ESL Film Clips: Santa Claus – The Movie – intermediate

Here’s the first of a new series of ESL film clips, Santa Claus: The Movie – to help your students improve their listening and pronunciation skills. My aim is to provide class activities and worksheets that will make students aware of the importance of using films to learn English. Apart from providing general gist activities to get the students engaged in the clip, I plan to provide specific questions and listening activities which focus on aspects of connected speech.

Photo by mrdos

One thing I’ve learnt while doing my DELTA is that students need to be made aware of how words join together. I don’t think it’s important that they know all the terminology like assimilationelision, but you can get them to appreciate how sounds change, disappear, get added, or combine.

As it’s Christmas, and this is one of my favourite Christmas classics, I’ve picked the scene where Santa Claus meets Joe and takes him on a ride to attempt the superdooperlooper (as you do). Here’s the order in which I’d do the class. You can obviously change it depending on the level and group.

First play a ten second clip (19 second to 28 seconds on the youtube clip) and ask them to answer these questions and make some predictions.

Where is Santa Claus?
What is he going to do?

Youtube clip – Santa meets joe.

Santa Claus worksheet

Once you’ve gone over any vocabulary issues with the more specific questions, then play the whole clip (until 8 mins 50 seconds). After the questions and feedback, give them the dialogue. The idea is to focus the students on chunks of language so they can become more aware of connected speech. Some parts will be very difficult, but it’s all about building their awareness.

If you’re not sure what I’m going on about regarding connected speech then let’s look at the first two examples. The first answer is:

Santa: Hang on boys. I think we’re going to make an unscheduled stop. Santa obviously says: “We’re gonna make.” I try to encourage my students to speak like this too, although sometimes they sound a bit too cockneyfied.

In Joe’s first line he says:Hey beat it, man.” He doesn’t pronounce both t’s. In phonetics /beat it/ turns into /bɪːðɪ/. Each of the answers has examples where the words come together or sounds disappear.

Once you’ve gone over the answers then get the students to act it out. Maybe you can play it again so they can listen for the stress and intonation too. 

I’m hoping to do either a song or film clip per week, so keep coming back. Any feedback welcome. Good luck, and Happy Christmas.

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