Family & Relationships

Age: Teens

The verb tense found in the song “THE ANTHEM” is the future. Students might relate to the song, for they are at an age when they are making plans or not sure about their future yet. Therefore, this might turn out to be a great speaking activity. The structure to be used is Will and Going To. First students share a little bit about what their plans are. Then, they guess the name of the band. After that, they listen to the song and find out what the author´s plans are. Finally, they discuss in pairs or in small groups what childhood was like, what teenagehood is like and what they think adulthood will be like and which one they think is easier and why.


Age: Older Teens & Adults

The song “BEAT IT” provides students with an opportunity to engage into a warm discussion about bullying and also practice Modals Of Advice. First, they share whether they have experienced it and how the problem is addressed in the country they live. Then, they read some facts and statistics about bullying in the U.S. After that, they listen to the song and check the use of the structure ´d better. Finally, they engage into a pair work or group work activity in which they will either role play a dialog or collect data (facts and statistics) on bullying in their country. In the end, they share their findings with their peers.


Age: Older Teens & Adults

The activity designed for the song “FAMILY PORTRAIT” allows us to reflect and have a discussion on the type of families we had growing up and how they shaped our character. First, students guess what the singer was like when she was a kid. Then, they guess the type of family she had growing up. After that, they listen to the song and find out the type of family she had based on the lyrics. Finally, they engage into a discussion in which they share what it was like growing up in their families.


Age: Older Teens & Adults

The song “VINCENT” is about the painting Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh. First, students share in pairs their opinion about studying art in school. Then, they answer a quiz about various artists. After that, based on pictures of famous paintings displayed on the walls, they listen to the song and guess which painting the song is describing and who painted it. After that, they share their opinion.


Age: Adults

The song “WHOSE BED HAVE YOUR BOOTS BEEN UNDER?” is about cheating. Some discussion on the topic can take place after listening to this song, so here is what I propose. First, students discuss what factors can contribute to the end of a relationship. Then, they listen to the song and find out why the author is upset about her relationship. Finally, they answer questions on the topic.


 Age: Adults

Although this song “CRASH BOOM BANG”  is full of verb tenses (simple present, simple past, present continuous and present perfect), the focus here is not grammar but speaking. The song allows students to reflect and talk about lessons they have learned in life. They talk for a moment about it and then, they listen to the song and find out what lesson the author has learned.


Age: Older Teens & Adults

We can practice talking about friendships with the song “I´LL BE THERE”. First, students choose from a number of friendship quotes the best one and justify their choice. Then, they listen to the song and find out what kind of friend the author is. Finally, they talk about their best friend.The exact same activity can be used with the songs “STAND BY ME” and “YOU´VE GOT A FRIEND” and “SEE YOU AGAIN”.

NOTE: An option to wrap it up is have students draw their best friend or write about them.


Age: Older Teens & Adults

The song “I CAN´T LIE” is nice to be played for older teenagers (they will even sing along) and adults of course.  First, they work on some vocabulary that will enable them to engage into a conversation. Then, they listen to the song and fill in the blanks. Finally, they wrap the activity up talking about relationships and sharing personal experiences.


Age: Older Teens and Adults

The song “WOMAN IN CHAINS” can be used to engage students into a conversation about the role of men and women in society. First, they are introduced to the vocabulary presented in the song and guess what it is about. Then, they listen to the song (which will mislead them to think that it is about one thing when in reality it is about something else). After they listen to the song, they say what they think and watch a video in which they find out what the meaning really is. Finally, they say whether they agree with the author or not.


Age: Adults

The activity that follows has been designed for the songs “SUPER WOMAN”, one by Alicia Keys and the other by Karyn White. First, students list qualities they think a super woman has. Then, they share them in pairs. After that, they listen to the song and compare the two women. Finally, they say which one they think is a REAL super woman and why.


Age: Older Teens & Adults

The song “UNPRETTY” is a good opportunity for students to talk about Social Pressure and work on their listening skills.

