Archive for lyrics

Summer Holidays & Vampire Weekends

Posted in ESL, Music, you tube with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2010 by EslImaginarium

Summer is here and it’s not just the weather that changes.

Ask the students the following question:

How do we know it’s summer?

Where do people go during the summer holidays and what activities do they do?

Elicit summer words from the students and ask them to write the words on a piece of paper.

ex. ice cream, sunglasses, clothes, BBQ, music, movies blockbusters, festivals etc.

The Special guests in today’s class are Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend- Holiday

Students watch the following music video and check if the video contains any of their words.

Song lyrics:

Students watch the video several times and listen to the lyrics.  Give the students the worksheet below and ask them to fill in the gaps.

Vampire Weekend lyrics gap fill

Students check if they were correct by watching the following video with the song lyrics

Karaoke version:

Song meanings:

Ask the students what they think the song is about.

Show students what the band said about the song:

“The lyrics refer to a member of my family who gave up eating meat when we invaded Iraq. They were horrified by what was happening internationally and they lost their taste for meat. It wasn’t even necessarily an overt protest, it was a physical reaction.”

Ask the following questions:

What do you think about this reaction to war?

How did you react to the invasion of Iraq?

Have you ever done anything so drastic in reaction to something? (ex. death in family, failing exams etc.)

Summer party game:

I got the following activity from my great friend and fellow esl teacher, Jeremy.  It never fails to work and the students have lots of fun trying to figure out the secret rule.

Tell the students that you’re having a summer BBQ party and you are making a guest list.

Say that  you are bringing apples to the party.  Ask students what they will bring?

Students have to answer by saying ‘I will bring a _______’

The secret rule is that the next item must start with the next letter in the alphabet.

If they say, ‘I will bring a bottle of wine’ then the teacher will say ‘okay you can come to my party’ but if they say something that does not begin with b then say, ‘I’m sorry you can’t come’.  Write the list of the people who can come to your party.  Keep playing until all the students discover the rule and everyone joins the party.

You can make up other rules for this game.  The next item could start with the last letter of the previous item.  ex. I will bring chocolate, I will bring eggs.

Getting to know the band – Vampire Weekend Interview:

Ask students if this is the first time they have seen Vampire weekend.

Ask them what they thought about the song we played previously and the interview.

Video listening comprehension:

 Students listen to the interview and answer the questions on the worksheet below.

Vampire Weekend interview questions

Vampire Weekend – Giving up the gun

Tennis is officially cool with this video, featuring RZA and Jake Gyllenhaal.  If only ‘Wimbledon’ was this exciting

Students questions:

1.How many times do you see the girl in red hitting the tennis ball?

I counted 22.

Read the following passage:

The heroine of the video isn’t an amazing tennis player, but she has heart. She stays calm despite the unfairness of it all.  Giving Up the Gun centers around Jenny (a friend of Vampire Weekend) and a number of opponents whom she goes up against in several matches; there’s a samurai, a gigantic woman, Joe, and Jake (to name a few) and she beats all of them.

2.Do you remember a time when you didn’t give up, even when things were unfair?(write an anecdote)

Song meanings:

Ask the students what they think the song is about.

Show students what the band said about the song:

I got the idea for the song from a book my Dad gave me called Giving Up The Gun. It’s a history book about the time when Japan expelled all the foreigners from the country, closed off all trade, and stopped using guns and reverted back to the sword. It seems unimaginable now that humanity could willingly go back to an older technology. It got me thinking about whether you could give up the things that you have and go back to a simpler way of life.

If you were to give up something, what would it me?

How could you make your life more simple?

I hope you all have a wonderful summer.  Please let me know if you have any extra suggestions for this lesson.

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Working this F*$#!ing job

Posted in ESL, Music, Uncategorized, you tube with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2010 by EslImaginarium

*Warning NSFC-Controversy in the classroom*


Show this clip at the students discretion only.  Advise the students that the following clip is a little controversial and that if they are of a sensitive disposition then maybe it’s best that they do not watch the clip. This clip contains risky language and some scenes of violence.  You could easily edit it so that the words are deleted from the video.

Watch the music video:

Drive by truckers – Working this job

Controversy issues:


Start a discussion about censorship in videos.  Ask the following questions.

1. Why do you think they use the “f-Word” ?

2. What do you think about the use of violence in this clip?

3. What impact did the violence and language have on you?

4. Is it really necessary to include the violence and f-word?

5.  Does it relate to the song and video?   Why?

6.  Is this clip being controversial just to provoke people, which will in turn generate more sales through the media exposure?

Lights, Camera, Action

Students choose from 3 scenes in the clip.  They write a dialogue for the scene and then act it out.

(0.43) Scene outside ‘burger world’.  Dialogue between the  boss of ‘burger world’ and the protagonist.

(2.05) Scene with the man robbing the store. Dialogue between the store clerk and the protagonist.

(3.25) Scene with the police confrontation.  Dialogue between the policeman and the protagonist.

Lyrics – What lyrics do you hear?

Students listen to the clip a few times and write down as many lyrics as they can.

The students compare the lyrics they have written with the other students.

Story time


The students use the lyrics to help them write a story about the clip.

Ask some questions for them to think about.

Why did the man do this?

What were his responsibilities?

“What makes it all worthwhile?”

“Can a family live on fast food wages?”

Game–  In groups students try to write down as many jobs as they can in a set time limit (5mins).

Each group reads out the jobs they have written and if the other groups have the same word then they score it out.  The groups only get points if they have a different word from the other groups.  Subtract points for wrong spelling.

Word magnet-(My first attempt)

Please click here to watch Russell Stannard’s training video about word magnets.

If students have computers in your class room then this application is really good.  If they don’t then use sheets of paper.

Students have to write down as many job words as they can and then separate them into what they consider to be worthwhile jobs and  not worthwhile.

Let’s debate about jobs


When they have divided the jobs into categories the students have a debate about their opinions and why they consider some jobs more worthwhile than others.

Call out a job and have the students who think it is worthwhile go to one side of the classroom and the other students go to the other side.  Both sides think about what they can say to support their arguments in a debate.  Each side is given a time limit to present their ideas.

Some final words

Students have to think about and then discuss what they think is important in life and what responsibilities they have.