Dec 7, 2013

Love Actually: activities, ideas, vocabulary

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I use a lot of films in my teaching: not just occasional Youtube clips but full-length authentic feature films, and I’ve been wanting for a while to start a new section on this blog where I would upload my film-based materials. I thought December would be a suitable time to share materials for many people’s favourite Christmas film Love Actually.
Warning: some scenes are suitable for adults only

Activities actually

The activities are divided into three parts. They are not particularly imaginative - mainly questions to answer while watching. Feel free to adapt them.
Pages 1-2 are for the first part of the film (until 4 weeks to Christmas title appears )
Pages 3-8  focus on various characters. You can divide the class into 4 groups and assign each group different characters. Because it's quite a big chunk of the film (more than an hour) students can watch this part at home.
Alternatively, you can focus on (a pair of) characters each lesson with the whole class - this is what I normally do - but it involves lots of skipping back and forth to select the scenes with the character(s) you need.
Page 9 is for the final scenes of the film (from Christmas Eve title onward)

  Download all the pages here Love Actually ALL or preview them below:

Some ideas actually

Throughout the film there are a lot of opportunities for split-viewing. You can either ask half the class to turn their backs to the TV/screen or go out of the classroom. The other half have to describe to them what is happening - or what happened. For example, this scene where Jamie and Aurelia jump into the pond to save the manuscript:

Press conference
Before you watch the press-conference scene with the British PM and American president, pause the video and get your students to role play the press conference. Nominate two students who will play the roles of the two politicians. Other students acting as journalists ask them questions.
You can also send the journalists out of the class to work on the questions (split-viewing) so that they don't see the scene immediately preceding the press conference (when the US President kisses Natalie). It always make for a fun role play as the two students playing the roles of the PM and President will be the only ones who know what really happened.

Harry buys a necklace - see the lesson plan HERE

Sound off
There are a number of scenes you can play with the sound off and ask your students to guess what's happening or write a dialogue for the scene. For example, the scene when Juliet calls on Mark to look for a videotape.

There are lots of songs from the film soundtrack you can bring to class. For example, "Both Sides Now" by Joni Mitchell - great for discussion about love and life.

This article has a great overview of the film summarising the main storylines:
10 reasons why Love Actually actually should be your cinematic Christmas tradition

Vocabulary actually

The whole script of the film can be found HERE. I have highlighted in green and in pink some lexical items (words and phrases) that you might want to focus on in class.

There is also a Quizlet set (click HERE) which contain the items highlighted in green (plus some extra words thrown in) for additional practice and review. Alternatively, you may want to do it as a pre-watching activity.

Hope your students not only enjoy watching the film but learn some language too!

Looking for more video-based activities? 
Click HERE for activities based on short clips


  1. These are fantastic activities. A great class plan. Thanks a lot for sharing!

    1. Thank you for your comment, Antonio. I am glad you like them.

  2. I love the movie and I love your activities. I´m planning to use them next week Thank you!

    Isabel Gonzalez Bueno
    Buenos Aires

  3. Thank you, I am definitely planning to use your ideas next week.

    Silja Ild
    Saku, Estonia

  4. The great job! Thank You so much.

  5. thank you very much for great job! it is very valuable thing! your materials aspire me to do my job as interesting as possible and ypu help me and other I think)))

  6. Excellent work ! thank you very much!

  7. Dear all,
    Sorry for a group response for which I hope you will forgive me. It's lovely to hear that so many of you liked the post.
    Isabel, Saku, do let me know how it goes.
    Thank you very much!

  8. I could see only the title of the movies, but how could I get it ?

    1. You mean the actual movie? I am afraid you have to rent, buy or borrow a DVD.

  9. Thank you so much.Your Ideas are great :)
    i will surely implement it.
    Moreover to improve vocabulary one can also visit

  10. Some teachers think the ESL teacher is someone who is there to support failing students. Others think that the ESL teacher speaks all the languages spoken by the English Language Learners. That's how I end up speaking more than 20 languages

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  11. Great!!! Thank you very much!

    1. Thank you, Tani. Hope to see you here, on my blog again.

  12. Great!!! Thank you very much!

  13. Thanks Leo, this is really great! Regards from Macedonia!

    1. Thank you. Good to have you here, Daniela!

  14. Definitely going to use this next week. Love the film and your activities will really help to make the most of it. Thanks for taking the time to share it

  15. Thank you so much! You are amazing!!!


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