The Brainpop General English Lesson for one-on-one tutoring

This lesson plan is intended for language tutors teaching individual students with levels ranging from ‘lower intermediate’ to ‘advanced intermediate’

I have used this Brainpop lesson successfully for several years with students learning Spanish, English and French ; they love it and so do I.

In case you are not yet familiar with Brainpop, I recommend you watch at least two of their movies, along with their quizzes, before you move on.

I believe Brainpop to be an unmatched language learning tool, thanks to their fun aproach to instructional design, and the availability of quizzes, games and subtitles.

You should definitely give it a try.


The Brainpop General English Lesson Plan. 


Version A : For one-on-one tutoring

Class Duration : 1 hour

Material Required : Computer with internet access to

Pen and paper.

Ideally : subscription (gives access to all videos)

Pedagogical Objectives

At the end of this lesson the student will be able to:

Asks questions about a topic.

Make a presentation about a topic

Quick note of this  activity : Depending on the level of the student, the teacher has to adapt how strict she will be while correcting  grammar in real time : 

For students who need, above all, to develop speaking confidence and fluency, real -time corrections should be kept at a strict minimum.

More advanced students might require more  strict correction in order too keep the               activity challenging.



Teacher:  Today well have a very fun lesson, with videos, activities, quizzes and you will even deliver a presentation at the end. How does that sound ?”

Teacher opens video of choice. For this lesson plan I used the video on Martin Luther King Jr. (available for free here)

Teacher asks student “So, what have you heard about Martin Luther King ?”

Teacher Elicits Student answers

Teacher says “Great, we will watch a short movie about the man right now. There will be quiz at the end, but there is no need to take notes”


ACTIVITY 1 Video + Quiz  

Teacher and student watch video with subtitles. While watching the video, the teacher writes down all the vocabulary words that might be useful for the student to learn. I recommend a maximum of 7 such words.  At the end of the video, the teachers asks :

-So, how did you find the video ? Very easy ? Very difficult ? 

(this information will help the determine which the vocabulary the teacher will make the student practice)

If the student says “Very Difficult” then the teacher asks “Would you like to watch the video a second time before moving on to the quiz ? ” 

(Teacher replays the video if necessary)

Teacher opens quiz in “Graded” mode. Student answer the question on her own, without help  from the teacher.


Teacher provides ‘good job’ kind of feedback. whatever the result. Teacher points out that the student will have a second chance to go through the quiz.

“Ok that was fine. Don’t worry about the mistakes”

  • If the students have a very low score (>7 errors), watch the video again. Otherwhise continue with activity 2.


ACTIVITY 2 ” Quiz Copy Paste

The teacher will open the quiz in REVIEW mode.

SAMPLE QUESTION 1: Classic Question



” Okay, so the name of this activity is Quiz Copy Paste.”

“Read silently the question and the answers. Take your time.”

  Now, I dont want you to  read neither the question nor the answer out loud. What I want you to do is to Copy-Paste the question and the answer and create a big, beautiful sentence. For example, imagine I chose answer A  (As a teacher here you must choose the wrong answer). In that case, what do you think I would say?

Teacher writes down the following :

 ‘ Segregation ________________________ because ______________________than the North


(The student takes his time to answer, and  the quiz  question stays on the computer screen the whole time)

Elicit the student to fill in the blanks. If necessary use the hangman elicitation technique…(Remember, in this onboarding question, we deliberately choose a wrong answer)

 ‘ Segregation w__ m___ c____ __ ___ _____ than n the _____ because (…)’

‘  Segregation wa_ mo_e c____n in t__ S____ than in the  N_____ because (…)

‘  Segregation was more comm__n in the Sou__ than in the Nor__ because (…)

…until the student finds the solution.

Teacher : Great ! (The final sentence should be: Segregation was more common in the North than in the South because the Souths Economy was stronger than the Norths) 


Teacher: “OK, Now it’s your turn ! Which answer do you choose ? A, B ,C or D ? 

Student answers D, for example (a wrong answer in this case)

Teacher :”OK, its your turn to create a big, beautiful sentence” (don’t tell the student this was the wrong choice)

If necessary, the teacher elicits using the fill in the blanks/hangman technique. The final answer should be:

“Segregation was more common in the North than in the South because Religion had a larger influence in the North than in the south”

Teacher clicks on the answer (In this case, it is not  the right answer – Moby the robot will let you know)


Teacher: “ Well, that was certainly a beautiful sentence, but unfortunately not the right one, lets try another ! “

Student  has to create sentences with the other answer, until she finds the right one; in this case :

” Segregation was more common in the North than in the South because slavery had once been a way of life in the South “

Teacher : Great ! Thats the right answer and also a beautiful sentence.

(It is very important that the teacher highlights that the most important thing is to create the sentence, not to get it right)



SAMPLE  QUESTION 2  ( Sequencing Questions)



Teacher: Now, question 2 is slightly different.

Teacher: “For creating a big , beautiful sentence from this question, you will need the following words “

Teaches writes on paper or board the following words : First, then, lastly, to take place, to give a speech.

Teacher: “Remember to put your verbs in past tense, for example, lets say I choose answer a (ACB). In that case, I would say : 

– First, Martin Luther King gave the I have a dream speech ; then, the Montgomery Bus Boycott took place and lastly King won the Nobel Peace Prize “

Teacher: “Ok , now it’s your turn !,

Which one do you choose ? A, B ,C or D ? “

Student chooses and answer : (For example, the right answer – d  C,A,B)

Elicit the use of the words you had preaviously put on the notepad (firstly….). Use the hangman/fill in the blanks technique if necessary.

