Mother’s Day Flashback: Losing My Religion


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


Step 1.

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…

Step 2.

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…

Step 3.

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.


Step 4.

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).

Step 5.

Have students read the lyrics (help out with the vocabulary) and think about the message the singer is trying to convey.

Step 6.

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)

Step 7.

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.

Step 8.

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.


Step 9.

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.

Step 10.

Tell students they are going to watch the official music video for “Losing My Religion” and after that, they are going to practice interaction.

Step 11.

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.

Step 12.

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.

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

Share this to help other teachers, and also check out these great ways to add novelty and fun to your English classes: Song Lottery,  Song Pieces and Watch & Catch!

Happy teaching!  🙂

Song Lottery & Writing Emails



This ELT song activity is based on the song “Older” by Sasha Sloan and its official music video. Students talk about family, play a song lottery game, watch a video and write an email.

Language level: B1 and above
Learner type: All ages
Skills: speaking, reading, listening and writing
Topic: family
Language: Vocabulary related to family, expressing opinions and writing e-mails
Materials: Youtube video, worksheet pdf, and mp3 file
Duration: 1 hour - 1h 30 min

Downloadable materials:  instructions; song lottery worksheet; song mp3

PART 1 – A PERFECT FAMILY? (Pairwork discussion)

Step 1. Start by asking the whole class:

Is there such a thing as a ‘perfect” family? Does this exist? What would a perfect family be for you?

Have students discuss their ideas in pairs (about 2 min) and then share the answers with the whole class, have everybody participate by asking other students if they agree/disagree and why.

PART 2 – SONG LOTTERY (reading)

Step 2. Tell your students they are going to work with a song in which the singer sings about her family problems, and that in the first part of this activity they are going to play a “song lottery”! In this lottery, instead of choosing numbers, they are going to choose the words they think the singer will sing.

Step 3. Hand out the song lottery worksheet and give the students some time to choose their ‘winning words”. They should fill out their lottery tickets and cut them out to give you before you play the song to check the winner (s) of the lottery.

Step 4. After everybody has handed you their tickets, play the song and students check if their choices were the right one. The winner of the lottery is the one who guessed all the words right! (you can stipulate a prize for the winner eg. a chocolate candy bar, candy, etc. If nobody wins, you can tell them the prize will be accumulated for the next song lottery in one future class!

ANSWER KEY (winning words)

01. screamed 02. right 03. swore 04. a kid 05. the more 06. heroes 07. loving 08. mad 09. better 10 wonder


Step 5. (whole class) Ask students to tell you what they think the music video for the song is going to be like. Get some answers, then show them the music video for “older” by Sasha Sloan

Step 6. Ask the students if the video was the way they imagined and tell you what they thought about it.

Step 7. (writing an email) Tell your students to imagine they are the singer and write an email to her parents translating the feelings in the song into written words.

Variation: Students imagine they are the singer’s parents and write an email to her in reaction to the song
That’s it for this week! I hope you all have a fun time using this activity with your students!

Happy teaching! 🙂