Sunday, 16 December 2012

The Script- "Six Degrees of Separation"

As many psychological studies report, everyone of us is connected to anyone else by six degrees of separation. Incidentally, I came to know it by listening to The Scripts' "Six Degrees of Separation", where after the end of a relationship, it is said that one goes through six degrees of separation from his/ her former partner. I hope you will love this song, like I do, because it explores the theme of separation with a great variety of expressions, tones and feelings that are those normally involved in such difficult situations by common people!

Level:  pre-intermediate

Grammar focus on: vocabulary


Activity: scrambled syllables to put in order

Six Degrees of Separation

Lyrics taken from: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/t/the_script/six_degrees_of_separation.html

Video:



Linguistic aspects: when do you take a toke?You take a toke or you toke on, when you pull on a cigarette, made of cannabis or tobacco. 

You can heal your soul, if you try to make your sorrow less painful.When a relationship is over, you feel that it goes up in smoke. Literally, it means that a place or an object is destroyed by fire, but if related to a plan, it comes to nothing. Ex. I wanted to leave early for Rome, but getting up at 10 a.m. it went up in smoke.
When you break up with someone, you can feel the world splits down the middle or collapse/ break down.
Additionally you find/achieve/bring closure, i.e. you understand that something unpleasant has come to an end. 
How can you react to it?You can fake a smileor smile in a false way, but in the end you have to fix yourself, that is to say that you need to make arrangements and organize your life back again.
Who can help you in this process? The Script mention tarot cards, gems and stones because they can predict your future, but only, I would add, if you really believe in magic powers... 



Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Handsome Poets- "Sky on Fire"

Today I am working on "Sky on Fire" a fresh song sung by a Dutch Indie pop band, The Handsome Poets. Their video is rather captivating and I guess that if you are going to use it in your class, your students will appreciate it. You can easily introduce it to your students, for instance, by simply asking them if they have ever played truant in their life and if so, how they have spent the day out and eventually whether their parents found out their bravado...

Level: pre-intermediate

Grammar focus on: vocabulary about travelling

Activity: fill in the gaps exercise

Sky on Fire

Lyrics taken from: http://www.metrolyrics.com/sky-on-fire-lyrics-handsome-poets.html

Video: 



Linguistic aspects: let's start from the double meaning of the world siren. a) You can hear the loud sound of a siren coming from a police car, i.e. the piece of equipment generally used to warn people, or b) A siren is a beautiful woman who enchants men (a creature of Greek mythology).


An interesting expression is to lose track: You can say that you lost your track while you were reading a catchy book on the Tube if you really did not pay attention to where you were going to or what the others were doing around you.

Kids is an informal word for plain English children.

Besides, when you are going to do something that someone else is doing, you take over with it; e.g. He left for New York and we took over with him.


Last of all, you can say that stakes were high if you were going to do something extremely risky where a lot could be won or lost. In fact, the word stakes (the plural of stake) is a financial term used to indicate the amount of money risked on the result of a game, investment or competition.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Bruno Mars- "Locked out of Heaven"

As you will already probably know, Bruno Mars' music displays a wide range of styles and influences from different cultures and what's more his lyrics are quite simple to understand and teenagers learn them at once! His latest "Locked out of Heaven" surprises me, because according to rapgenius it has a two-way interpretation: one religious and the other rather sexual. In this case I am focusing only on the figurative expressions that every ESL learner should get familiar with!
Incidentally I found out a very innovative and capturing site, http://rapgenius.com/, a sort of hip-hop wikipedia, where community members try their hand at interpreting mainly hip-hop songs. If you wish to get the sense of hits playing in your MP3 favourite list,  you can't miss it!

Level: pre-intermediate

Grammar focus onmake + someone+ infinitive


Activity:  gap fill activity (no prompts provided)


Locked out of Heaven

Lyrics taken from:  http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/brunomars/lockedoutofheaven.html

Video: 



Linguistic aspects: there is a lot to say about the expressions and the phrasal verbs used in this song. Let's start from the expression I put my heart on the line, where  on the line means at risk
Let's continue with the refrain I've been locked out of heaven, that is to say that I have been excluded from heaven.
In addition, when someone brings you to his/her knee, he/she has reduced you in a deep state of submission. Ex.  I loved Tom, but he brought me to his knee and I completely lost my independence.
Let's  end up with the expression I see the light, i.e. a metaphor used to express that finally I realize/understand something that will change my life for goodEx. When I broke up with Tom, I saw the light and I revolutionized my life.