Growing vegetables in space

This is the video I mentioned. It has auto-generated subs, but they’re pretty accurate, so use them if you like.

Watch the video a few times, you’ll need it to really understand the key concepts. Also, I encourage you to take notes, as next week’s discussion will revolve around the content of this video.


Why gender equality is good for everyone – men included | Michael Kimmel

‘Gender equality is a big topic in today’s society, and one that I feel doesn’t get the right amount of attention. Especially from boys, even before we get to men. This is where it starts: to put it rhetorically, today’s boys will be tomorrow’s men, so making sure they understand what the situation is should be key to the communication. ‘

This is how I originally started this post, but then I realized it didn’t make much sense, or better, it was incredibly biased. So I put it in quotes and started this reflection: “Why did I focus soley on the boys? Isn’t equality about being the same, and so having the same importance?”. The answer is yes, of course, but we have to start from somewhere. The truth is, it is not only the boys who should learn how to not discriminate, but it’s an effort all sides ought to make.

In the lessons with several classes we will speak about gender equality from different perspectives, leading to different ideas, but hopefully the same conclusion: gender equality benefits everybody.

This is for you, millennials…

Most of my day is spent speaking to you, oh millennials, and trying to get you to produce some sounds and ideas in English. And I must admit that a small part of you do reflect the description expressed by Simon Sinek in this video, but fortunately, the vast majority of you don’t. You seem to be focussed, motivated and determined to do well, although some of you are indeed teenagers, which means you are struggling with the most important, yet complicated, period of your life.

Reality is not on your side nowadays: we are living in a society where your appearance is put before your merits, where it’s more important to know someone than something to succeed, and where the demand for attention is at an all-time high, because of the unprecedented number of people who could potentially give said attention. It’s a fight to the death to the last gram, the last snap or the last I’m sorry, all this paragraph is doing is just restating obvious facts that we deal with every day; but that doesn’t mean they’re not true.

On the other hand, if I had to reflect this analysis on myself, I’d have to say that some of the trends that are attributed to you have actually spread to the previous generations, too. I went to see the comedian Angelo Pintus last week, and in a part of his show, he said: “My generation (40-year-olds) are always complaining about their teenage children being on Facebook all the time. Well, it’s actually the range of 35 to 50-year-olds who spend the most time on it”. And he’s right. They are the functional illiterates who flood the web with the fake news epidemic because their minds are numbed by social media and they are unable to tell the difference between a real story and a clearly satirical one, written only for comedy and entertainment purposes. Take notes, oh millennials, and learn what NOT to do and how NOT to behave online.

Another thing that torments you is projections for what your lives will be like in the long run, which are something that borders with fiction at times, for history has proven that predictions tend to be rather off (e.g. flying cars before the year 2000, human cloning, virtual reality to name a few). This makes choosing a career, or even your school for higher education, one of the most difficult, yet fundamental, moments in your life. We’ve all been there, that’s true, but for some aspects, it’s harder this day in age.

At the end of the day, and as a heap of people have already told you before lunch, the future is in your hands, but not only your future: our lives (and by our I mean us older guys, most of which functional illiterates), will rely on your decisions, your discoveries, your failures as well. The interest is vast and crosses many generations, which will also include your children. Just some food for thought, sorry about the rant.

Enjoy the video! We’ll be talking at lessons about this.



This video went viral not long ago, and for all the good reasons. It references some earlier material, but nonetheless offers great food for thought. The language, speed and the fact the music is a bit too loud make this video a bit challenging (not to mention there are no subtitles, yet), but I think the core message should come across regardless of your level of English. Plus, you can watch it as many times as you need, it’s only 6 minutes.

Kids vs. Food: Crickets

As many of you may already know by now, I use React videos a lot in my lessons, mainly because they offer quality language for EFL students, plus they’re subtitled and incredibly entertaining. So as an opener for talking about food, sustainability and cultural diversity, this video is just right

After watching it, a short listening comprehension/discussion exercise may include answering the following questions:

  • What was the teens’ initial reaction to the food?
  • What would you do if they offered you crickets to eat?
  • Have you ever tried any particular food?
  • What’s the most disgusting food you’ve ever had?
  • Why do some people think crickets will be the future of nutrition?
  • In what forms are crickets eaten?
  • In what part of the world is it fairly common to find these insects on the dinner table?

Once the discussion phase is over, I feel like you should watch this video (if you have a sensitive tummy, don’t watch it shortly before/after eating):

Kids vs. Food: Weird Sodas

Level: pre-intermediate (A2)

The topic of nutrition is one of the hottest nowadays, with experts and doctors worried about the future of health and wellness. Among the prohibited foods are carbonated drinks, or sodas (or fizzy drinks, whatever suits you best). though they have been a kid’s favorite since they were invented. As a matter of fact, a lot of schools have decided to remove all types of sugary sodas from their vending machines, with the aim of offering more nutritious and healthy food to their students. But I digress…

As an episode of Kids vs. Food on the REACT channel, I found this one gives a great outlook on American culture and tastes, though you should keep in mind that these sodas aren’t extremely popular, so don’t think everyone in the US actually drinks these things. So, enough with the talking, let’s get to it!

Lesson plan for teachers: this is an activity that can be used one-shot with lower level classes, and as an introduction to The Soda Taste Test video for more advanced classes. Comprehension activities include asking students what flavors the kids tries and what their reactions were, and finding what adjectives for flavors they use.


Cheese rolling

Level: lower-intermediate (B1)

So apparently cheese rolling is a thing. And with it, so are broken bones, fallen teeth and loss of dignity. Nevertheless: thousands of people crowd the hills in Southern England, so either we will be extinct very soon, or we’re missing out on some very fun activities. Either way, I’ll let you be the judge of that, and enjoy this short clip.

For teachers

An activity I find gets students thinking and speaking after they have watched the video, is asking them to describe what they saw and speculate on what they think the festival is about (time of year, number of contestants, size and weight of cheese, how long ago it started, final prize, etc.). After that, perhaps you could assign them to do a quick research and compare what they thought with the information they can find.  It is guaranteed to blow someone’s mind. For those studying human sciences, perhaps a dip into a contestant’s psychology and why people take part in this activity could be also interesting.

Difficulty: medium


Smoothie Challenge | Rosanna & Molly Pansino

Level: lower-intermediate (B1)

Lesson plan for teachers: I thought I’d post this video which I have used countless times in my lessons. A harmless challenge to try at home (as long as you keep the ingredients harmless), I usually show this video and ask students to write down the ingredients as they see and hear them, and then have them speculate on who they think won the challenge.