Stuart Mill English

How to Learn, How to Teach English

Timing Lesson Plan

This lesson is part of a series of one-hour lessons that will help students improve their prosody skills. Prosody, in short, is word stress, timing, and intonation. For an introduction to the series, click here.

Name: I believe in Timing

Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Prep Time: Just enough time to understand timing and print the worksheets.

Materials: This worksheet, and this worksheet too. (These are pdfs. If you want to change them, or you can’t download them for some reason, just copy and paste the text at the bottom of the post.)

Primary Objective: Improve Timing Skills

Other Benefits: Have fun singing a nice, slow song. Understand the different ways to use the word “believe”.

Plan:

5 Minutes Listen to “I Believe in You” by Don Williams.

10 Minutes Explain the concept of timing. Go here for more information on how to do this.

10 Minutes Complete this worksheet.  Students should choose which timing you’re using. You can read them out loud to the students. Or you can just play this track.

B didn’t like the movie.

It was…interesting.

Slowly, and slowly.

I waaaaant to go hoooooome.

Yes, No.

I loooove you.

I-love-you-too.

20 Minutes Pass out this worksheet. Students should read the song lyrics and answer the comprehension questions.

10 Minutes Read the song together. Students should listen and repeat each line. Note that the words are timed differently in order to create a steady rhythm. For instance, “mom and dad” and “you” should be said in the same amount of time.

20 Minutes Listen to the song four times. The first two times, just listen. The third time, students should quietly say the words while the song plays. The final time, everyone should sing along.

Extension: Have the students write an extra verse to the song.

Materials

Worksheet—Timing

Listen to these sentences. Answer the questions below.

 

–1–

A: How was the movie?

B: It was interesting.

Did B like the movie? YES NO

–2–

A: I want to go home.

Does A say “home” quickly or slowly?

Does A say “want” quickly or slowly?

–3–

A: I love you.

B: I love you too.

Does A love B?        YES     NO

Does B love A?        YES     NO

Read these sentences to your partner. Your partner should choose if you use short or long timing for the underlined words.

  1. I love football.
  2. Could you please call me on Saturday?
  3. She’s never worn those boots before.
  4. Tokyo was a…great city.
  5. Are we there yet?

Worksheet—Don Williams “I Believe”

Read the lyrics for the song “I Believe” by Don Williams

I don’t believe in superstars,
organic food and foreign cars.
I don’t believe the price of gold;
the certainty of growing old,
that right is right and left is wrong,
that north and south can’t get along,
that east is east and west is west,
and being first is always best. 

But I believe in love.
I believe in babies.
I believe in mom and dad.
And I believe in you.

Well, I don’t believe that heaven waits,
for only those who congregate.
I like to think of God as love:
He’s down below, He’s up above.
He’s watching people everywhere.
He knows who does and doesn’t care.
And I’m an ordinary man.
Sometimes I wonder who I am.

But I believe in love.
I believe in music.
I believe in magic.
And I believe in you.

Well, I know with all my certainty,
what’s going on with you and me,
is a good thing.
It’s true, I believe in you. 

I don’t believe virginity
is as common as it used to be,
in working days and sleeping nights,
that black is black and white is white,
that Superman and Robin Hood
are still alive in Hollywood,
that gasoline’s in short supply,
the rising cost of getting by.

But I believe in love.
I believe in old folks.
I believe in children.
I believe in you.

I believe in love.
I believe in babies.
I believe in mom and dad.
And I believe in you.

Answer these questions about the song

“To believe” means to think it is true. In the song, Don Williams says “I don’t believe…” about many things. For example, “I don’t believe that heaven waits for only those who congregate.” Can you find more examples of things Don Williams doesn’t think are true. 

“To believe in” is different from “to believe”. Let’s look at the difference. To believe in means to (1) trust it or (2) think it’s a good idea or (3) have hope for its future.

Find an example of (1), (2), and (3).

(1)

(2)

(3)

What is organic food?

What does “I don’t believe [in] the certainty of growing old” mean?

“Right is right and left is wrong” is about politicians. Do you know of any “right” politicians? How about a “left” politician?

What does “Heaven waits for only those who congregate mean”?

a)    Only people who believe in God go to heaven

b)   Only people that go to church go to heaven

c)    Only some people go to heaven

Does he think there are more or fewer virgins these days? a) more b) fewer

Do you know who Superman is? How about Robin Hood?

