Posted 27/2/11
Why are you lying on the pavement? Are you drunk? In this activity, students explore issues that are raised in the video before acting out the street scene with a script.
  • Language level: Elementary – Intermediate (A1 – B1)
  • Learner type: Young learners; Teens; Adults
  • Time: 60 – 90 minutes
  • Main activity: Drama; Role play
  • Topic: Psychology and behaviour
  • Language: Negative auxiliaries; Modal auxiliaries; Perfect tenses; Adjectives; The verb Let; The adverb Just
  • Materials: Music video and worksheets
Lying on the pavement pdf [downloaded 6270 times]

Lesson plan outline

Before your students enter the classroom, draw the outline of a person on the floor. To do this, ask a colleague to trace around you with crayon, chalk or sticky tape while you lie on the floor. Alternatively, make a paper cut-out: Tape sheets of flipchart paper together, draw around someone lying on top of it and cut it out.

  1. As students enter the classroom, note any reactions to the figure on the floor but try not to get involved in any discussion at this stage
  2. Ask everyone to sit around the figure.
  3. Ask students to offer explanations for the presence of the figure. They may suggest that the person is dead. After a few suggestions, tell students that the person is alive and conscious (don’t let anyone step on him!)
  4. Ask any of the following questions and aim for a class discussion:
    • What do you know about the story of the Good Samaritan?
    • Has anyone ever found someone lying in the street like this? Where, when, what did you do?
    • If you found someone lying in the street in your town, what would you do?
    • What about if you found someone lying in the street in London or New York (or any other large unfamiliar city)? Would it be different? Why?
    • Would you act differently if it was a man or a woman?
    • What if the person was well-dressed (wearing a suit and tie for example)?


  5. Tell students that the person on the floor is a well-dressed man. Remind them that he is alive and conscious. Tell them that he is not lying on the floor of the classroom – he is lying on the pavement in a street in London. Ask students to suggest as many reasons as possible to explain why he is in this state. Write these on the board making corrections when necessary.
  6. Put students into pairs or small groups and write the following task on the board for them complete:
  7. Imagine you decide to approach the man lying on the pavement. What do you say? Think of 6 possible questions you could ask.Think of 6 possible answers that he could give.
  8. Do feedback and write all good questions and answers on the board.
  9. Put students into small groups (4 if possible, 3 if not). Give out copies of the Script Preparation Task and the Script (both included in the PDF download). In their groups, ask students to work together to complete the Script Preparation Task (instructions are included on the sheet). Offer help with any unknown language, especially the adjectives that are used in the task (curious, apologetic, hysterical, etc).
  10. Tell students that they are going to act out the scene in their groups. They should decide who is going to play the various roles. Give students a few minutes to prepare. (Note that for groups that contain 3 students, someone will have to double up as both Pedestrian 2 and the Police officer. Alternatively, you the teacher can offer to get involved.)
  11. Invite students to act out the script in front of the class. Pedestrian 1 should start by tripping over the outline of the Man on pavement. Get the actor who is playing the Man on pavement to sit on a chair beside the outline (this means that no one has to lie on the floor). Pedestrian 2 and the Police officer should stay backstage until their moments arrive. Record performances with video cameras if possible.
  12. Show the Radiohead music video to everyone. Ask students if they can guess what the pavement man says at the end.

Follow ups

  • Ask students to go onto discussion forums and blogs to find out the various theories and ideas about what the man says at the end of the video.
  • Students might be interested to know that producer Mark Ronson did a cover of the Radiohead song, the video of which satirises the street scene.

Posted 27/2/11

16 Responses to Lying on the pavement

  1. Eleny Roumba says:

    Thank you! Just did this lesson a few hours ago and it was a great success! A fabulous way to get ALL my 15 year old kids (finally!) interested and actively participating for the whole 90 minutes of class :) They couldn’t however believe that there was no ‘end’ to the story, but I am hoping that they come up with their own theories (homework) as to the ‘why’- we’ll see next lesson!

