Learn English with Muhammad Ali – a quotes worksheet for your English class


A brilliant athlete, entertainer and role-model, Muhammad Ali used his language skill to attack, humiliate and make fun of his opponents even before they stepped into the ring.

Here’s a warmer/ filler/ cooler lesson on his quotes and life. This should take about half and hour and would be good for intermediate EFL / ESOL or ESL students and above.


1. Click the picture below to download the worksheet. Feel free to change it anyway you like.

mohammed thumb.png

2. Have students look at the picture and quote about Ali. Ask them to explain what it means? Students should come up with something like – ‘it means he’s fast’. If that’s what Ali wanted to say, then why didn’t he just say ‘I’m really fast’? The quote is funny and contains lots of images, it shows you that Ali is intelligent and witty. Elicit from student the idea that the way you say something is often as, if not more, important than what is said.

3. Now get students to tell each other what they know about Ali’s life (if anything) before you play the short bio on him. I’ve pasted this below but the URL is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIxbhA4su0g

4. Now get students to read through the quotes in pair or small groups. Get them to match them to the more simple explanations.  Here are the answers – 1.c 2.f 3.a 4.d 5.h 6.b 7.e 8.g

5. Follow up. Have students look for more quotes from famous sportsmen or famous people that they like. Get students to share their quotes with their partners of the whole class. You could even print them off and stick them on the wall.





IELTS Listening – Monty Python’s four Yorkshiremen


Here’s another lesson you can give to your IELTS students for homework or as an activity in class.

This time it’s a comedy sketch from the unique and very funny English comedians, Monty Python.

You’ll need access to YouTube.com and a way to show the video to students, this could be on their smartphones or on a projector.

Click on the picture of the worksheet below to download it.

four yorkshiremen

I’ve added YouTube link to the bottom of the page but this may change over time. You can search for the video yourself by going to YouTube and writing ‘Four Yorkshiremen Monty Python’.


Learning English with The X Factor…


Can’t be bothered to read the blog? Get the worksheet here.


Like so many, I have a love/hate relationship with The X-factor and Britain’s Got Talent. I like watching it… but I hate watching it. I’ll leave any descriptions as to how bad it is and how it is destroying the music business to those with more fire in their belly. I’m only concerned with how we can use it to teach English.

Here’s the lesson.
1. Talk about the x -factor / Britain’s Got Talent / Pop Idol. It’s all over the world and in every country. Dictate these  questions.

– Do you have the x factor,or something similar, in your country?

– Do you like it? Why?

– Would you go on the x factor?

– Do you think it’s good or bad for young people to go on the x-factor?

2. Students read about the show and them fill in the worksheet about giving feedback. Get the worksheet here https://chrisspeck.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/britains-got-talent-lesson-plan.doc

3.Play some songs from youtube – students watch them and then comment on them very much like the judges in the show. You might also like to give students a card or a book which they can hold up when they are sick of watching the presentation.

Making a quick song sheet using www.youtube.com – an activity for teachers and students.

Here’s another youtube.com lesson, you’ll need at least one computer with access to the internet per two students.

Below you’ll find instructions on how to make song sheets your students can use when they are watching and listening to their favourite tracks on youtube.com. BUT: THIS WORKS MUCH BETTER if you get your students to find a song they like, and make a worksheet themselves.

I told my students that they were making worksheets for other students who were of a much lower level than they were. I gave them each a copy of the instructions below and asked them to find a suitable song and the lyrics on the internet. I also asked them to pay close attention to point 2 which asks them to check the lyrics to make sure they are correct.

I was surprised to find out how much students wanted to get this right and make a good worksheet for other learners.

The songs I made are here

How to make a song cloze worksheet

  1. Find a song on youtube.com that your students might like
  2. To get the lyrics, write the name of the song lyrics into google.com . Lyrics and words found on Google are NOT ALWAYS CORRECT, you need to read them and check that they are spelled correcly and make sense.
  3. Now you have the lyrics, copy and paste them into word. Make the font bigger and change it so it’s easy to read.
  4. Now delete some words that are easy to hear and easy to spell, replace them with a line ______
  5. Now delete some more difficult words that are still easy to hear. You should aim for about 15 depending on the song.
  6. Now you have them all, add numbers to the lines ___1___ ____2____.

Students can fill them in as they listen, practise pronunciation, cover different areas of vocabulary or grammar.

Here’s the link to a some songs I made


YouTube Presentation Lesson for ESOL / ESL and IELTS

This is a really simple lesson using youtube.com to get students to give an interesting and persuasive presentation.

Set up

I used this lesson with a group of pre-intermediate learners but the idea could easily be extended to higher levels and might tie in nicely for students preparing for speaking exams such as IELTS or Cambridge ESOL.

You will need an IAWB (Interactive White Board) or a projector with sounds linked to the internet so that students can show a movie on youtube. Students will also need computers to search for a youtube video they like although this could be done as homework in prepartion for the lesson.


1. Ask students of they watch youtube and what kind of things they watch.

2. Now ask students to find something on youtube in English that they really like. It could be something that makes them laugh, a trailer for a film, an advert, a speech, a part of a film or an interview. Explain that they are not allowed to choose a music video (as there isn’t always a lot to talk about and they don’t always have a lot of English.)

3. Tell students that they now have three minutes to make a short presentation. They will explain why the film they have found on youtube is interesting and try to persuade the rest of their class to watch it. After everyone has finished presenting the class will vote and the youtube video that gets the most votes will be shown on the big screen.

Extra Tips

– make sure students have a time limit for their presentations as some talkative students will talk for a long time and some will not want to talk for very long, by having a time limit you will encourage shy ones to speak for longer and comfident once to condense what they have to say.

– make notes as you watch each presentation so you have some feedback to give them when they’ve finished. Make sure at two out of three comments are positive.  You can comment of their pronunciation, sentences you liked, their body language, their content – what they did or didn’t explain and of course how persuasive they were.