Vision off - YouTube technique

In this activity, learners listen to a short film on YouTube and make deductions before watching it.

Nicola Crowley

This YouTube activity really gets your students thinking creatively. Students are motivated and have lots of fun. The activity can be used to review present simple tenses, vocabulary for sounds, language of deduction and making comparisons.


  • Open the YouTube video Teeth ( and make sure it is ready to play. Don't let your students see it. Cover the projector or screen if necessary.
  • Write the following questions on the board:
    • How many people are there in the scene?
    • What sounds can you hear?
    • Where is the scene set?
    • What's happening?


  • Tell students that you are going to play a short film (just over two minutes long) but they will not see it. They will need to listen and guess what's happening.
  • Tell the students to answer the questions on the board while they are listening.
  • Play the clip, making sure your students can't see it.
  • Ask students to compare their answers to the questions on the board with their partner's.
  • Go through the questions with the class and get as many different ideas from them as possible. Write the students' ideas on the board. Don't give the students the answers to the questions yet.
  • If you would like your students to practise the language of deduction, then encourage them to give feedback when answering the questions such as It must be set in a bathroom because I heard the sound of water splashing or There can't be more than one person in the scene because you only hear one man laughing.
  • Tell the students that films usually have a beginning (set-up), middle (event or complication) and an end (resolution). Elicit from the students what they think happened in the beginning, middle and end of this film.
  • Now tell the students that they are screenwriters for the short film. Ask students to work in pairs to make the storyboard or write the screenplay of the film (see worksheets below). If you have a mixed ability class you may wish to give some students the storyboard and others the screenplay. Students write or draw what happens in the beginning, middle and end of the film. Encourage students to use the present tense for describing the scene e.g. The scene fades in. A man stands in front of a mirror.
  • Alternatively, you can ask the students to discuss this in pairs without writing.
  • Now play Teeth again. This time allow the students to see it as well as listen to it.
  • Ask students if the scene they imagined was the same or different to what they had thought. You may ask your students to make comparisons e.g. In my screenplay there was one man whereas in the film there were two or The film is funnier than my screenplay.


Students can read the screenplays or storyboards and vote which one should be made into a film.

Screenplay15.28 KB
Storyboard24.79 KB
Language Level


Submitted by Babushka on Thu, 07/07/2011 - 15:12


Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed the video and ideas for the lesson! I am looking forward to the new school year to use this material. :-)

Submitted by kozeta on Mon, 07/11/2011 - 12:18


    I really enjoyed  it and I think it will be very interesting and useful practising it with my students in the new year .

Submitted by ozdemir15 on Sun, 10/16/2011 - 09:14


Hi Nicole

I think this activity will enjoyable. 

Submitted by mr mohsen on Fri, 09/14/2012 - 07:42


It's really useful video. i can use it to encourage young learner to talk in about a funny video.

I think it's great work. Can you help us with possible questions upon this video. Thanks

Submitted by Graciela Porta on Thu, 02/28/2013 - 19:59


Really a facinating activity! My students enjoyed it a lot.Thank you very much.

Submitted by katharinebrooks on Fri, 03/01/2013 - 13:23


Great activity. Even managed to get the usually-silent 15/16 year old class talking. Wondering if anyone knows of anymore short video clips that work well with this activity?

Submitted by Alisantu on Fri, 05/03/2013 - 08:27


This a great activity. I used it with my 11-12 year old A2 students, intermediate teens and a pre-int adult class and they all loved it. Obviously, the support required varies depending on the level.

I found that it was important to remind them of the title of the clip when they were guessing what is happening. It was surprising how many of them came so close to the real story actually.

I'll be using it again next week too.

Submitted by SabinaPeavey on Tue, 07/23/2013 - 08:39


I also have the same activity given to my students. The only difference is, I just use a pure audio that was converted from a YouTube video. I used a site called in getting the audio file. My students really enjoy the activity and they ask more audio files that they can use on the activity.

Submitted by fgr101 on Wed, 09/18/2013 - 02:45


Interesting... I'm going to use this activity with my adult students tomorrow! I hope it works well!! I'll write a comment to tell you how it finally worked soon... Thanks for the activity!

Submitted by joekernow on Tue, 06/21/2016 - 16:07


This is a cool lesson. I used it 4 or 5 years ago and then lost it. It took me ages to track it down again and I've used it several times recently and it is always a great hit with kids, teens and adults. Thank you

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