I have never taught a lesson based on a song. Yes, for real. However, this song just got so deeply under my skin that I had no choice but to create a lesson plan for it. It is quite meaty because there is a lot to unpack and explore but it is a very engaging and inspiring lesson. At least that is what I think 😀
Format: groups (could be adapted for 121); online / offline
Nothing challenging: students simply have to listen to the song on YouTube. This is an audio version because students are NOT TO LOOK at the lyrics!!! Make sure they understand that part and resist the temptation to google the lyrics, otherwise, the whole lesson will be compromised.
I would say this step could be optional for C1-level students if you really doubt they will have time for this.
1) If you assigned the pre-lesson task: Ask students to share their impressions of the song [pairs] -> whole-class feedback.
2) *Slide 1* Show the picture and ask if it matches the mood of the song, why/why not. You can either just have a conversation with the whole class here or ask students to discuss briefly in pairs.
1) *Worksheet* Students look at the lyrics. Tell them to ignore any words/expressions they do not understand and focus on what they can understand.
2) Do the listening activity (the yellow gaps numbered 1-12). For each gap:
- play as many times as necessary
- compare the answers (each students gives their answer) and put them all on the whiteboard -> ask students which answer they think is correct OR give the correct answer if no one has it
- elicit the difficulties (i.e. why their answer was different) and ask students to describe the sound changes (e.g. sounds disappearing, etc.)
- explain what is happening and why (use phonemic transcription if your students are familiar with it)*
3) Once you have covered the features of the connected speech that are present in the song, you can do some practice on TubeQuizard for /t/ and /d/ elision and gemination (you can select some quizzes in advance).
*For this, use the Key
1) *Worksheet* Students look at the lyrics again and work in pairs/groups of three to explain the meaning of the underlined words/phrases (letters a-i). They are allowed to google.
The goal of this task is to teach students how to look up unfamiliar expressions on the internet because not all of them can be found in dictionaries. I know it sounds kind of weird but, surprisingly, even high-level students cannot always use google effectively when i comes to working with new lexis.
You can demonstrate how to google effectively by giving them an expressions not from the song and asking to google its meaning. For example, you can use the following dialogue:
Leroy: We’re moving her to the station. She already confessed.The Sinner (S01E01)
Ambrose: Post Miranda?
Leroy: Yeah, got all that. It’s crazy, man. She just seems so normal.
Give students several minutes to try to find the meaning of Ambrose’s question (you can find the answer here.) Let them share their findings with each other and confirm the right meaning.
After that, you can move on to working with the lyrics. Monitor and guide where necessary but do not spoon-feed.
2) Students share their ideas. This can be done either in groups of four if the group is big (8 people or more) or as a whole-class activity if the group is small. Finalise the answers.
1) Ask students: What do you think this song is really about? Let them discuss the meaning of the lyrics. The goal of this stage is to show students how to read between the lines and work out the meaning that might not be that obvious at first glance. Feel free to be part of their discussion and throw in some ideas.
2) *Slide 2* A bit of practice. Students discuss the questions on the slide and get the chance to use some of the more common expressions in a real conversation.
- students watch the official video and decide if it matches the spirit of the song (an oral or written reflection)
- students come up with their own idea for the video and present it in a form of a storyboard (this is a more creative task and could be transformed into a class project)
- students write some sentences about themselves or people they know using some of the new expressions (to internalise them)
If you decide to teach this lesson, I hope your students enjoy it! And please do let me know how it goes 🙂