Image featuring the text "Critical Thinking" and Radiohead's vocalist Thom Yorke.

Ignite Your ESL Classroom: Fostering Critical Thinking with “Fake Plastic Trees”

Breaking Free from Boring ESL Song Activities

Hello, fellow teachers and music enthusiasts! Do you feel trapped in a loop of traditional fill-in-the-blank song lyrics worksheets or repetitive song gap fill activities? Fear not, because today, I’m excited to share an innovative and engaging way to incorporate songs into your ESL classes that will not only foster critical thinking skills but also bring life and creativity to your lessons.

Welcome to the Song Activity Factory! Here, we follow the rules of The Creative Jedi Code:

Photo of Márcia Bonfim as a Jedi with the Creative Jedi Code text
Unveiling the Creative Jedi Code: The Path to a More Engaging and Imaginative Classroom

A New Approach to Teaching ESL through Songs

It’s time to shake things up in the ESL classroom and unleash the power of music for learning. There is a universe of possibilities when it comes to using songs in ESL, EFL, and ELT classes, and the Song Activity Factory is committed to exploring those new horizons. We believe in leaving behind the “gap-filling death of creativity” and embracing a teaching approach that motivates, engages, and challenges students to think critically.

Unleashing the Power of Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees” in Your ESL Classroom

In this blog post, I’ll walk you through the process of incorporating Radiohead’s iconic song “Fake Plastic Trees” into a dynamic lesson plan that will spark thought-provoking discussions and challenges among your students. By using this song as a starting point, you’ll create an interactive learning environment that promotes problem-solving, collaboration, and language fluency.

Step-by-Step Guide: Turning “Fake Plastic Trees” into a Creative ESL Lesson

Ready to embark on this creative journey? Check out my brand-new video tutorial on the Song Activity Factory YouTube channel, where I guide you through the entire process of selecting a song, analyzing its lyrics, and designing a practical challenge for your students. You’ll also find helpful tips for making the most out of this exciting teaching method.

Continuously Evolving Your ESL Lesson Plans with More Song-Based Activities

I hope you feel inspired to break free from the conventional ESL song activities and explore more creative ways to teach your students using songs. Let’s harness the power of music and watch our students flourish in their critical thinking abilities!

Join the Conversation and Share Your Ideas with Fellow ESL Teachers

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this teaching approach and how it works for you in your ESL classes. Please leave a comment below to share your experiences, suggestions, or any other ideas you’d like me to develop. Let’s grow together and continue to inspire and engage our students through the power of music!

Happy teaching!


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! 


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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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