Black Friday

Download this eLesson Inspiration in PDF format: Black Friday

Classroom activities

Here you’ll find some practical ideas for working with the clip.  Choose the ones that suit your teaching aims, particular group of learners, your teaching style, and then plan your own lesson.


Set the Scene

Ask your students if they have heard about Black Friday. If not, give them some background:

Black Friday is the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States (the fourth Thursday of November), often regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. It is one of the busiest shopping days of the year when discounts and special deals are offered.

Tell them that as a response to Black Friday, an artist called Ted Dave invented BND. Invite them to come up with ideas about what the letters might stand for. (Buy Nothing Day)

‘Consequence’ Collocations

Write ‘consequences’ on the board, and ask your students to brainstorm words which can stand in front of it. E.g. political -, immediate -, short-term -, long-term -, psychological -, ecological -, unintended -, far-reaching -, environmental -, adverse -, unpleasant –. You can also elicit words by putting up the initials and giving some clues. Also, posing a Group Challenge can boost energy levels:  e.g. ‘Can you come up with 7 common collocations in one minute?’

Then tell them that ‘consequence’ will be a key word in the clip and ask them to listen for the context it comes up in.

Group Presentations

Give your students some background information on Buy Nothing Day.  Form groups of 3-4 students and ask each group to  produce an A3 size poster promoting BND (you will need markers and paper for each group). Alternatively, they can come up with a slogan, bumper sticker, or make a recording of a 1-minute ad.

Note: Having produced something of their own around the topic first, will create interest and focus for listening.


Student-generated comprehension questions

Put them into pairs and ask them to write five comprehension questions. If you feel it’s needed, give some examples. E.g. Who is the man being interviewed? What does the pig represent? Then listen to their questions and put one from each pair up on the board. Encourage them to listen to each other and to tick questions on their list that somebody else mentions.

They can then respond to some of the questions and choose some others as a focus for a 2nd listening.

Don’t Fill in the Gap

This task focuses on some key language from the clip.
From the point of view of retention and learning new language chunks, ‘don’t fill in the gap’ activities can be very effective. They encourage learners to work with and strengthen their oral memory. By writing the words on the side, they are creating a worksheet that allows them to revise language a few days later: they just fold over the right-hand side and recall the missing words.  The initials are given to jog their memory!

You can download the worksheet from here: Black Friday Worksheet

Role play with a twist

Divide the class into As and Bs and give them their roles.
As: You’re looking for a present for a good friend. The birthday is tomorrow so you really need to buy something now. You enter a shop called ‘Great Presents’.
Bs: You’re a shop assistant working in a shop called ‘Great Presents’. A customer has just entered the shop. Try to talk her/him out of buying anything. Start by saying, ‘Hello, what are you doing here?

Follow-up Search

Assign a key word to different students or groups of students. Ask them to do an internet search and be ready to present 3 pieces of information, 3 ideas based on what they find out. This can be homework, or if technology allows, you can give students 5-minutes in-class time. Then they give their mini-presentations.

Key words: Adbusters magazine, Ted Dave, Occupy Christmas, Voluntary Simplicity, Fair Trade

Note: It’s easy to get lost in detail when doing an internet search. Limiting their presentation to 3 interesting / useful pieces of information encourages them to select and to better process what they read.

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One Response to Black Friday

  1. Chris (Hunt) November 27, 2015 at 12:49 am #

    I really like the idea of “don’t fill in the gap”. It’s a pity the video is so old [2006] – given the rise of consumption in China do the figures in the ad still hold true? I had the same problem with a Buy Nothing Day Song I wrote. I ended up removing a monologue because the facts went out of date. But the central message about consumption destroying the planet remains urgent. Having said this a more direct criticism of capitalism would have been more thought-provoking Thanks for the plan.

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