Communicative Activity for Vocabulary: Cinematic Collocations

The following activity is meant to provide additional meaningful practice for collocations and expressions already studied in class.

Step 1: Identify and review the collocations and expressions you wish to practice. For example, in Chapter 6 of Vocabulary Power 1, you can open to page 49 and see collocations and expressions for five key words: admit that/ admit to, get on board, the general population, ripe for, and give a warning about.

Step 2: Beforehand, you will need to select a dramatic soundtrack from a film. Try to avoid well-known pieces such as the theme song to Star Wars. Music from action films or suspense films can work well. Some tunes are available for download on the Internet, so you don’t necessarily have to find a CD recording, but the quality and convenience of a CD may be best. You want to find instrumental pieces that really allow for creativity. Play about one minute of the soundtrack for the students.

Step 3: Put students into small groups. Tell them that they must pitch an idea for a film to a film studio. Based on the music they just heard, what will the title of the film be? The title must include one collocation or expression from the given vocabulary lesson. They must also decide the film genre.

Step 4: Play the same music again. Then ask the students to continue working in their groups. They must write a plot description of 4-5 lines. Encourage the use of other vocabulary from the lesson. Assist and supervise as needed. A model can be provided. (For example, they should know that the present tense is most appropriate.)

Step 5: Have one member of each group present their film to the class. For fun, the class can vote for the best proposal (they can’t vote for their own).  Which film will make it into production?


Title: Admitting to Crime / Genre: drama

A police officer learns that his best friend is a criminal.  The friend admits to a life a crime, but doesn’t want to go to jail. The police officer is very disturbed and doesn’t know what to do. Should he be faithful to his friend or his work?

Other possible film titles: Get on Board (romantic comedy), Ripe for Change (drama), The General Population (comedy), They Gave No Warning (science fiction).


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