  2. Jamie Keddie says:

    Thank you Eleny
    Good to hear that the activity work. The ending is a danger! It is OK to spend 3 minutes watching the music video and then realise that there is no closure. But if the activity is extended to a whole class students can be a bit unhappy and feel cheated. I have done the activity twice. 2 classes loved it, 2 classes not so enthusiastic. Let me know about the homework results.

  3. I really enjoyed this lesson preparation. I just got to visualize it and it looked great! Remember I am a drama teacher and puppeteer. Just perfect for teens. Jamie, great lesson, congratulations!

  4. Jamie Keddie says:

    Thanks Luiz :)

  5. Eleny Roumba says:

    Needless to say homework results were less enthusiastic than participation in lesson! However a few students made an attempt to find some sort of ‘answers’ and there was a class discussion about the lyrics, ‘…you do it to yourself’. One student suggested it really didn’t matter what the man said it was the fact that people won’t take ‘no’ for an answer (no matter the consequences!) Would definitely do the lesson again :)

  6. Jamie Keddie says:

    Hello Eleny
    Thanks for the comment
    What a great interpretation. One of the best I have heard. The material really can divide students but when it works it’s fun.
    Thanks for that
    Jamie :-)

  7. Stanimira Paskova says:

    This is one ingenious video and so is the lesson plan; preparing it is going to be fun yet challenging for me since I am not very handy but I think my older students, tenthgraders, are going to enjoy it tremendously! I can`t wait for the spring break in Bulgaria to be over and present it to the class. Once again, the issues raised here are serious and thought-provoking especially the open end, very curious to see what students` reactions will be!

  8. Jamie Keddie says:

    Thank you Stanimira
    Good luck. Come back and say how the activity went.
    Hope you are enjoying your holiday
    Jamie :-)

  9. Hale says:

    Hi Jamie,
    Thanks for the lesson plan. I did it with my 5th grade students and it went awesome. First of all the reaction to the man lying on the pavement at first sight was amazing. They gathered together around the man and started commenting without any instructions. They had a lot to say during the activity. They had so much fun in the act out part but they said the most enjoyable part was the video. After the video we had some time to talk about what kind of act out did they see while watching the video ( to revise the new vocab. for them) Surprisingly they remembered and told me the words they’ve learnt during the activity. Thanks a lot for the fruitful ideas:)

  10. Jamie Keddie says:

    Hello Hale
    I’m chuffed to hear that it worked well! (Chuffed = very happy in Scottish). You must have done a great job – it isn’t the easiest activity to make work.
    Thanks for the feedback

  11. Luciano says:

    It worked perfectly well with all my three elementary groups, thanks a lot for sharing, this is a great lesson.

  12. Jamie Keddie says:

    Well done Luciano. Glad to hear that it worked :-)

  13. Valery says:

    Hi Jamie, Just wanted to let you know that my students loved this lesson. I was able to set up the cut out figure before they entered the room. I did not even need to rearrange the room as their tables were already in islands so there was just the perfect place right in the middle of the room. It was great seeing their reactions. Of course they were all very curious to know WHO put the figure down. At first they thought that it was a student from another class that was playing a prank. Very very funny. They are a very creative group of people and it got them talking and telling stories about times they came across someone who had fallen down. The act out part went well too. Then we spoke about different endings. I would use this lesson again if I get the chance. Thanks for the idea.

  14. Jamie Keddie says:

    Hello Valery
    Thanks for this feedback. Always happy to hear how these lessons go. I know that when this activity works it can be great, but it’s not always easy to get it to do so. Congratulations on a great job.
    Jamie :-)

  15. Joanne says:

    What a great class! I also took some suggestions from various forums to give my students some inspiration – here they are incase anyone’d like to use them too!

    Lay down and listen.
    Because I want to.
    Sit the f-ck down on the road.
    I will tell you why if you lie down
    The director told us to lie down now.
    No matter who you are or what you do you will be forgotten.
    Everything you do, you do it to yourself.
    You do it to yourself, just you, and that’s why it really hurts.
    Life is pointless, in the end you will die and be forgotten.
    You never know, it might work.
    There’s just no way to fix the world.

  16. Jamie Keddie says:

    Hello Joanne
    Thanks for your comment and extra ideas. I quite like this activity too. I haven’t used it for ages – might do it tomorrow.
    Jamie :)