Practicing The Simple Future With Songs: OneRepublic – Better Days


This song-based activity STEP-BY-STEP LESSON PLAN  for ENGLISH language TEACHING features the lyrics and audio video for “Better Days” by OneRepublic. Students PLAY a hangman game with the title of the song, READ The lyrics word cloud, WRITE sentences with WILL, CORRECT each other’s sentences, TALK about the song, LISTEN to it and DO a verb exercise with the lyrics.

OBS: This lesson plan was made for ONLINE TEACHING WITH ZOOM features like ZOOM WHITEBOARD, ZOOM SCREEN SHARE and ZOOM CHAT, but it can be modified for face-to-face instruction, as well.

Language level: (B1) 
Learner type: All ages
Skills: speaking, reading, listening and writing
Topic: a better Future
Grammar: WILL future
Materials: Youtube videos, google doc  and google slide
Duration: 1 hour - 1h 30 min
Downloadable materialsinstructions; Google Doc - Word Cloud 
(to make a copy you can edit); Google slide Lyrics

About this song (from

“Better Days” is a song by OneRepublic that Ryan Tedder wrote while in
 quarantine amid the coronavirus pandemic. Tedder says that things will
 inevitably get better and that once this is all done and over, everyone
 will rejoice together and have better days than before.

Ryan Tedder, Brent Kutzle, and Tyler Spry were exposed to two people with
 coronavirus when they were in London. When they came back, they had to be in
 quarantine for two weeks. Tedder didn’t know how serious the pandemic was 
until more bits of information and actions, such as the LA lockdown, 
came to him. Nine months prior to his quarantine, he had written the 
chorus for “Better Days” but didn’t know what the verses were to be about. 
Then the opportunity presented itself and Tedder was inspired to write 
this song as fast as he could so he could drop it as soon as possible. “

At this time, while OneRepublic is still continuing to promote their 
latest major single “Didn’t I”, Tedder thought it was extremely 
appropriate to finish and release this song to the public 
during this pandemic.

Through September 2020, a portion of the streams of “Better Days”
 will be donated to MusiCares’ COVID-19 Relief Fund to help fellow 
artists whose livelihoods have been affected by the pandemic.

Check out the video version of this post!


Step 1. (5 min)

Play a hangman with the title of the song – use the Zoom WHITEBOARD. Do not say the band’s name! Save it for step 7

Step 2. (5 min)

Share the link to the google doc Word cloud activity.

Explain that it is a representation of the words that appear in the song. The bigger words appear more frequently in the lyrics. Help them with vocabulary if necessary. 

Explain that “shed” is used as a verb in the lyrics with the word “tear”. SHED A TEAR means CRY.

Step 3 (5 min)

Tell students that you are going to divide them into groups (3 -4 students, depending on the size of your class) and they are going to work with the word cloud doc in their breakout rooms.

Assign group numbers. Eg. group 1, group 2, etc.  Send the link to the word cloud doc to the students and  explain the task:


In the space designated for your group in the word cloud doc:
WRITE 3 sentences with WILL/ WON’T and THERE’LL BE using the words
 from the word cloud

Step 4 (10 min)

Zoom BREAKOUT ROOMS – (see HERE how to use breakout rooms)

Tell students the groups will have 10 min to write the sentences. Open the breakout rooms. The groups do the task

Step 5 (10 min)

When the time’s up close the breakout rooms and students come back to the main room.Tell your students they are going to underline the mistakes in the sentences from the other groups.  However, there’s an order:

Group 1 reads and underlines  the mistakes from group 2. 
Group 2 reads and underlines the mistakes from group 3, and so on.
 The last group reads and underlines the sentences from the first group.

Example with 4 groups:

Group 1 reads group 2’s sentences
Group 2 reads group 3’s
Group 3 reads group 4’s
Group 4 reads group 1’s

Step 6 (10 min)

Check if the sentences are really wrong and ask random students to say the corrections. Edit all the sentences yourself or have a student do it.

Step 7 (7 – 10 min)

Ask students if they think the song is sad, happy, fast slow, etc and why.

Play the song once and have students check if they guessed right or wrong. Ask them if they know the band. (One republic) ask if they like the band etc

Play the song again, but this time students see if there was any sentence in the lyrics that was similar to the ones they wrote in step 4.

Step 8 + 9 (10 – 20 min)

Share your screen with the lyrics exercise in the google slideStudents have to fill the gaps with the verbs in parentheses using will or won’t.

Go slide by slide and give time for students to write down their answers in the chat. Do not correct them now. They are going to do this by watching the lyrics video later.

Step 9 

Play the lyrics video and students check their answers

Answer key: 1- there’ll be 2- there’ll be 3- won’t go  4- ‘ll wash 5- will tell

Step 10 (10 min)

Ask students what they thought of the song and why. Have a discussion about the positive message of the song.

For homework, ask them to express how they think the BETTER DAYS will be (after COVID-19) through art, for example: a drawing, a poem, a song, a story, a video, etc. FREE EXPRESSION!

In your next class, students share their work in a “Class Exhibit”!

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!  🙂

PS. Elevate Your ELT with this Free Course!

From Dull to Dynamic: Song Facts For ELT Success” teaches you to turn ‘bad’ songs into engaging lessons. Click this LINK and start the course now! (blog post format)

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