What does “folks” mean?

a)    People

b)   Dogs

c)    Cars

Answer Key

“To believe” means to think it is true. In the song, Don Williams says “I don’t believe…” about many things. For example, “I don’t believe that heaven waits for only those who congregate.” Can you find more examples of things Don Williams doesn’t think are true. 

He doesn’t believe that we will certainly get old, that right is right, that left is wrong, that east is east and west is west and being first is always best, that heaven waits for only those who congregate, that virginity is as common as it used to be, that Superman and Robin Hood are still alive in Hollywood, or that gasoline’s in short supply.

“To believe in” is different from “to believe”. Let’s look at the difference. To believe in means to (1) trust it or (2) think it’s a good idea or (3) have hope for its future.

Find an example of (1), (2), and (3). Answers may be different, but for example.

(1) Mom and Dad

(2) Love

(3) Children

What is organic food? Food without chemicals added to it.

What does “I don’t believe [in] the certainty of growing old” mean? It means that we might die before we are old. (For example, maybe a bus will hit us.)

“Right is right and left is wrong” is about politicians. Do you know of any “right” politicians? How about a “left” politician? George Bush is “right”. Barack Obama is “left”.

What does “Heaven waits for only those who congregate mean”?

a)    Only people who believe in God go to heaven

b) Only people that go to church go to heaven

c)    Only some people go to heaven

Does he think there are more or fewer virgins these days? a) more b) fewer

Do you know who Superman is? How about Robin Hood? They are imaginary heroes.

What does “folks” mean?

a) People

b)   Dogs

c)    Cars

March 30, 2011 Posted by | Lesson Plans, Word Stress, Timing, and Intonation (Prosody) Lesson Plans | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to listen to this song: Jealous Guy

How to listen to this song: Jealous Guy by John Lennon

Use this song to practice Past Continuous

You can also listen here, here, or here.

First Listen to the song

Second Answer this question: What is a “jealous guy”? What are three things a jealous guy might do?

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 past continuous verb tense. The form is was/were plus the –ing form of the verb. For example: I was watching TV. They were sitting alone.

We use the past continuous to talk about actions that happen over a period of time in the past. We can also use the past simple, but it changes the meaning a little bit. Compare:

I ate rice on Saturday.

I was eating rice on Saturday.

I ate rice makes it seem like the action happened at one time. I was eating rice makes it seem like it happened for some time. Both are true. Saturday is one time and Saturday is a period of time. “I ate rice on Saturday” makes it sound like at one point in time on Saturday (for example 2pm), you ate rice. “I was eating rice on Saturday” makes it sound like you ate rice several times on Saturday (for example 10am, 2pm, and 6pm).

We need to use the past continuous for interrupted actions. For instance, I was eating rice when you called. You stopped the action when you called, so I should use past continuous.

For more information, please click here.

Fifth Look at the lyrics in the song.

I was dreaming of the past
And my heart was beating fast
I began to lose control
I began to lose control

I didn’t mean to hurt you
I’m sorry that I made you cry (oh my)
I didn’t want to hurt you
I’m just a jealous guy

I was feeling insecure
You might not love me any more
I was shivering inside
I was shivering inside

I didn’t mean to hurt you
I’m sorry that I made you cry (oh my)
I didn’t want to hurt you
I’m just a jealous guy

I didn’t mean to hurt you
I’m sorry that I made you cry (oh my)
I didn’t want to hurt you
I’m just a jealous guy

I was trying to catch your eyes
Thought that you was trying to hide
I was swallowing my pain
I was swallowing my pain

I didn’t mean to hurt you
I’m sorry that I made you cry (oh my)
I didn’t want to hurt you
I’m just a jealous guy (watch out)

I’m just a jealous guy (look out babe)

I’m just a jealous guy

Sixth Answer these questions:

Why does he say that his heart was beating fast? When does your heart beat fast?

What reason does he give for hurting her? (Why did he hurt her?)

Why was he feeling insecure?

What does “I was swallowing my pain” mean?

Answers

What is a “jealous guy”? What are three things a jealous guy might do?

A jealous guy is a guy who is too protective of his girlfriend/wife. For example, a jealous guy feels bad when the girl he likes does something without him (especially if she is with other men).

A jealous guy might (1) tell his girlfriend not to meet other men, (2) get angry if his girlfriend doesn’t tell him where she is, (3) tell his girlfriend not to do things without him.

Why does he say that his heart was beating fast? When does your heart beat fast?

His heart was beating fast because his emotions were crazy. Our hearts beat fast when we exercise, when we are very nervous, etc.

