A speaking activity in connection with the movie, School of Rock

Paul Howl, Asia University


Quick guide

  • Keywords:Rock, band, travel, concert, tour, American cities
  • Learner English level:Mid beginner to low intermediate
  • Learner maturity:High school and up
  • Preparation time:15 minutes (if you know the film)
  • Activity time:30 minutes (plus 2hours if the film is viewed)
  • Materials: Pictures of rock bands, DVD/video of School of Rock and handouts (see Appendixes)


Movies are an effective language-learning tool. It is important to find a film that students will enjoy. Most students enjoy comedy because the plots are usually simple and there are plenty of visuals. School of Rock is a funny and light film that takes place in a classroom. A rock artist transforms private school students into rock-and-roll kids. Creating a speaking activity from the film enhances student comprehension and stimulates conversation. This speaking activity is meant as a follow-up after students have viewed the film, and is a gap-fill in which three groups use information provided to extend the story.


Rent a copy of School of Rock.Before you show the film, describe the meaning of rock-and-roll and show picture examples. Write the names of the major movie characters on the board and describe them. During the film, you may want to stop frequently and provide comprehension questions or crossword puzzles to keep the students interested in the film. Before the class in which you do this activity, copy and cut in half enough paired letter handouts (see Appendix 1) for the class.


Step 1: Put the students into pairs. Tell the students they are members of the band from the film, and they are going to travel across the country on a concert tour. The tour is broken into three legs, and three pairs must combine their information to complete the leg.

Step 2:Give each pair a copy of the gap-fill tour schedule (see Appendix 1).There are nine pairs in total (three groups of three pairs), and each pair has an A half and a B half. Each pair will need to get all the information about their particular leg of the tour to complete the comprehension quiz later.

Step 3: Model the activity for the students. Tell them they must move around the classroom and ask other students for the missing information on their handout. Students will receive one of two answers, “I don’t know” or the correct answer. Once the students complete their information, they sit and wait for further instructions.

Step 4: The teacher hands out comprehension questions to each student in each pair for theirparticular leg (see Appendix 2). This handout contains questions about the information each pair obtained in Step 3. For each pair, partner A receives the corresponding “A” handout and partner B, the “B” handout. Tell each pair to answer every question.

Step 5: The teacher writes the answers to all questions on the board. Acopy of the answers is available in Appendix 3. Students check their answers and hand in their completed tour schedule and comprehension questions.

Note:There are 18 dates on the tour. This means that 18 students can participate. If there are more than 18 students in your class, simply give the same handouts to extra pairs. If you have fewer than 18 students, give combined handouts to selected pairs, or complete only part of the tour.


Students must interact with each other to complete the tourscheduleand therefore this becomes a whole-classactivity. All of the four skills are involved: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Student reactions are usually very positive. They are eager to find the information and look forward to the second half of the activity. You can also provide students with A4-sized US maps. This allows them to get a better understanding of the location of the cities they visit. Finally, the students can also identify more closely withthe film, its characters,and theme.


The appendixes for this article are available below.