OPTION 1: First, students say what they would change about their physical appearance if they could. Then, they listen to the song and find 10 mistakes in the lyrics. After that, they say how they think the author feels and whether they relate to her. Finally, they talk about Social Pressures.

OPTION 2: First, they are introduced to the vocabulary necessary for the discussion to be had. Then, they play a game using Past Modals to speculate about procedures done by a few celebrities.  After that, they say which procedure they would undergo and why. Finally, they engage into a group discussion on Social Pressures.


Age: Adults


Age: Adults

The song “YOU´VE GOT WHAT IT TAKES” is about Relationships and students will have the opportunity to use It takes…. First, they match columns to understand and practice the structure. Then, they practice again saying what they think it takes to have a happy relationship. After that, they listen to the song and find out what the author thinks. Next, they read an article about the topic on Reader´s Digest and finally, they write sentences using the structure.


Age: Older Teens & Adults

The activity proposed for this song is short and simple. The song “BEN” is just an excuse to talk about Friendship. First, students explain the meaning of a quote. Then, they listen to the song and see whether they refer to it and why. After that, they engage into a conversation about their best friend. In the end, they speculate about who the author was singing to. Based on a link provided by the teacher, they find out the answer.


Age: Adults

The activity named “FOUR-SONG TASK”, which is proposed here, focuses on vocabulary and speaking practice. The goal is to make students see that songs are among the sources we have to learn about relationships. First, students go over some vocabulary used to talk about relationships and check comprehension and pronunciation. Then, they read the lyrics of four different songs and discuss what kind of relationship each author has. (I always choose not to play the songs because it´s time consuming. However, if time is not a problem for you, do so.) Finally, students share whether they have a relationship and what it´s like.


Age: Teens

A short and simple task for the song “SKATER BOY” is practicing rhyming. First, students guess and say what they know about the singer.  Then, they listen to the song and fill in the blanks with rhyming words. Finally, they engage into a discussion about taking people at face value.


Age: Older Teens & Adults

The activity proposed for the song “THE SCIENTIST” aims to provide students with the opportunity to talk about relationships. First, they look at a picture provided by the teacher and guess what the song is about. Then, they listen to the song and find out what kind of person the author is. After that, they answer a few questions in pairs.


Age: Older Teens

The activity designed for the song “BLANK SPACE” is rather simple. First, students answer a question by choosing from three options. Then, they listen to the song and based on the lyrics and on what they already know about the author, they try to guess which option she would choose.


Age: Older Teens & Adults

The song “YOU LEARN” is great to talk about learning experiences. First, students complete a sentence provided by the teacher. Then, they listen to the song and reflect on the author´s opinion. After that, they share their own opinion with their peers.


Age: Adults

A suggestion to engage students into a discussion on Life Achievements is the song “100 YEARS”. First, students guess what stages a man´s life has. Then, they are provided with a link to find the answer. After that, they listen to the song and try to identify those stages in the lyrics. Finally, they share their life achievements with their peers.


Age: Older Teens & Adults

Although the song “SHAKE IT OFF” aims at a young audience, the lyrics can be used in an adult learner class which is studying the topic Celebrities. The song is the way the author found to respond to public criticism and scrutiny. She also does that in the song “BLANK SPACE”. The activity proposed here is simple. First, they guess who the author is, based on clues provided by the teacher. Then, they listen to the song and find out its title and how the author responds to criticism. Finally, they share how they deal with criticism in general.


Age: Older Teens & Adults

The activity for the song “FOCUS” is the same proposed for the song “SHAKE IT OFF”. First, students guess who the singer is based on a few clues provided by the teacher. Then, they listen to the song and find out its name  and how she deals with criticism. Finally, they say how they react to criticism in general.


Age: Adults

A suggestion to engage students into a discussion on Life Achievements is the song“SEVEN YEARS”. First, students guess what stages a man´s life has. Then, they are provided with a link to find the answer. After that, they listen to the song and try to identify those stages in the lyrics. Finally, they share their accomplishments with their peers.

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