Storytime

Thomas Sanders is a college graduate from California who works as a manufacturing engineer but also has a sideline in community theatre. He is also a popular Viner with over 4.7 million subscribers on the video sharing website. He shares videos in various different genre, such as comedy sketches, impersonations of cartoon characters, and Sunday shout outs (where he sings a six second song dedicated to some of his followers).

One of the regular things he shares on Vine are video clips where he narrates the unwitting subject (or subjects) life. He called it ‘story time’. This activity gets your students to come up with a scenario for one of Sanders’ ‘story time’ Vine videos and then compare this with what he narrates.


Narrating People’s Lives

 

Level Pre-intermediate +
Type of student Teenagers, Young adults, Adults
Language Description, Adjectives, Speculating
Skills Listening, Writing, Speaking (in follow up task)

Warmer

  • Show your students this still image taken from the Vine video:

Thomas-Sanders-Vine-storytime

  • Ask your students to speculate about who they are and what they’re doing. You might decide to spend a short amount of time on this, just getting suggestions from your students verbally, or you may want to spend longer and get them to draft their ideas in groups.
  • You may want to focus on different content areas for this: for example, physical description (two of the men have beards), speculate about their activities (are they at work or relaxing), talk about events leading up to this moment (what happened to the man in the top-left’s hand?). There are no wrong answers here, and any language that comes up in discussion with students can be worked on for as long as you feel is appropriate.

Main stage

  • Dictate the following sentence starter: In every group of friends…
  • Ask your students to work in pairs to complete the sentence with whatever they think could describe the situation. Here are some possible suggestions:
    • In every group of friends, there’s the beardy one.
    • In every group of friends, someone is the clever one.
    • In every group of friends, you can tell who is in charge.
  • You may wish to dictate those examples once you have asked your students what they have come up with.

Video stage

  • Play the Vine video and ask your students to write down what they hear.
  • The actual narration is:
    • Thomas: In every group of friends, there’s the dumb one.
    • Bottom-right guy: Really?
  • After watching the video you could discuss the following:
    • Choice of vocabulary: why does Thomas use the word ‘dumb’ and not ‘stupid’?
    • What the bottom-right guy means when he says ‘Really?’
    • What they think about the friendship between these guys: would they like to be friends with them?

Follow up

  • Ask your students to work together to make their own ‘story time’ videos. Note – it is probably best if they do this in groups and act in each other’s videos so as not to offend members of the public.
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