Halloween Flashback – What’s Going On In This Picture? A song-based lesson Plan for Zombie -The Cranberries

It’s Halloween time and we are getting close to the end of 2020… How have you reacted to this insane year? Have you somehow woken up and changed your perspectives? Have you taken this time to thrive or are you still in survival mode? Are you a real living being or just a walking dead?

Have you become directly involved with life or just drifted with the herd going nowhere?

What’s in your head, in your head

Zombie, zombie, zombie-ie-ie ?


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If you’re a BELIEVER, here you’ll find Creativity, Inspiration, Ideas and Resources to bring Musical innovation to your English Language Teaching Practice!

This week SAF features a flashback requested by Elif Nakar

The Cranberries’ hit ZOMBIE! I hope YOU and your students have a great time with it!


This song-based activity STEP-BY-STEP LESSON PLAN  for ENGLISH language TEACHING features the lyrics and music video for “Zombie” by The Cranberries. Students TALK about a picture, WRITE a paragraph about the picture using the lyrics word cloud in pairs, READ other pairs’ paragraphs in a collaborative google doc, COMPARE their paragraphs with the real situation, SPECULATE about the song, WATCH the music video, and WRITE a story for homework.

OBS: This lesson plan was made for ONLINE TEACHING, but it can be modified for face-to-face instruction, as well.

Language level: B1+/B2
Learner type: All ages
Skills: speaking, reading, listening and writing
Topic: picture description and speculation
Language/grammar: descriptive language, modal verbs for speculation
Materials: YouTube video, google slides and collaborative google doc
Duration: 1 hour
Downloadable materialsinstructions; google slides; collaborative google doc 
(for you to make a copy you can edit)



Step 1 (10 min)

Picture (slide 1). Screen-share the picture and the question (What’s going on in this picture?) before your students enter the room, so that they see it as they enter. Greet your students normally, and after about 5 min, have some students describe the picture and answer the question. Invite students to also write their ideas in the chat box.

Photo by Antonio Bronic/Reuters

Step 2 (10 – 15 min)

Word Cloud + Pairwork (slide 2). Show the word cloud for the song lyrics. Help them with the vocabulary. 

Tell them to use those words to write a paragraph ( in pairs – breakout rooms) explaining what’s going on in the picture.

Step 3 (10 min)

Collaborative google doc. Share the link to the collaborative Google doc with designated spaces for the pairs. Students paste their paragraphs to the doc. Highlight the mistakes. Have some students correct them.

Step 4 (5 min)

Screen-share the real caption of the photo and a little background (slide 3).

Student read the real situation and compare their ideas with it

Step 5 (5 min)

Show the Word Cloud again.

Ask students what they think the song is like, eg. fast, slow, sad, happy, the music genre, etc. based on the words.

Step 6 (10 min)

Play the music video for students to check their ideas and comment on it. 

At this point, you can give some extra information about the band The Cranberries: the real life events that inspired the lead singer Dolores O’Riordan to write the song and her death in 2018. Additionally, you may want to mention that the Music Video for Zombie hit 1 billion views in April, 2020!

Step 7 homework

Students write a story based on one of the paragraphs from the collaborative google doc from step 3.

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



Happy teaching!  🙂

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