What reason does he give for hurting her? (Why did he hurt her?)

He’s a jealous guy.

Why was he feeling insecure?

He thought that she might not love him anymore.

What does “I was swallowing my pain” mean?

It means he was trying to hide his pain. He didn’t want to show her that he was feeling bad.

February 10, 2011 Posted by | How to listen to this..., Using Songs to Teach Grammar | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

American Culture: Songs and Purposes

American Culture Songs and Purposes

Do you want to learn more about American culture? Here are five songs that can help.

Green Day “Jesus of Suburbia” This song is full of references about life in the American suburbs during the last ten years. Lyrics are here: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/greenday/jesusofsuburbia.html

Billy Joel: “We didn’t start the fire” This song references events from the 1950s into the 1980s. Go here for more information: http://www.teacheroz.com/fire.htm

Don McLean: “American Pie” This song is about America from the late 1950s and 1960s. Go here for more information: http://understandingamericanpie.com/index.htm

Woody Guthrie “This Land” A song that describes many traditional parts of America. Full lyrics here: http://www.arlo.net/resources/lyrics/this-land.shtml

Ice Cube “It was a Good Day A song that describes common activities and concerns for many black men in Los Angeles in the 1990s. Lyrics here: http://artists.letssingit.com/ice-cube-lyrics-it-was-a-good-day-fzcs8pw

February 5, 2011 Posted by | Studying Strategies | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to listen to this song: Neutron Star Explosion

Listen to the song “Neutron Star Collision” by Muse. Then read explanations below.

You can also listen here, here, or here.

I was searching, you were on a mission
Then our hearts combined like a neutron star collision
I had nothing left to lose
You took your time to choose
Then we told each other with no trace of fear that

Our love would be forever
And if we die, we die together
Well I, I said never
Cause our love would be forever

  • I was searching sounds like he was searching for meaning in life and/or love.
  • On a mission means working very hard to do something.
  • A neutron star is the heaviest kind of star.
  • A collision is when two things hit each other.
  • I had nothing left to lose means that he could take risks because everything was already gone.
  • You took your time is from the idiom “to take one’s time”. It means to go slowly.
  • A trace is a small amount.
  • No trace of something means there is none of that something. (Here, there is no fear.)

So…there are two young people—a boy and a girl. He is searching for something and she is working hard. They meet and it is very good. He wants to be with her, but she needs time. Then, without fear they decide to be together forever. They will love each other forever. They will even die at the same time.

The world is broken, and halos fail to glisten
We try to make a difference but no one wants to listen
Hail the preachers—fake and proud
Their doctrines will be cloud
Then they’ll dissipate like snowflakes in an ocean

Love is forever and we’ll die
We’ll die together
Well I, I said never
Cause our love, could be forever

  • The world is broken means that the world has big problems.
  • A halo is a ring of light. Usually a halo is above the head of an angel.
  • To glisten means to sparkle or to shine. Think about what water looks like when light hits it. A lake glistens in the morning light.
  • To make a difference means to make things better.
  • Hail means to respect something and do what it wants.
  • Preachers are religious leaders, they are like priests.
  • Fake means not real.
  • Proud means you think too nicely about yourself.
  • Doctrines are systems of belief
  • To be cloud is not a normal expression, but it probably means that it won’t be solid.
  • To dissipate is to break into many parts and go away.

So…The world has many problems, but their love is strong.

Now I’ve got nothing left to lose
You take your time to choose
I can tell you now without a trace of fear

That my love will be forever
And we’ll die, we’ll die together
And I, I will never
Cause our love will be forever

So…This last part makes it seem like he’s still waiting for her to choose or maybe she left and he wants her back. We know because instead of saying “our love” he says “my love”.

January 18, 2011 Posted by | How to listen to this... | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to listen to this song: She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5

How to listen to this song: “She Will Be Loved” by Maroon 5

You can also listen here, here, or here.

First Listening Questions

What is the song about?

Second Listening Questions

Look at the first four lines of the poem:

Beauty queen of only eighteen
She had some trouble with herself
He was always there to help her
She always belonged to someone else

Who are the two main characters (people) in the song? What is their relationship? Boyfriend and girlfriend? Just friends? Something else? (You can’t know for sure, so just try and guess.)

