This song-based activity lesson plan for English language teaching features “Losing My Religion” by REM, and its official music video. Students review ways of expressing opinions, agreeing and disagreeing, talk about the meaning of the song, read and discuss people’s opinions about it, watch the music video, and talk about its connection with the lyrics
Language level: intermediate (B1+) and above Learner type: All ages Skills: speaking (Cambridge English First Exam - FCE preparation), and reading. Topic: song meaning and sharing opinions in Cambridge exams Language: Vocabulary related to opinions, agreeing, disagreeing, and interaction Materials: Youtube video, worksheets, and mp3 file Duration: 1 hour - 1h 30min Downloadable materials: instructions; Lyrics worksheet+ opinions; song mp3
PART 1 – WARM-UP/REVIEW
Review ways of expressing opinions in part 4 of the speaking paper for the Cambridge English First Exam (FCE) by asking students to give you examples. Write them on the board, and also add the following:
What I think is that… In my (honest/personal) opinion… It’s clear to me that…
One thing I’m sure of is… I (strongly) believe that…
Review ways of agreeing and disagreeing. Follow the same as step 1, and also write the following on the board:
That’s right! I agree. I couldn’t agree with you more! I couldn’t have said it better myself
I partially agree with you. I’m not sure about that. That’s a good point, but…
Tell students they are going to practice these expressions in pairs. Remind them to always give reasons to support their answers.
Give them the following statement to talk about and say what they think and if they agree or disagree and why:
“The songs from the past are much better than the ones we have nowadays” and have them discuss if they agree or disagree with it in pairs. Give them about 2 min, and have the pairs share with the whole class.
PART 2 – SONG LYRICS AND OPINIONS
Tell your students they are going to work with an old song, titled “Losing My Religion” by REM, from the Grammy-awarded album OUT OF TIME, and hand out only the first part with the song lyrics (cut out the opinions, they are to be used in step 7).
Have students read the lyrics (help out with the vocabulary) and think about the message the singer is trying to convey.
Divide students into small groups, to discuss their ideas and come up with a conclusion about the meaning of the song. After some time, play the song as the students read it in their worksheets.
Have the groups share their opinions. (make sure they are using the expressions reviewed/learned in part 1)
Hand out the second part of the worksheet with the opinions about the meaning of the song. Tell your students they were taken from the Internet, and that they are real opinions.
Give students time to read the opinions in the worksheet. Help with any vocabulary doubts that come up. Then, tell students to choose their favorite and least favorite opinion, and share in pairs. Remind them to always give reasons to support their opinions.
Have the pairs share with the whole class.
PART 3 MUSIC VIDEO
Tell your students that in part 3 and 4 of the Cambridge Speaking Paper, they receive points for how well they interact with their partners and that they should make sure to react appropriately to what their partner says and also to find ways to involve their partners. A good way to do this is to ask: What do you think about…? How do you feel about…? Or give your opinion and ask if their partner agrees with what you said.
Tell students they are going to watch the official music video for “Losing My Religion” and after that, they are going to practice interaction.
After watching the video, divide students into trios (and a group of 4, if needed). One student will just pay attention and check if the other two are using varied expressions as they express their opinions about the video, and also if they are interacting well by involving their partners in the conversation and reacting to him/her.
After 2 minutes, they change, and another student will pay attention to the other two discussing the video. After 2 more minutes, the trios share their experiences and opinions with the whole class.
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