Monday, July 17, 2006

Using songs in your EFL/ESL lessons



I know I said I'd leave off the ideas for a while but this came to me on the bus ride back from the centre of Thessaloniki and it seemed too good to waste. This exercise is a good way for students to express opinions and different degrees of certainty and uncertainty, i.e. modal verbs etc.

Lesson plan

1 Explain to the students that you are going to play a song and all you want them to do is write down ten words that come to mind when they hear it.

2 Play Your Beautiful by James Blunt. (You could try Torrentspy, but you didn't hear that from me, ok?)

3 Students then work together in pairs or groups, explaining which words they choose and why.

4 Hand out the lyrics to the song and explain to the students that they are going to write down four columns;

-What we know for sure about him
-What we can guess about him
-What we know for sure about her
-What we can guess about her

JAMES BLUNT LYRICS

"You're Beautiful"

My life is brilliant.

My life is brilliant.
My love is pure.
I saw an angel.
Of that I'm sure.
She smiled at me on the subway.
She was with another man.
But I won't lose no sleep on that,
'Cause I've got a plan.

You're beautiful. You're beautiful.
You're beautiful, it's true.
I saw your face in a crowded place,
And I don't know what to do,
'Cause I'll never be with you.

Yeah, she caught my eye,
As we walked on by.
She could see from my face that I was,
Flying high, [ - video/radio edited version]
F##king high, [ - CD version]
And I don't think that I'll see her again,
But we shared a moment that will last till the end.

You're beautiful. You're beautiful.
You're beautiful, it's true.
I saw your face in a crowded place,
And I don't know what to do,
'Cause I'll never be with you.

You're beautiful. You're beautiful.
You're beautiful, it's true.
There must be an angel with a smile on her face,
When she thought up that I should be with you.
But it's time to face the truth,
I will never be with you


This might be a good point to go over modal verbs such as might be, could be, will have been etc. and other ways of expressing certainty/uncertainty such as perhaps, it seems that etc.

5 Play the song again and student.

6 Each student fills in their four columns and then compares their answers with their partner.

7 Elicit answers from the whole class.

8 As a follow up exercise, student write a short dialogue, imagining that the two people meet again in a cafe or bar. The class could then vote on the best performance.

You could even ask them to act it out and record it using a video camera then post it on YouTube.

2 comments:

metafora zero said...

Hello there¡¡ My name's Mauricio Aldana. Yesterday I just bumped into this lesson plan and decided to give it a try¡¡ I can not be more satisfied. My students were really into the activity. Since they had different interpretations, there was a sort of debate on the nature of argumentation¡¡

Thank you very much¡¡

Sharron said...

I really appreciated this post - it worked famously in my class! Another song you can do for modals of speculation is "Stuck Like Glue" by Sugarland. The video is available on YouTube.