The other day a friend recommended this year’s Oscar nominated short animation, “Negative Space.” It is a very good little film, and I thought about using it in my Fundamental English class. As I poked around on YouTube, I found more shorts from years past. One of them, “A Single Life,” is short, sweet, and funny, with a poignant message that I thought would be fairly accessible and interesting to my students. Here is the lesson plan for what I did with them today.
LESSON: “A Single Life”
LEVEL: Could be done with any level of adult learners; adjust as needed to suit your audience)
PURPOSE: to introduce students to the idea of/have them practice textual analysis
MATERIALS: online version of the film at the filmmakers’ site, Vimeo or YouTube
PREP TIME: very low
Students pair up and discuss the following:
- If you could travel backwards or forward in time, which would you choose and why?
1. Students watch the film all the way through the first time.
2. Afterwards, get students to summarize what happened.
3. Go back and get students to listen to the lyrics of the song on the record. You may need to pause it so they can hear each line. Get a student to write the lyrics on the board as the class deciphers them.
4. When the students have the lyrics mostly correct, give them/project the full lyrics (available here).
5. Ask students for their thoughts on the film. What message do they think it is communicating? The depth of their answers will depend on their level and personal capacity.
Students write a paragraph on the topic, “What do you think is the message of the film? Provide examples to support your point.” Adapt as necessary for lower level learners–they may just write a few sentences, or you may do this together on the board as a class.