The Street Performer

Theresa Dash - author of the lesson   Theresa I September 21, 2022
General English, Speaking Lessons
People, Homelessness
B1 Intermediate
Past Simple, Past Continuous
Grammar, Speaking, Vocabulary, Listening
Lesson ID
Lesson Time
45 minutes
Students engaged in an ESL lesson about homelessness and street performers, exploring these topics and their connections while learning and practicing the past simple and past continuous tenses.

Lesson Overview

Have you ever been strapped for cash? In this lesson, students will learn about homelessness and street performers. This lesson features a video of a man who performs in a subway station just to give the money away to others in need. Students will learn and practice the past simple and past continuous tenses and vocabulary relating to this topic. The lesson includes plenty of engaging discussion activities and worksheets that have been developed for adult and teenage learners.

Lesson Objectives

  • Grammar: Students will learn how to use past simple and past continuous tenses correctly. They will practice telling stories about things that happened and things that were happening.

  • Listening: Learners will watch a video about a street performer who gives away money. This will help them get better at listening and understanding English. They will learn to listen for specific details and understand why the performer does what he does.

  • Speaking: Students will talk about homelessness, being kind, and how one person can make a difference. They will share their thoughts and maybe their own stories about helping others or times when they needed help.

  • Vocabulary: The objective is to learn new words about helping, homelessness, and everyday activities. Students will also practice using adjectives to describe how people feel and verbs to talk about actions in the past.

  • Homework: Students will have different tasks to help them remember and use what they learned about past tenses and new words. They will write sentences, fill in blanks with the right verbs, and think more about how to help others.


Have you ever given away your hard-earned cash? Meet the street performer who gives away money. This New York City resident helps homeless people who need money for food, a bus ticket, or a pet. “Everybody has this ability to give.”

Video Transcript

Vocabulary and Pronunciation

audition [noun]: a trial performance or interview for a singer, actor, dancer, or musician
busk [verb]: to perform music or other entertainment in the street or another public place for money
subletting [verb]: to lease or rent out (a property) to another person
hardship [noun]: severe suffering or deprivation
suspended coffee [noun]: a cup of coffee paid for in advance as an anonymous act of charity
well-off [adjective]: being in good condition or favorable circumstances
modest [adjective]: moderate in the estimation of one's abilities or achievements; humble
speak highly of [idiom]: to admire and respect (someone) a lot
shelter [noun]: a place giving temporary protection from bad weather, danger, etc.
take up [phrasal verb]: to respond favorably to (a person offering a bet, challenge, proposal, etc.)
guitar case [noun]: a soft, padded bag or container used for storing and transporting a guitar
initiative [noun]: energy or effort displayed in order to start an action
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