Reflective Writing

Age: Older Teens & Adults

The song “ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE” can be used for different purposes. Here the focus is Writing. First, students say what the song is about based on pictures provided by the teacher. Then, they listen to the song and say what the author´s intention was when he wrote the song. After that, they talk about the topic for some minutes and finally, they write a letter to the president addressing the issue. When writing, they will be asked to use Modals of Advice, Possibility and Obligation.


Age: Adults

The activity below was made for the song “STARTING TODAY” by Elvis Presley. Although SHOULD is a grammar point learned by teens as well, this song is not suitable for them, so in case the target group is a teen group, I suggest that you adapt this activity for a song performed by a young band or singer. Keep in mind that the song must be about someone with a problem. Bands such as Good Charlotte or Simple Plan have lyrics that teens relate to.

The target audience here is an adult group, so students first share in pairs what they might know about Elvis. They play a brief Q/A game after searching for information online. After that, they listen to the song and find out what the song is about. To wrap it up, students write a letter giving advice to someone. In the end, you could have students read their letters and choose the best advice or tape them to the wall.


Age: Older Teens & Adults

The song “HEAL THE WORLD” is used here to engage students into a discussion on world issues. First, students watch the video of the song and guess what it is about. Then, they are introduced to the vocabulary needed to understand the lyrics. After that, they listen to the song again and read the lyrics to check comprehension. Finally, they write a letter to their children telling them what kind of people they expect their children to be when they grow up.

The other option for the song is to focus on the verb THERE TOBE.


Age: Adults

The song “YOU´LL BE IN MY HEART” can be used to discuss Prejudice. First, students talk about cartoons and what lessons we can learn from them. After that, they look at the pictures of three cartoons and guess what they have in common. Next, they listen to the song and say what it is about. Finally, they have a brief discussion on the topic and write their opinion about it.


Age: Adults

We can practice WILL for Predictions and Promises with the song “YOU´LL SEE”. First, students guess who the singer is. Then, they predict what the singer will do after breaking up with her boyfriend. After that, they listen to the song and check. Finally, they pretend they have broken up with their significant other and write a letter telling them how they feel, using the structure.


Age: Adults

The song “CRYING” can be used to engage students into a discussion on Breaking up and also focus on the Simple Past.

OPTION 1: First,  students work on a puzzle to find the past form of the verbs in the song. Then, they listen to the song and fill in the blanks with the verbs found in the puzzle. Finally, they fill in a chart with the verbs in order to consolidate the past form.

OPTION 2: First, students talk for some minutes about Breaking up. Then, they listen to the song and find out who ended the relationship. Finally, assuming the song is a letter, they write a reply to it.


Age: Older Teens & Adults

The song “ALL ABOUT THAT BASS” fits like a glove when the topic is self-image. You can also practice Should and Ought to. The activity suggested here is simple. First, students list all kinds of pressure we experience throughout life. Then, they listen to the song and guess which pressure the author is talking about. After that, they talk for some minutes and decide whether the song has a positive or a negative message. Finally, they write an article using should and ought to.


Age: Teens

“WELCOME TO MY LIFE” is a song teenagers will definitely relate to. It´s great for the topic Social Pressures. The objective of the activity proposed here is engage students into a discussion by using the vocabulary learned. First, they list the difficulties they have been experiencing as teens and share them with a peer. After that, they listen to the song and say whether they relate to it or not. Then, they listen again and find 10 differences (synonyms for the language used in the lyrics.) In the end, students write a reply to the author.


Age: Older Teens & Adults

The song “ROYALS” allows us to practice the Second Conditional although the lyrics don´t have it. First, students say whether they would choose fame or fortune and why. Then, they listen to the song and check what the author’s opinion about having money is. Finally, they engage into a written task, in which they will write about what their lives would be like if they were rich.


Age: Older Teens & Adults

The song “BEAUTIFUL” is a good song to discuss self image, an issue teenagers relate to. First, students, in pairs, describe each other. Then, they report what they heard to a third person who will say whether their description was accurate or not. Then, they listen to the song and find mistakes in it. After that, they say whether they agree that we are more beautiful than we think. Finally, they write a piece on the topic.


Age: Adults

The song “BROTHERS IN ARMS” gives room for reflection. The goal is engage students into writing. First, they read words taken from the lyrics and guess what the song is about. Then, they guess where those words go in the lyrics and listen to the song in order to check whether they are right. After that, they reflect and discuss what they think the last line in the lyrics means. Finally, they write a letter of reply.


Age: Older Teens & Adults

The song “MAN IN THE MIRROR” is another great song which allows students to engage into a discussion on our role in the world. My suggestion is: First, students share what they know about the author and what they think about his music. Then, they listen to the song and read the lyrics in order to find out who the “man in the mirror” is. Next, they work on the vocabulary by matching the words and phrases provided with their definitions. Finally, they write a reflective paragraph about what they think the message in the song is.


Age: Older Teens & Adults

The song “DEAR MR. PRESIDENT” is a great chance for students to practice speaking and debating. It also allows us to work with Modals of Advice, Possibility and Obligation. First, students read a few words on a power point slide and guess which of them will be mentioned in the song. After that, they listen to the song and find out. Then, there is a slide with facts about the USA and Brazil. Next, they list on the board the main problems in Brazil that have to be addressed pronto (social injustice, homelessness, corruption, religious intolerance, homofobia, violence, drugs, etc…). Finally, students are arranged in small groups and each group will discuss one different problem and propose/take notes of ideas to solve it. In the end, they have to present their ideas to their peers.

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