Now read the lyrics

“She Will Be Loved”

Beauty queen of only eighteen
She had some trouble with herself
He was always there to help her
She always belonged to someone else

I drove for miles and miles
And wound up at your door
I’ve had you so many times but somehow
I want more

I don’t mind spending everyday
Out on your corner in the pouring rain
Look for the girl with the broken smile
And ask her if she wants to stay awhile
And she will be loved
And she will be loved

Tap on my window knock on my door
I want to make you feel beautiful
I know I tend to get so insecure
It doesn’t matter anymore

It’s not always rainbows and butterflies
It’s compromise that moves us along, yeah
My heart is full and my door’s always open
You come anytime you want

I don’t mind spending everyday
Out on your corner in the pouring rain
Look for the girl with the broken smile
Ask her if she wants to stay awhile
And she will be loved
And she will be loved
And she will be loved
And she will be loved

I know where you hide
Alone in your car
Know all of the things that make you who you are
I know that goodbye means nothing at all
Comes back and begs me to catch her every time she falls, yea.

Tap on my window knock on my door
I want to make you feel beautiful

I don’t mind spending everyday
Out on your corner in the pouring rain
Oh, look for the girl with the broken smile
Ask her if she wants to stay awhile
And she will be loved
And she will be loved
And she will be loved
And she will be loved

Please don’t try so hard to say goodbye
Please don’t try so hard to say goodbye

Please don’t try so hard to say goodbye

Please don’t try so hard to say goodbye

Third Listening Questions

What is this song about?

The boy and girl in the song are boyfriend and girlfriend. How do we know?

How did their relationship start?

Is it a happy relationship?

Why does he say “I don’t mind spending every day, out on the corner in the pouring rain.”

What does “Please don’t try so hard to say goodbye” mean?

Third Listening Answers

What is this song about? This song is about a boy and a girl. At first, they’re just friends. Then, they start a relationship, but they break up (stop dating) and get back together a lot. In this song, the boy doesn’t want the relationship to end, but the girl does want it to end.

The boy and girl in the song are boyfriend and girlfriend. How do we know? All of these lines tell us that they are dating:

I’ve had you so many times but somehow I want more. (“I’ve had you” means that he has had her as a girlfriend.)

It’s compromise that moves us along. (This means that compromise improves the relationship.)

I know that goodbye means nothing at all. (If he knows that goodbye means nothing at all, then she said goodbye before and then came back. So, she left the relationship and became his girlfriend again.)

How did their relationship start? At first, they were just friends. He sings: “He was always there to help her. She always belonged to someone else.” It means that she had different boyfriends and he helped her.

Is it a happy relationship? Probably not. He really wants her to come back to him, so they probably fought in the past. He says that “I’ve had you so many times”. That means that they broke up and got back together many times. So, they probably fought a lot.

Why does he say “I don’t mind spending every day, out on the corner in the pouring rain.” It means that he will wait for her (even all day in the rain). He loves her so much, so he doesn’t care.

What does “Please don’t try so hard to say goodbye” mean? It means that he thinks it’s very hard for her to say goodbye. If it’s really hard, he thinks, she shouldn’t do it.

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

October 26, 2010 Posted by | How to listen to this... | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

How to listen to this song: “All My Loving” by The Beatles

How to listen to this song: “All My Loving” The Beatles

Use this song to practice the Future Simple verb tense.

First Listen to the song “All My Loving” by The Beatles. If the above link doesn’t work, you can listen here, here, or here.

Second Answer this question: What do you think this song is about?

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 Future Simple verb tense. Future Simple is “will + the verb” For example: “I will go tomorrow” (or “I’ll go tomorrow”). In English, we use Future Simple for predictions about the future.Click here for more information, and practice exercises.

Fifth Look at the lyrics in the song. How many times can you find uses of Future simple? What predictions are there?

Sixth Answer these questions:

Why does he sing: “Tomorrow I’ll miss you.” Why will he miss her?

“I’ll always be true” means that he will not get a different girl. Do you believe him?

He sings: “I…hope that my dreams will come true.” What are his dreams? How can they “come true”?

Lyrics

Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you.
Tomorrow I’ll miss you.
Remember I’ll always be true.
And then while I’m away,
I’ll write home every day,
and I’ll send all my loving to you.

I’ll pretend that I’m kissing,
the lips I am missing,
and hope that my dreams will come true.
And then while I’m away,
I’ll write home every day,
and I’ll send all my loving to you.

All my loving, I will send to you.
All my loving, darling I’ll be true.

Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you.
Tomorrow I’ll miss you.
Remember I’ll always be true.
And then while I’m away,
I’ll write home every day,
and I’ll send all my loving to you.

