Stuart Mill English

How to Learn, How to Teach English

How to listen to this song: “We are the Champions” by Queen

How to listen to this song: “We are the Champions” by Queen

Use this song to practice the Present Perfect verb tense.

First Listen to the song “We are the Champions” by Queen

(If the above link doesn’t work, you can listen here, here, or here.)

Second Answer these questions: What is a champion? What kinds of champions are there?

Third Listen to the song again. This time, read the lyrics to the song too. (The lyrics are below. Scroll down to see them.)

Fourth Think about the Present Perfect verb tense. We use the present perfect to talk about past actions when we don’t know, or don’t care, when they happened. The form is have/has+third form of the verb—usually, it’s verb+ed, but not always (e.g. eaten, read, sat, etc.).

Note: You can also use the Present Perfect with “for” and “since”, but that’s not the emphasis for this song.

Fifth Answer these questions:

How many times can you find the Present Perfect in this song?

What does “I’ve paid my dues” mean?

What does “my share of” mean?

What does “I’ve taken my bows” mean?

This is a very popular song. Why do you think it is so popular?

Lyrics

I’ve paid my dues
Time after time
I’ve done my sentence
But committed no crime
And bad mistakes
I’ve made a few
I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face
But I’ve come through

We are the champions, my friends
And we’ll keep on fighting till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions, of the world

I’ve taken my bows
And my curtain calls
You brought me fame and fortune and everything that goes with it
I thank you all

But it’s been no bed of roses
No pleasure cruise
I consider it a challenge before the whole human race
And I ain’t gonna lose (ain’t gonna = am not going to)

We are the champions, my friends
And we’ll keep on fighting till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions, of the world

We are the champions, my friends
And we’ll keep on fighting till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions, of the world

Answers

What is a champion? A champion is a winner. Usually, a champion wins many games or matches, so we know they’re the best of everyone.

What kinds of champions are there? There are lots of champions. You can be a champion sports player, a champion speller, or a champion in any competition.

How many times can you find the Present Perfect in this song? There are eight (8): I’ve paid my dues, I’ve done my sentence, I’ve…committed no crime, bad mistakes I’ve made a few, I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face, I’ve come through, I’ve taken my bows and my curtain calls, it’s been no bed of roses

What does “I’ve paid my dues” mean? It means he has done things in the past so that he can be successful now.

What does “my share of” mean? It means a fair amount. Usually, we use this expression before bad things to say that we’ve had similar problems to everyone else. For example, I’ve had my share of fights, or I’ve made my share of mistakes.

What does “I’ve taken my bows” mean? At the end of a popular show or concert, a performer will bow. He means that he’s had good, popular shows.

This is a very popular song. Why do you think it is so popular? This is an opinion question. What do you think?

Do you have more questions about this song? Ask in the comments.

October 19, 2010 Posted by | How to listen to this..., Using Songs to Teach Grammar | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Present Perfect

This is a series of grammar lesson plans. For an introduction to the series, please click here.

Name: Present Perfect

Time: 1 hour

Prep Time: Time to gather the materials

Materials: You and the students should bring some pictures of places you’ve been. Come prepared with some copies of a map of the city you teach in. The students that don’t bring any pictures can use the maps.

Primary Objective: Teach the use of present perfect for events that started and ended in the past (this lesson is not about for and since).

Other Benefits: Discuss past travel

Plan:

First Exposure (15 minutes) Show the students several pictures from your past. Describe them with present perfect. (e.g. I’ve been to… I’ve eaten… I’ve danced at… I’ve visited…)

After you’ve said five facts, ask various students questions to prompt them to use the present perfect. (e.g. Where have I been? What have I eaten? Where have I danced? What have I visited?)

Now, say another five facts and ask another five questions. In total, try to use 30+ examples. At the end, ask random questions from everything you said.

Identify the Grammar (5 minutes) Ask the students these questions. Ask follow-up questions as needed to solicit the correct answers.

Which verb tense am I using? Present Perfect

When did these events happen? Sometime in the past, but we don’t know when exactly.

Does it matter when these events happened? No, it doesn’t matter. We’re just interested in the event, not when.

Controlled Use (15 minutes) Have the students complete this worksheet. Then review it.

Explanation (5 minutes) Now, explain to the students that present perfect is have/has + the third form of the verb (usually –ed, but sometimes different like eaten of eat-ate-eaten). We use it for situations that happened in the past, but we don’t know, or we don’t care when.