The final answer will be,  in this case :

“First, the Montgomery bus boycott took place ; then King delivered the I have a Dream speech and lastly King won the Nobel Prize”

Teacher: ” Fantastic, lets move on. Look at the next question. Take your time “

Teacher waits for the student to choose answer


Student  chooses answer b (correct)

Remember : If the student chooses the wrong answer, do not correct him, and make him create the sentence with thew wrong answer anyway.

Teacher: ” Ok , now let’s fill in the blanks ”

‘ The most _____________why Martin Luther King ________________ was that __________________________.’

If necessary, elicit use the hangman technique e,g

The most l_______ r______ why Martin Luther King b______ a C________ m______ was that b___ his _____ and ______ (…)

The most like__ rea___ why Martin Luther King bec___e a Chri____ (…)

The final answer should look like this :

The most likely reason  why Martin Luther King became a Christian minister was that both his father and grandfather were ministers, so it was a family tradition.

SAMPLE QUESTION 4 (Question about meaning )



 Teacher: Ok, this  question requires a shorter answer.  What is your choice ?

Student chooses answer A

Teacher can use the fill in the blanks elicitation/hangman as required.

Final Sentence :

Eloquent means powerful and persuasive


Question 5 Classic Question

Answer : Martin Luther King was arrested and put in jail because he instructed people to disobey unjust laws.

Question 6  –  Classic Question

Possible Answer : Both Martin Luther King and Mahatma Ghandi used non-violent methods to protest injustice.

Question  7 Classic Question

Possible answer : An example of a Boycott is refusing to eat in a restaurant that mistreats its employees.

Question 8- Classic Question (but requires knowledge of U.S history I recommend skipping it.)

Question 9 Fact/Opinion questions(NEW!)

These very common questions in Brainpop help students identify facts from opinions ; i beliebe they should be skipped when teaching students at lower levels.



Teacher : “ The key word in this question is opinion. What would be the opposite of an opinion ?”.

Answer : A fact.

Quick refresher :

A fact is a statement that can be proven true or false

The skin of the iguana has scales (This is a fact- those disgusting protuberances are indeed calles scales)

An opinion is a statement that cant be proven either true or false

Iguana skin makes for the most beautiful wallets. ( This is an opinion – it is subjective, and it cannot be proven either right or wrong)

(here, insert drawing of a person disagreeing with the iguana skin wallet of the person )

‘I beg to differ, dear fellow, just look at  my gazelle skin wallet; it’s magnificence redefines elegance ‘








Possible Final Answer :  An opinion about racial segregation is that it probably would  have died on its own


It  probably would have  died on its own is an opinon about racial segregation

Question 10 (Classic question )

Final answer : Martin Luther Kings dream was that African Americans and Whites would learn to love and respect one another.


END OF ACTIVITY 1 QUIZ COPY PASTE’ (    MOVE AFTER ‘ I have  question for your answer’ 



I have the question for your answer


Teacher : Ok, now we are going to do a very fun activity called I have the question for you answer 

The general idea here is that on the screen you will see some answers and it is your job to come up with the «questions »

Teacher plays video : Stop at the first screen that could work as a question for an answer.


Example 1 :













Teacher : Ok ! So, here is your answer. What is the possible question ? Ask me !

(Elicit with fill in the blanks as needed)

Solution : The student asks the teacher Who was Martin Luther King ?

Teacher   I dont know ! Who was he ?

Student answers. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King wast the most important leader of the American Civil Rights Movement.



Example 2 : (with answer spit in two screens)









Screen 1                                                                          Screen 2


Teacher stops the video on screen 1, then plays again, then stops it on screen two for some 10 seconds, then goes back to screen 1 and pauses the video.

Ok, so, this is part of the answer. What is the possible question ? Ask me !

Elicit as necessary

Solution : Student asks teacher : What was the Civil Rights movement about ?

Teacher : I don’t know ! What was it about ?

Student : The civil rights movement was about having universal rights for al people ( TEACHER PLAYS THE VIDEO AN STOPS AT SCREEN TW0) …regardless of gender, income or skin color.

Example 3











Elicit question

Student asks teacher «What is segregation » or « what was segregation »

Teacher : « I don’t know »

Student : Segregation was the practuce of separting blacks and whites…


And so on an so forth.


It is easy to detect potential weaknesses in question formation with this exercise ;  I have realized that many of my students have problems asking questions in the past tese with the auxiliary verb ‘to do’. If that is the case, the teacher can assign homeworks to address these weaknesses .



Your name is Tim



Teacher : Okay, let’s  do the last activity related to Martin Luther King.  The name of this activity is ‘Your name is Tim’ and it consist of you,  being  Tim.

Explain that the name of the kid and the Orance Robot on the video ar Tim and Moby.

It is your task now to be the Narrator of the video.  I will control the mouse and I will stop it whenever there is something important to say.

I will leave the subtitles on, but there’s is a catch !

Since you are an excellent narrator, will be looking at your audience on the eyes ! And well, I am your only audience.

Depending on the level of the student, you can  allow them to watch the video one more time.


Example 1











Teacher stops the video.

Student looks at the screen.

Student looks at the teacher

« Martin Luther King was a leader of the civil rights movement »

(Do not correct the student at this stage, neither in grammar nor pronunciation)

 Teacher : «Great :











Student ( looking at the teacher) : «The civil rights movement was a movement to give rights to all persons regardless of gender, income or color of skin »












Student (Loking at teacher)  : In that time, America was a very different place, it separated blacks and whites ; this was called segregation.