie was predictable
The Dialogue is terrible
The film is overrated
The movie was boring

Listening for the first time (40 Mins)

Learners listen to the audio “Movie Reviews” https://www.esl-lab.com/difficult/movie-reviews/ for the first time and answer the following questions

  • Who are the people talking?
  • What do they think about the movie they saw? 
  • Do both of them think the same way?

Pair/Group feedback 

In pairs, learners compare their answers, and then they share with the group.

Listening for the second time 

Learners listen for the second time and complete the worksheet below by writing the corresponding answers. 

What do they think about…The fatherThe daughter
The movie?
The special effects?
The photography

Learners, in pairs, compare their answers and then share them with the group.


Learners get a  sheet of paper. In the middle of the paper, they write the name of one of their favorite movies and they write their opinions about the movie, the actors and the special effects.

Spoken Interaction/Production (40 Mins)


Learners  are told that they work as movie critics and they were chosen to participate in a meeting to share their reviews about the last movie they saw. 

Learners receive a prompt with some questions about movies.

  1. What is the title of the film? 
  2. What genre is it? 
  3. What is it about? 
  4. Is it based on a book?
  5. Where is the film set?
  6. When is the film set? 
  7. Who stars in the film? 
  8. Who plays the main role(s)? 
  9. Who is your favorite character in the film? (Why?) 
  10. What’s your opinion about the movie 


Learners take some time to think about each question and to make notes about the answers. 


Students practice asking those questions to each other like in a role play


Learners present their role plays to the clas


Phase: Participating to negotiate: (5 or 10 minutes in week 2)

In pairs, and based on the movie chosen in week 1, learners look for information about the movie: actors/actress, special effects, plot, etc.

Learner self-assessment

I canIn Progress /Yes /No
Exchange personal experiences, feelings, opinions and reactions about tweets, memes, poems, posts, blogs, comics, short stories, videos.
Prepare questions for a face-to-face conversation and interview about tweets, memes, poems, posts, blogs, comics, short stories, videos.
Recognize  main points from many web-based broadcasts/ memes, comics, posts, poems.

I am José Manuel and I am an English Teacher in Costa Rica who loves English. I have been teaching English for more than 8 years and I like sharing what I know with others