Worlds Apart

Daniel Brint Resources for teachers 3 Comments

Worlds Apart

Activities for a short animated film.

I have created a lot of lessons over the years using short animated films. Animation is engaging and visually stimulating and provides excellent materials for practicing a wide range of skills. The following lesson is one of my favourites.

Lessons Plans

This lesson focuses on narrating events –

  • Past tenses and narrative linkers
  • Combinations of simple past and past perfect for ordering events.
  • Use of the present continuous to describe the background to an action.
  • Linking, sequence words: after that/ then / later / many years later etc


Ecology, pollution, space, aliens, childhood, sadness, happiness.

Genre – students also think and learn about Science Fiction themes and conventions.

Worlds Apart is a short, animated film you can see here:

This is suitable for a B1/B2 class.

  1. Tell students they are going to hear the sounds that accompany the beginning of a short, animated film. Don’t tell them anything about it. They could close their eyes to concentrate on creating a mental picture. With the screen muted, play the opening. Stop after about a minute. Ask students to discuss their ideas in pairs. With the whole class, write suggestions on the board and ask students to justify their ideas (‘you can hear some kind of vehicle/there’s a lot of wind – I think it’s at night etc). Then watch the first minute and see how similar the film and the predictions are. Finally, write ‘science fiction’ on the board and ask students to discuss films they have seen or what kind of stories they expect to find in a science fiction film.
  1. Use a prepared handout of screenshots from the film. Choose about 8 moments from the film and mix them up on an A4 handout. Give these out and ask students to predict the story – ‘this picture looks like there’s a big problem with pollution, perhaps people are dying / perhaps the aliens here have attacked the earth,’ etc.
  2. Watch the whole film. As they watch, students note the order in which the screenshots appear. After watching, check the order. Give out/put these sentences on the board tell students to put them in order.
  • Aliens found the family house.
  • The child played with the teddy bear in the sunshine
  • We see a bulldozer
  • The boy sees shapes in the clouds
  • Someone gets a wonderful present.
  • There were reports on the television.
  • The aliens arrived back home.
  • The aliens analyse something they find.
  • The boy wanted to go back for the teddy.
  • The family lived in a house in the country

Check with the whole class. Using the pictures and sentences, ask students to retell the story to each other. Monitor and help with language.

  1. Follow up activities:

Develop the Science Fiction aspect by getting students to research SF stories, films, TV series etc and report back to the class.

Use the teddy bear in the story as a writing activity – the students write the story from the bear’s point of view.

THIS LOVE IS NOT FOR COWARDS – By Robert Andrew Powell

Daniel Brint Literature & Literary criticism 2 Comments


By Robert Andrew Powell

Before the publication of Fever Pitch, Nick Hornby’s autobiographical account of being a football supporter, “the beautiful game” was not really considered a subject for serious writing. Football books were either ghosted biographies of stars and managers, or celebrations of particular clubs. Since Hornby, a genre of books about football has emerged, often dealing with the individual experience of supporters and sometimes branching out to explore the social and cultural contexts surround ingthe world’s favourite game – My Father and other Working Class Football Heroes by Gary Imlach or Football Against the Enemy by Simon Kuper, for example.) Powell’s book is unusual as it is written by an American for whom football (or soccer) is not a religion given at birth, but a game played by and followed by foreigners – in his case, the peoples of drug scarred Jaurez in Mexico, where Powell has put down roots. In the USA, soccer is a minority sport and usually associated with girls, despite the numerous attempts over the years to export it to a national level. The fact Powell can stand at a distance from the sport is a definite advantage, giving his the detachment of an anthropologist. He follows the fortune – and mainly the misfortunes – of Los Indios, a team that inspires great loyalty but minimal joy. This book is about far more than soccer, however, it is an account of a community where murder is common, drug addiction the norm and law and order something that departed as the cartels moved in. Like supporting a losing team, survival depends on hope, determination, loyalty and belief, only unlike football, this really is a question of life and death


THERE’S A RIOT GOING ON – By Peter Doggett

Daniel Brint Literature & Literary criticism 1 Comment


By Peter Doggett

Non-fiction (2007)

Revolutionaries, rock stars, 60’s counter-culture, black power, Vietnam…If you are interested in any of the former, this book will prove to be gripping and informative. Doggett’s style is lively and entirely readable. By linking social issues to rock music he effectively provides a soundtrack for the narrative, but a soundtrack that looks in detail at the way musical traditions were adapted and shaped by the events they reflected, or sometimes inspired. The book is full of fascinating detail, carefully balanced to represent the various political and revolutionary movements of the 60’s and early 70’s.


DIRT MUSIC – By Tim Winton

Daniel Brint Literature & Literary criticism 0 Comments


By Tim Winton


When I began choosing books for a Book Club in Madrid I was worried that I might end up just selecting books I like. Several years on, that is probably the case, inasmuch as I never chose a book I dislike. What I try and do, however, is read books chosen more or less at random, as a way of broadening my own process of selection. One such choice, bought “sight unseen” was Tim Winton’s Dirt Music. It’s a book of immense lyricism, a sense of place so powerful you can smell the earth and brine, and a group of characters who, though disturbing and sometimes shocking, are entirely believable. After reading Dirt Music I ordered several other books by Winton. They were all good – interesting – but not one of them, in my opinion, comes close to the power of this novel. As for the plot, allow me to quote from the blurb: “Set in the wild landscape of Western Australia, this is a novel about the odds of breaking with the past, a love story about people stifled by grief and regret, whose dreams are lost, whose hope have dried up.” It is also about the moments of wordless music that rise from the dust and give us hope.


THE ROBBER BRIDE – By Margaret Atwood

Daniel Brint Literature & Literary criticism 0 Comments


By Margaret Atwood

The Robber Bride is a radical re-working of a fairly standard format. A number of protagonists (three women) are linked through shared suffering – in this case the impact on their lives of a seemingly classical femme fetal, and their separate narratives unfold at the same time as they interconnect and reflect. Finally, the narrative is brought back to the present (where it began) for the powerful ending. The plot and stories are brilliant but it is Atwood’s genius that makes them secondary to the psychological and social insights she provides into how different people respond to life’s challenges. Men, not unsurprisingly, do not emerge too favourably in this novel. Mostly they are vain, weak, lazy, predatory or just plain repulsive. It is even more interesting, therefore, that the person who brings the three women together is another woman, the femme fetal – Zenia. It’s a great book, shocking and provocative, with the capacity to take the reader into mysterious, uncomfortable areas of experience.