Building a Life Plan (TED): A hands-on lesson

This is the second TED TALKS lesson I post here. The reason is that I simply loved planning lessons using the book: Dummett, P; Stephenson, H; Lansford, L. (2016). Ted Talks. Keynotes. Intermediate. National Geographic Learning. Cengage.

[Slide 1] Photo + The topic of the lesson + Question

  1. Setting the Scene

Topic: Building a Life Plan

– What were the highest and the lowest point of your life this year?

Interaction: S-S (pairs)

Timing: 5′

Feedback: on pronunciation and vocabulary


[Slide 2] Photo + Title of the talk + question – when I use images as background I like to fade the images and use the questions in bold.


Title: A life lesson from a volunteer firefighter 

2. Introducing the topic

  • What do you think this talk will be about? What makes you say that?

Interaction: S-S (pairs)

Timing: 7′

Feedback: on pronunciation and vocabulary

[Slide 3] Photo + text about the firefighter + questions 

3. Reading task + video task

Interaction: S (individually) when reading and S-S (pairs) when discussing the questions.

Timing: 10′

Feedback: on vocabulary

Teachers may work on the bold words pre-reading or after reading.

Ss will read the text first and then watch the talk:

MARK BEZOS worked in advertising for many years and now works for a charity organisation, Robin Hood, which fights poverty in NY. He is also a volunteer firefighter in Westchester County, NY, where he lives. Firefighting is a highly respected job in the US. Mark is continuously amazed and motivated by the acts of heroism – big and small – that he sees every day. Mark’s idea worth spreading is that every act of generosity matters – even the small ones.

  • What job did he have before and what jobs does he have now?
  • How do people in the US feel about firefighters?
  • What motivates him?

[Slide 4] Photo + vocabulary + meaning to match.

4. Vocabulary work from video:

Interaction:  S-S (pairs) 

Timing: 15′

Feedback: on vocabulary and pronunciation

  • Firefighting is his vocation. He wanted to be a firefighter from the age 12.
  • He was jealous os his colleague’s new office.
  • She’s the homeowner – it’s her house and she’s lived there for 20 years.
  •  Poor people can get meals from a local soup kitchen.
  • In my job as a firefighter, I am witness to a lot of accidents.
  • When the firefighters arrived, the kitchen was in flames.
  • My mother is a retired doctor, but she still works as a volunteer in an old people’s hospital.

Match the meanings to the words:

  1. A place where food is served to people in need
  2. Someone who does a job for no pay
  3. A career that fits your aims in life
  4. Feel negative about something you want
  5. On fire
  6. A person who owns a house or flat
  7. Someone who sees an event

[Slide 5] Photo + vocabulary + questions.

5. Follow-up with vocabulary work from video.

Interaction:  S-S (pairs) 

Timing: 10′

Feedback: on vocabulary, pronunciation and turn-taking

  • Have you discovered what is your vocation?
  • What are you most jealous of (nowadays)?
  • Have you ever done any volunteer work? Have you worked in a soup kitchen?
  • What would you do if you saw a house or flat in flames?

[Slide 6] Photo + vocabulary + questions.

6. Re-entering the topic of the lesson

Interaction:  S-S (pairs) 

Timing: 10′

Feedback: on vocabulary turn-taking.

Here, the teacher encourages ss to use the new vocabulary.

Mark had the courage to completely change his life.

  • What about you?
  • What makes you keep going?
  • What would you like to do if not your current job?
  • If you could choose, what would you do instead?

[Slide 7] Photo + hands on activity.

7. Organising a presentation

Interaction:  S-S (pairs) 

Timing: 5′

Feedback: on pronunciaton

Ss watch the video again and pay attention to the presentation checklist below. After, they have to say what has been used:

  • Keep your ideas and language simple and straightforward.
  • avoid exaggerating your claims.
  • give plenty of concrete examples.
  • be personal.

[Slide 8] Photo + hands-on activity.

8. Hands-on task – topic of the lesson

Interaction:  S-S (pairs)  or trios.

Timing: 15′

Feedback: on vocabulary, turn-taking.

Here students will actually build a life changing plan. They can be in pairs or trios and they will follow the next steps:

You are about to change your life:


  • areas/job you would prefer to do
  • places in the world you would like to work/live
  • what motivates you to say or choose that

Action Plan:

  • presentation of your new choice of life and why you chose it.

Remember to use:

  • different examples
  • keep your story simple
  • Don’t worry if you are nervous/ relax your body
  • Use gestures and facial expressions

The presentation might take place at the beginning of the next lesson.

[Slide 9] 1st Photo + The topic of the lesson 

Topic: Building a Life Plan


Published by


- 16 years of teaching experience (Seven Idiomas / Cultura Inglesa Jundiaí) - 5 years as an Academic and Pedagogic coordinator - 1 year as a Pedagogic Bilingual coordinator at a Regular school - Letras Inglês Licenciatura Plena (PUC-SP) (2007) - CELTA - St. Giles SP (2008) - ETYL (English Teaching for Younger Learners) - International House Sydney (2012) - Cambridge DELTA MOD II, III - Cambridge Train the Trainer Cambridge Course - Pós em Pegagogia - PUC RS - MBA em finanças e geração de valores - PUC RS - MBA em Gestão da Escola na Contemporaneidade

One thought on “Building a Life Plan (TED): A hands-on lesson”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s