All my loving, I will send to you.
All my loving, darling I’ll be true.
All my loving, all my loving ooh,
all my loving, I will send to you.

Answers

Why does he sing: “Tomorrow I’ll miss you.” Why will he miss her?

He’ll miss her because he is leaving tomorrow.

“I’ll always be true” means that he will not get a different girl. Do you believe him?

Yes I do, because… OR No I don’t, because…

He sings: “I…hope that my dreams will come true.” What are his dreams? How can they “come true”?

He hopes to kiss her and be with her. To “come true” means to be true in the future. For example, if my dream is to live in France and I move to France, then my dream came true.

September 14, 2010 Posted by | How to listen to this..., Using Songs to Teach Grammar | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to listen to this song: Halo by Beyonce

How to listen to this song: “Halo” by Beyonce

Listen to the song three times. (You can listen here, here, or here.) After each time, there are some questions you should try to answer. Before you listen the third time, read the lyrics. Also read the lyrics while you listen for the third time. At the end, you can find the answers. Enjoy.

First Listening Questions

What is this song about?

What is a “halo”?

Second Listening Questions

What does “I can see your halo” mean?

How does Beyonce feel about the man?

Is this a new or an old relationship?

Now read the lyrics.

Remember those walls I built
Well, baby they’re tumbling down
And they didn’t even put up a fight
They didn’t even make up a sound

I found a way to let you in
But I never really had a doubt
Standing in the light of your halo
I got my angel now

It’s like I’ve been awakened
Every rule I had you breakin’
It’s the risk that I’m takin’
I ain’t never gonna shut you out

Everywhere I’m looking now
I’m surrounded by your embrace
Baby I can see your halo
You know you’re my saving grace

You’re everything I need and more
It’s written all over your face
Baby I can feel your halo
Pray it won’t fade away

I can feel your halo halo halo
I can see your halo halo halo
I can feel your halo halo halo
I can see your halo halo halo

Hit me like a ray of sun
Burning through my darkest night
You’re the only one that I want
Think I’m addicted to your light

I swore I’d never fall again
But this don’t even feel like falling
Gravity can’t forget
To pull me back to the ground again

Feels like I’ve been awakened
Every rule I had you breakin’
The risk that I’m takin’
I’m never gonna shut you out

Everywhere I’m looking now
I’m surrounded by your embrace
Baby I can feel your halo
Pray it won’t fade away

I can feel your halo halo halo
I can see your halo halo halo
I can feel your halo halo halo
I can see your halo halo halo
Halo, halo

Everywhere I’m looking now
I’m surrounded by your embrace
Baby I can see your halo
You know you’re my saving grace

You’re everything I need and more
It’s written all over your face
Baby I can feel your halo
Pray it won’t fade away

I can feel your halo halo halo
I can see your halo halo halo
I can feel your halo halo halo
I can see your halo halo halo

Third Listening Questions

“Remember those walls I built” means emotional walls. What are emotional walls? Why are they “tumbling down”?

How does Beyonce feel when she is near her man? How do you know?

She says “every rule I had I’m breaking”. What rules do you think she had in the past?

What does “think I’m addicted to your light” mean?

She says “swore I’d never fall again”. “Swore” is the past tense of swear. To swear means to promise. So, she promised to never fall again. Do you know what two words normally follow “fall”?

What does “you’re my saving grace” mean?

A Little Extra

Go ahead and check the answers below. If you’d like to work with this song a little bit more, here are three things you might do.

Can you find all the times in the song where there is no subject in the sentence?

What examples of non-standard English can you find?

First Listening Answers

What is this song about? This song is about a girl who really likes a boy.

What is a “halo”? A halo is a ring of light above someone’s head. Usually, angels have halos.

Second Listening Answers

What does “I can see your halo” mean? It means that she can see and feel how special he his. He’s like an angel. He’s a very good guy.

How does Beyonce feel about the man? She loves him.

Is this a new or an old relationship? She doesn’t say, but probably it’s a new relationship because she talks about being awakened and some other things.

Third Listening Answers

“Remember those walls I built” means emotional walls. What are emotional walls? Why are they “tumbling down”? Emotional walls stop us from becoming close to another person. Like saying “I won’t share my feelings because I don’t want to be hurt.” They’re tumbling down because she is getting close to him. Tumbling means falling.

How does Beyonce feel when she is near her man? How do you know? She feels very good. For example, she says “I got my angel now” and “You’re everything I need and more”.

