Posted 7/9/12

In this activity, learners listen very carefully to the audio track of a short film. From there, they collaborate in an attempt to work out what happens in the story. Before reading the activity, it is suggested that you try this for yourself. Click on this link which will take you to the video on YouTube and listen carefully – with your eyes closed!
  • Language level: Intermediate (B1) +
  • Learner type: Teens; Adults
  • Time: 35 minutes
  • Activity: Listening to an audio track and constructing a narrative
  • Topic: Luck; Honesty
  • Language: Narrative language; Sounds like …
  • Materials: The audio track of a short film
Blind Luck pdf [downloaded 9689 times]

Lesson plan outline

Note that this activity may work beter if you convert the video on YouTube to MP3 (audio) file. To do this, make use of a site such as SnipMP3, Xenra, or listentoyoutube.
  1. Tell students that they are going to hear a story. More specifically, they are going to hear the audio track from a short film. Tell them to listen very carefully and make a note of as many things as possible that they hear, or think they hear. To avoid the Virgin Media jingles, play the clip from 0:15 and stop it at 1:50.
  2. Put students into pairs or small groups and ask them to compare their notes.
  3. Play the audio a second time and let students consolidate or reconsider their ideas.
  4. Conduct feedback: Elicit as many different sounds as possible in the order that they are heard in the audio track. Spend time asking questions about the relevance of each sound in the context of the story. The PDF lesson plan (above) includes notes of possible questions to ask during this stage.
  5. Let students hear the audio track a third time. This will allow them to consolidate or reconsider ideas even further.
  6. In pairs or small groups (the same ones as before) ask students to construct a narrative to accompany the audio track. In other words, they should attempt to guess or work out exactly what happens in the short film – what is the story?
  7. Note that in order to do this, students need a vital piece of information: The ker-ching sound in the clip doesn’t happen in response to a physical action. It represents something that happens in one of the character’s heads.
  8. Let pairs or groups of students merge. Allow them to share their ideas. Encourage each group to come to a consensus story. They should do this by collaborating and selecting the good ideas and rejecting the weaker ones.
  9. Note: You may, or may not, decide to give students a second clue prior to this step: The title of the short film is Blind Luck.
  10. Allow a spokesperson from each group to present their group’s story.
  11. Show the video and let students compare their stories with the actual short film.
Posted 7/9/12

32 Responses to Blind luck

  1. Giulia says:

    Very difficult exercise! converting the sounds in a story is complicated but funny! it stimulates creativity and curiosity to find out the truth! I hope to see the entire film soon!

  2. Michael Keag says:

    This is great. Thank you so much for your inspirational lessons. Videotelling is a technique I use all the time now as I find it engages students and pushes them to be more creative.


  3. Jamie Keddie says:

    Hello Giulia
    I agree that this isn’t the easiest activity. And I don’t think it would work with all students. Step 4 (the feedback / teacher input stage) is very important for this reason. But good luck if you decide to give it a go!
    By the way, this is the entire film. It is a short film and nothing more!
    Jamie :)

  4. Jamie Keddie says:

    Great to hear it Michael
    I am working hard on the videotelling book. Hope to have it out by the end of th year.
    Thanks fo your comment
    Jamie :)

  5. Derek says:

    Hi Jamie
    just found your excellent site last week. You have some great ideas and I am excited to try out these ideas with my students.
    Love the concept of this latest idea, I shall be using it tomorrow.

    PS is the film entitled Blind Luck and not Blind love? (see note at point 7 above)

  6. Jamie Keddie says:

    Thank you Derek. Would love to hear how the activity works.
    And thanks for pointing out the typo. There are a couple of others that I will have to change as well.
    Good luck
    Jamie :)

  7. Seba says:

    I did it with A2 students :) I was too eager to do it and decided to experiment it on them :)
    It worked very well :) maybe B1 students would describe with more detail…
    Anyway, one of my students guessed the whole story except for the fact the man was blind. I was shocked :)))
    Thanks for all your creativity!!!

  8. Jamie Keddie says:

    That’s pretty impressive Seba. You must have managed the activity well with your A2 students. And quite amazing that one of the students guessed the story without the blind aspect. In fact, it just occurred to me that the activity could be called blind luck for more than one reason – students are given the video clip blind (i.e. audio only) and have to make lucky guesses about the story.
    Thanks for sharing
    Jamie :)

  9. Derek says:

    So I ran the lesson, it went down very well and amazingly I had the same experience as Seba, one of the female students got the story (almost on the first listen) apart from the man being blind, she did add more details that were amazing.

  10. Jamie Keddie says:

    Hello Derek
    Impressive, eh! Did you give them the title of the short film as well?

  11. Marie says:

    Just to let you know (but I’m sure you already do): here is a great website to cut off the parts you don’t want to use:

    here is the Blind Luck version without the Virgin media jingle:

    As usual, such an amazingly creative teacher you are ! I’d be glad to be one of your students !

  12. Jamie Keddie says:

    Thank you Marie
    I used to use TubeChop (or a similar application, perhaps) but had forgotten all about it. Great to find it again.
    Thank you for your nice comment
    Jamie :)

  13. Seba says:

    Hello everybody!!

