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Video + Questions/Grammar: A Life Lesson From a Volunteer Firefighter (My Favourite TED Talk)

2 years ago
This is the video I show my students as an example of an almost perfect presentation. It is short, funny and simple yet delivers a powerful lesson for us to learn from.

True or False
1) At his first fire, Mark was the second volunteer on the scene
2) There was no rain that night
3) Mark saved the dog from the fire

1) Why did Mark want to get to the fire early?
2) Was Mark happy about what he was asked to do? Why/why not?
3) What "act of kindness" did the homeowner note in her letter?

When he told his story, Mark used the past simple and past continuous tenses. We use the past simple for important actions and the Past continuous to describe the situation of these important actions.
Example: When I found the captain (important), he was having a very engaging conversation with the homeowner (situation).

Please read and complete a piece of what Mark said using past simple and past continuous:
***The other volunteer who had arrived just before me ____________ (get) to the captain first and was asked to go inside and save the homeowner's dog.
***Well, I ____________ (be) next. The captain ____________ (wave) me over. He ____________ (say), ‘Bezos, I need you to go into the house. I need you to go upstairs, past the fire, and I need you to get this woman a pair of shoes.’ So, off I ____________ (go).
*** I ____________ (carry) my payload back downstairs where I met my nemesis and the precious dog by the front door. We ____________ (take) our treasures outside to the homeowner, where, not surprisingly, his ____________ (receive) much more attention than did mine.

Mark ends his presentation by saying: "Not every day is going to offer us a chance to save somebody's life, but every day offers us an opportunity to affect one."

Have you ever done/received a small act that made a difference in your/someone's life?