She says “every rule I had I’m breaking”. What rules do you think she had in the past? We can’t know for sure, but probably her rules were about not becoming close to someone. For example, maybe she said that she would never tell some secrets. Or she would never become too close to someone.

What does “think I’m addicted to your light” mean? It means that he is so good that she can’t stop loving him.

She says “swore I’d never fall again”. “Swore” is the past tense of swear. To swear means to promise. So, she promised to never fall again. Do you know what two words normally follow “fall”. In love. The full expression is to fall in love.

What does “you’re my saving grace” mean? It means that he saved her.

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

September 7, 2010 Posted by | How to listen to this... | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Using Songs to Teach Grammar

Using Songs To Teach Grammar

UPDATE (Sep.14.2010) Click here to see all the posts about using songs to teach grammar.

Grammar is the life of a language. Grammar is what holds it all together. Grammar gives a language its personality, its beauty, its breath.

Grammar, some might argue, is boring.

But we can all agree that using songs is a great way to teach grammar. Here’s a list of eleven songs and the grammar you might teach with them*

Future Simple (Passive)—Maroon 5 “She Will Be Loved”

Passive Voice—The Beatles “All You Need Is Love”

Present/Future Continuous—Ayo “Down On My Knees”

“I’d rather”—Kings of Convenience “I’d Rather Dance”

Verb Tense Review—The Beatles “In My Life”

Using Modals to talk about the past, present and future—Muse “Resistance”

Various Past Tenses—Human League “Don’t You Want Me?”

Present Simple—Queen “Somebody to Love”

Present Unreal/2nd Conditional—Bare Naked Ladies “If I Had A Million Dollars”

Present Unreal/2nd Conditional—Wizard of Oz “If I Only Had a Brain”

Present Unreal/2nd Conditional—Beyonce—If I Were a Boy

* You can use these songs in many ways. Here’s one:

(1) Listen to the song.

(2) Explain the targeted grammar.

(3) Have the students do some simple exercises.

(4) Print off and pass out the lyrics.

(5) Have the student underline the targeted grammar while you listen.

(6) Have the students write something related to the song using the targeted grammar.

July 30, 2010 Posted by | Teaching Strategies, Using Songs to Teach Grammar | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Studying with Songs

Student Self Study: How to listen to music

Everybody knows that if you listen to a lot of music in English, then it’s easier for you to learn English. Listening to English music helps you learn faster. Just think about the people you know that speak English really well. How many of them listen to a lot of English?

Why is this true? Imagine that you learn a new English word. Let’s say the word is “poisonous”. It means that something is harmful, usually if you eat or drink it. For example: You can’t drink that. It’s poisonous. If you drink it, then you’ll die. But, now let’s say you learn the word “toxic”. It means the same thing as “poisonous”. For example: You can’t drink that. It’s toxic. If you drink it, then you’ll die.

Which word is easier to learn? Well, in 2004 the answer was “toxic” because we kept hearing “Toxic” by Britney Spears on the radio.

The same is true for everything in English. Grammar, pronunciation—listening to music reinforces them. For example, “All You Need Is Love” by the Beatles, is great reinforcement for the passive voice.

And don’t think that studying in a classroom has to come first. If you heard “Toxic” 20 times and then looked it up in a dictionary, then you’d never forget what it means. So, listening to songs can be a great way to prepare yourself to learn more in the future.

You don’t have to do anything else. Just listen a lot! But, you can do more. Here are five ways to really get the most out of songs.

Five ways to really learn a lot using songs

#1 Look up the lyrics. (The lyrics are the words in a song.) If you go to Google and search for your song’s title and the word “lyrics” you can easily find the lyrics to your song.

Try it. Go to google.com and search for “toxic lyrics”.

#2 Before you look up the lyrics, try to write them down yourself. You’ll become better at listening for details if you do.

#3 Can you sing? It doesn’t matter. Even if you sing by yourself, it’ll be good for your memory, so don’t be shy, sing along with the song.

Sometimes it’s really hard to understand English because people speak too fast. If you can sing along with a song, you’ll get used to listening to English quickly. It will also improve your pronunciation, intonation, and stressing of words.

#4 Memorize some or all of the lyrics. Then you can sing them anywhere!

#5 Share a song with a friend. If you teach a song to a friend, then you’ll really remember it well.

Tip: If you don’t know the words, this is a great online dictionary

http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/

July 24, 2010 Posted by | Studying Strategies | , , , | Leave a comment