    This activity rocks!! :)) I did it again, this time with B1 students. They guessed again as in the previous case.
    I also asked them to give the film a title before seeing it. They agreed on: ¨The winning ticket¨ :))
    They loved the activity and were excited to see they got it 90 % right.
    Thanks, Jamie!!! Give us more!!!


  14. Jamie Keddie says:

    Right, that’s it Seba! You have persuaded me to do this one tomorrow with my own class. I was going to leave it for a while but, well ….
    Thank you very for the comment/feedback.
    Jamie :)

  15. Seba says:

    I´m sure it will be great! But, please give us feedback. In case you don´t have internet connection in class :((( you can convert your video here:

  16. Lynette says:

    Hi, this worked really well with a B2 class using modals of deduction.
    Thanks a lot!

  17. Jamie Keddie says:

    Hello Lynette
    Very happy to know it went well
    Jamie :)

  18. Marija says:

    Hi, Jamie
    I saw your lecture/workshop in Belgrade last month and was soooo blown away!! To keep going for eight hours without breaking a sweat and keep everyone’s attention and high spirits all that time was just AMAZING!!! I felt really inspired and couldn’t wait for you to email what you had said you would, so I immediately tried some of the techniques you showed us (like videotelling) in my class, even with very young learners, only I used them on a written text from the coursebook (because we do have to follow the syllabus) and it worked great – lack of surprise with some students was the only spoiler. And now when I finally visited this blog and saw that you have all the complete lesson/activity plans with materials on the web ready and easy to use..well, I’m just deeply and truely thankful and I just must say it! I cannot decide which activity to do first, they are all sooooo great!!! Thank you, Jamie Keddie, you are a genius!
    Ps I’m even considering the summer course in Norwich!

  19. Jamie Keddie says:

    Thank you Marija
    You are very nice and I am very glad you enjoyed the day! You should have received the handout by now. If not, let me know. Hope to come back to Serbia very soon.
    Jamie :)

  20. Aika says:

    Hi Jamie! whoaaa! I’m so inspired by you. I will be graduating next year and I’m so excited to be an effective English Teacher veryyy soooon! :) Thank you for this site! You are a blessing to us! MOREEEE! :)

  21. Jamie Keddie says:

    Whoaaa Aika!
    Congratulations on almost graduating. I am sure you will be a great teacher.
    I am very happy you like the site. Thank you for your very nice comment.
    Jamie :)

  22. Jonathon Lane says:

    Hey Jamie,
    Thanks a lot for you website, a bit of Gem. Proving very engaging for my Migrant students in Australia.

  23. Jamie Keddie says:

    Very happy to hear it Jonathon
    Jamie :)

  24. Hi Jamie, have to say that right after the Slovenian IATEFL conference, I started using some of the great ideas I heard there, including yours, of course ;) the first one was with two Japanese girls and my students loved it so much that they keep asking for more video-oriented activities, so I use the ideas you share at this site quite a lot :) Thanks , see you in Opatija…

  25. Jamie Keddie says:

    I am very happy to hear it Sanja
    It was great to meet you at IATEFL Slovenia. Looking forward to IATEFL Croatia.
    Until then …
    Jamie :)

  26. Miguel says:

    Did this twice today! Once with an Int class, which worked well, one team got very close to the real video.. Great for creating a narrative..

    Secondly with a 1-1 class, boarding up the story and focussing on sentence structure and grammar..

    All round a good, creative lesson that forces them to think out of the box..

    Cheers for this!

  27. Jamie Keddie says:

    Hello Miguel
    Thank for the comment. Glad to hear that you/your students enjoyed the activity.
    I am interested to know what grammar and sentence structure you focused on. Also, ‘boarding up the story’ is a new phrase to me. Does this mean letting students hear it without seeing it?
    Thanks again!

  28. FAROUK says:

    Actually , i’ve dealt ith some amazing Like this in my class but for some of the students no matter hoW i teach or What i give , English is a nightmare , thank you

  29. Linda Napoleon says:

    Hi everyone,
    I did this with a small B2 class, at this level you can get a lot out of this. As a warmer we did modals of possibility with sounds, downloaded from, you can find practically any sound here. We didn’t do exactly the sounds in the video, I chose things like footsteps on concrete, glass breaking, dishwasher, popcorn popping… They had to discuss any differences of opinion, with modals and expressions like – it’s more likely to be – it’s got to be – I reckon etc. Then they have a lot of language they need for reconstructing the video as a group. They got the whole story except that the man was blind so I had to give them the title and the natural language was the present simple or continuous, verb followed by gerund etc. The most amazing thing with a B2 class was what followed after seeing the video, everyone was stunned and really motivated to speak, generating lots of requests for vocabulary and expressions. A very original idea, thanks a lot.

    • Jamie Keddie says:

      Hello Linda
      Thanks for sharing this and thanks for the link. Some good ideas
      Jamie :)

  30. Oubaas Olifant says:

    I really like this concept, and by so doing you encourage even those who are disruptive in class to concentrate and participate. To work in groups motivate those who becomes less interested or maybe bored. As much as you listen to the sounds the more the drilling comes in place.

  31. Jamie Keddie says:

    Glad you like it Oubaas
    Thanks for the nice comment
    Jamie :)