Teaching English with songs: No Matter What – Calum Scott

This song-based activity lesson plan for English language teaching features the song 
No Matter What by Calum Scott  and the official music video. 
Students talk about parent and children relationships, review irregular verbs
 and the Simple Past tense, watch an edited video, Write a narrative based on 
the video, listen to the song and do a listening exercise with the lyrics

Language level: Pre-Intermediate (B1) and above
Learner type: All ages
Skills: speaking, writing & listening
Topic: relationships
Language: Vocabulary related to family relationships, expressions to agree,
 disagree and express opinions
Materials: A vimeo edited video, youtube link for the official video, 
song mp3 file and song activity Worksheet
Duration: 1 hour
Downloadable materials: instructions; song mp3; song worksheet 


Part 1 – warm-up / review of irregular verbs

Step1.  Students write down as many irregular verbs as they can remember in 2 min in a sheet of paper. Tell them to write the verbs in their infinitive form

Step 2. Divide the class into two. If there is an odd number, choose the most extroverted student to come to the board and be your assistant,

Step3. Group work.
In their teams, students compile a final list of verbs with all the irregular verbs they remembered.

Step 4. Tell them the team with more correct irregular verbs on the lists will be the winner. Give them an extra 30s to add more verbs to the list.

Step 5. When the time’s up. (Nobody is allowed to add any more verbs to the list at this point. Make sure students know the teams are going to be penalized and lose points for cheating!  Ask teams to count how many verbs they’ve found and tell the assistant.

Step 6. Have your assistant draw a line in the center of the board, and write A/B on each side of it, with the number of verbs each team got.

Step 7. Team A starts telling the assistant all the verbs in their lists, and he/she writes them on their correspondent side of the board. (No corrections at this time)

Step 8. Team B does the same thing, omitting the verbs already in team A’s list. (The teacher checks the lists, to avoid cheating)

Step 9. Class work. The teacher goes over each verb, and with the help of the class, checks if the verbs are really irregular and ask random students to give their correspondent simple past forms, and write them in front of the verbs. Students copy them, as they are going to use them later.
After recounting the valid verbs, the teacher awards points (for verbs in the 2 lists, the teams get 5 points, for original verbs, they get 10) the team with more points is the winner!

Part 2 

Edited video from the music video for “no matter what” – (speaking/writing)

Step 9. Students watch the modified video (obs: the music heard in this video is instrumental and it is not the original song) 

Step 10. In pairs, students talk about the following questions: .

  1. The video shows 3 important moments in the boy’s life. Talk about what happened in these 3 moments.
  2. How did he deal with those situations? Who helped him? How?
  3. Which of the following quotes best applies to the video? why?
a) "A mother is a woman who shows you the light when you just see the dark." Grimaldos Robin 

b) "A mother understands what a child does not say." unknown

c) "Simply having children does not make mothers." John A. Shedd

Step 11. The pairs share their answers and the teacher asks other pairs if they agree/disagree and why. Students express their opinions and have a mini-discussion

Step 12. Students rewatch the video. Tell them to pay attention to the details because they are going to rewrite the story.

Step 13. Give the pairs 10 min to write a paragraph with the story of the video. Tell them to include as many verbs from part 1 in the paragraph as possible.

Step 14, students share their paragraphs
Step 15. Students watch the official music video.

Step 16. In pairs. After they watch the video, the teacher asks the students why they think the boy was bullied in the second part of the video (answers as a class)

Part 3 the lyrics – listening

Step 17.Individual task.
Students receive the song worksheet, listen to the song and fill in the gaps with the verbs in the past
Step 18  play the song again and stop at each gap to check.

Answer key:

  1. Was   2. Didn’t understand  3. Took  4. Said 5. Got  6. Came  7. Ran  8. Saw  9 Had 10. looked

This song-based lesson plan is sure to spice up your classes! However, would you like to think, feel and act more creatively on your own to be able to turn ANY song you want into an engaging lesson plan?
HERE are TIME-SAVING ideas that do the heavy work so you can focus on the most important: INSPIRING and MOTIVATING YOUR STUDENTS to learn CREATIVELY!


That’s it for this week! I hope this activity is helpful and enjoyable! 


SUBSCRIBE to SAF’s FREE MUSIC CHANNEL (Copyright Free Music for Teachers!)



Happy teaching!  🙂


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