A Direct TV commercial to teach narrative tenses

Coming back to post about a commercial (or rather, a series of commercials) that can be used as a tool to train (or refresh) narrative tenses. The good thing about this commercial is that it describs and follows a chain of events, one being more or less the reason for the next. The language is pretty clear and not too fast, so I suppose it could be taken to Intermediate classes and upwards.

Here is the commercial I decided to stick to: Direct TV (don’t attend your own funeral) The main thing about it is that it’s fun. The commercial starts with somebody being bored with waiting for a cable guy, looking out of the window anbd seeing something he was not supposed to see…. and finally the guy ends up attending his own funeral. What a story!

direct tvOn YouTube you will find the whole selection of Direct TV commercials, and you might choose a different one for your class – they all follow the same chain pattern.

I used it at the beginning of a lesson, when I wanted my one-to-one student to mentally refresh the narrative tenses. By that time we’ve already spent some time working with stories, but the grammar needed a little more work, so this ad came in very handy.

After watching I asked him to relate the story back to me, starting from the end (attending the funeral), and telling what had led the man to this sad ending. It can probably be also used as a guessing and predicting activity or as a base for a writing task. It could also serve to introduce the grammar topic, too.

What would you do about it? What do you think about the commercial?

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About Svetlana Urisman (Englishteachingnotes)

I am an ADOS and an English teacher (and materials writer) in a language school in Moscow. I have been an ADOS and a teacher trainer for almost a year now and a teacher for about 5 years. I am keen to share some ideas and materials I've developed in order to take them further and not to forget or lose them You are welcome to use any materials represented in this blog, and I will be happy to get your feedback afterwards if you take them to your classroom! ;-)
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