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Using "Groundhog Day" for advanced students

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Having tried different films for discussion topics with advanced ESL students, I feel "Groundhog Day" is the most suitable one I have found so far. Comedy is engaging for most students (as well as being one of the more difficult cultural aspects to master) and the underlying themes lend themselves to extended discussion. I have included the worksheet I created for the students to answer during the film, but I NEVER stick to worksheets strictly. I also encouraged students to keep track of the different "versions" of Groundhog Day, which necessarily falls apart after the first 7 versions or so. Good luck!

Kelly Banz
Advanced ESL teacher
Wake Technical Community College
Raleigh, NC, USA

Groundhog Day (1993)

Groundhog: woodchuck, related to weasels and prairie dogs.

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
As much ground as a groundhog could grind if a groundhog could grind ground. (tongue twisters)

1. Order the following "phases" of Phil Connor's reaction to his situation:
a) recklessness
b) planning and remembering
c) helping others
d) desperation
e) testing the situation
f) denial
g) learning skills

2. Describe the differences and similarities of American and your native country's folk festivals.

3. Describe Phil Connor's character at the beginning of the movie and at the end.

4. What three things did Phil think he had to do to get out of the cycle and move onto Feb. 3? Which one worked?

5. What are the metaphysical themes of the movie? What does Phil say/exhibit about the following:
a) omnipotence
b) chance/luck
c) change
d) planning
e) opportunities

6. What is a "prima donna"? A "hick"? "Déjà vu"?

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