For example:

A: I’ve baked a cake!

B: When?

A: Who cares!? Let’s eat.

OR

A: Do you want to see The Matrix?

B: No, I have already watched it.

A: When?

B: Hmm, I don’t remember when I watched it.

If we say “when” then we can’t use present perfect to talk about past events.

For example: “I have eaten dinner at 7p.m.” is wrong because we know when.

Free Use (20 minutes)

Finally, with the students’ help, write 5-10 present perfect questions on the board. They should discuss them in pairs, but give more than one-sentence answers. Tell them to just discuss the questions normally and see if they have a chance to use the present perfect. Switch partners for time. Here are some questions you might use.

Where have you traveled?

What have you done that you are really happy about?

Have you ever told a lie?

How have you changed as a person?

What are some good movies you have watched?

Extension: Students should look at each other’s pictures and ask questions in the present perfect. “Have you eaten at this restaurant?” “Have you swum in this lake?” etc.

Homework: Ask the students to write a short essay about their favorite place. They should use present perfect five times in their essay.

October 13, 2010 Posted by | Grammar Lesson Plans, Lesson Plans | , , , , | Leave a comment

How to listen to this song: “Rainbow Connection” by Kermit the Frog

Rainbow Connection

Use this song to practice asking questions in Present Simple, Past Simple, and Present Perfect.

First Listen to the song “Rainbow Connection” by Kermit the Frog. If the above link doesn’t work, you can listen here, or here.

(Also, the lyrics are a little different, but you can also hear Jason Mraz’s version here and The Carpenters’ version here.)

Second Answer these questions: What is a rainbow? What is a connection? What do you think a “rainbow connection” is? (Hint: There isn’t just one answer. It’s an opinion.)

Third Listen to the song again. This time, read the lyrics to the song too. (The lyrics are below. Scroll down to see them.)

Fourth There are three main questions in the song. They are:

Why are there so many songs about rainbows and what’s on the other side?

Who said that every wish would be heard and answered, when wished on the morning star?

Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices?

The first question uses present simple. That’s a question about things that are always true.

The second question uses past simple. That’s a question about something that happened one time in the past. When it happened in the past is important.

The third question uses present perfect. That’s a question about something that started in the past, but is important for now.

Go to this site to learn more about asking questions in different verb tenses.

Fifth Answer these questions:

What does the singer think about rainbows?

He says that the rainbow connection is “the lovers, the dreamers, and me”. What do you think? What is the connection between lovers, dreams, and him? How are they the same?

He asks “what’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing?” It means, why do people keep looking at the stars. Why do you think people enjoy looking at the stars?

What is “the sweet sound that called the young sailors”?

Lyrics

Why are there so many songs about rainbows
and what’s on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions,
and rainbows have nothing to hide.
So we’ve been told and some choose to believe it.
I know they’re wrong, wait and see.
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

Who said that every wish would be heard
and answered, when wished on the morning star?
Somebody thought of that and someone believed it.
Look what it’s done so far.
What’s so amazing that keeps us star gazing,
and what do we think we might see?
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

All of us under its spell, we know that it’s probably magic.

Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices?
I’ve heard them calling my name.
Is this the sweet sound that called the young sailors?
The voice might be one and the same.
I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it.
It’s something that I’m supposed to be.
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

La da da di da da do. La da da da da di da do.

Answers

There aren’t exact answers to these questions. These answers are just opinions.

What does the singer think about rainbows?

He thinks they are amazing. They make him dream and wonder about how everyone is the same. He thinks everyone is connected.

He says that the rainbow connection is “the lovers, the dreamers, and me”. What do you think? What is the connection between lovers, dreamers, and him? How are they the same?

Maybe he thinks lovers, dreamers, and he are the same. They all think softly about life. They are connected because everyone is connected. They all look at rainbows and dream.

He asks “what’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing?” It means, why do people keep looking at the stars. Why do you think people enjoy looking at the stars?

Maybe everyone feels the same when they look at the stars. They dream about their future and their place in the world. Stars make us feel peaceful.

What is “the sweet sound that called the young sailors”?

It something that’s in a young sailor’s heart. Sometimes young people just want to get away and travel.

Do you have questions about this song? Do you have different opinions? Post in the comments:)

September 21, 2010 Posted by | How to listen to this..., Using Songs to Teach Grammar | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment