Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, K-3

In the BrainPOP ELL movie, You Must Be Polite! (L2U3L2), Ben and Moby are preparing for the dance on Saturday night. Ben tells Moby what they must and mustn’t do, from practicing dances to stepping on their partner’s toes! In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades K-8, students will distinguish between formal and informal language registers, and role play using polite requests and expressions, as well as informal language.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Distinguish between formal and informal language registers.
  2. Identify polite requests and expressions in the movie.
  3. Write dialogues using a word wall.
  4. Apply language to new situations.
  5. Create role-plays using polite requests and expressions and informal language.



Would you, Could you, Would you like, May I, Could I, Would you mind


Make a mask of a famous and important person, such as the President of the United States. You can simply print or cut out a picture, glue it to cardstock, and then glue it to a popsicle stick to hold it.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Would You Like to Dance? To introduce the concept of formal and informal language, select two student volunteers to come to the front. Have one of them hold up the mask of the president, or any other famous, important person. Without offering more explanation, invite a third student to come up and ask each of them if they want something to drink. Does he ask it the same way? Discuss the reasons with the class, and brainstorm situations when they might use more formal or polite language. Some ideas include at a job interview, in a restaurant, meeting a girlfriend's or boyfriend’s parents for the first time, or speaking with a priest, the principal, or a police officer.

    As students watch the movie You Must Be Polite! (L2U3L2), tell them to watch and listen for three polite expressions that Ben says. Invite a student to the board to write the expressions in the correct columns. They are:

    To ask for something politely: Would you like to dance?
    To ask for permission: (None)
    To offer help: May I take your hat? Can I bring you something to drink?

    Brainstorm additional expressions that might be said at a dance and add them to the lists. Next, have pairs of students choose one of the situations that you brainstormed earlier, and create a dialogue or role-play using polite language. You may want to first create a word wall with polite expressions such as:

    Asking for something politely: Would you? Could you? Could you please? Do you think you could?
    Asking permission: May I? Could I? Would you mind if? Do you think I could? Would you? Could you? Is it OK if? Is it all right if? Would you mind if?
    Offering help: May I? Could I? Can I? Would you like?
  2. Just Between Friends. Now have students concentrate on informal language. Using the dialogues they created, tell them to pretend that they're between good friends or family members. They should turn the polite requests into informal and friendly language. For example, instead of asking, Would you like something to drink? they will ask, Do you want a drink?