Monday, 30 September 2013

John Newman- "Love Me Again"

Last week, Ele kindly asked me to give some suggestions about one hit loved by her students,i.e. "Love Me Again" by John Newman. I immediately got to work and thought about a series of activities that could be proposed to her junior high school pupils and I hope to get her feedback soon. As you know, my worksheets are usually quite generic so as to be suitable for a wide range of linguistic levels and I appreciate the fact the teachers, like Ele, diligently adapt them to meet their students' need. Therefore do not hesitate to write me and ask for other hits to be used in class, I am really happy to work with you!

Level: pre-intermediate

Grammar focus on: adverbs to show time and clarify, vocabulary, phonetics;

Activity: 4 different exercises are proposed. 

In the first one students are invited individually to tick out extra words and then they work in two, comparing their version (different extra words are added in the two versions a) and b).

Later they have to reflect on adverbs and find similar ones in their own native language.

Considering the young age of junior school students, I though that it could be a good idea to reinforce their vocabulary through the use of cliparts. In this case I am referring to OpenClipart ( and iCLIPART FOR SCHOOLS (the latter being specifically addressed to school professionals with licensing restrictions for web bloggers) that are absolutely free.

The last exercise- and this is new for this blog!- is about phonetics, since I thought that this aspect of ESL or EFL teaching, though fundamental, is not particularly cherished by learners. In this case I would get students crosscheck their results with the help of Macmillan Dictionary Pronunciation and Transcription.


Tips: if you're interested in knowing more about the making of the video, go to "Love Me Again"- Behind the Scenes., in which John Newman explains the origin of the song, his video style, etc.: 

Monday, 23 September 2013

Katy Perry- "Roar"

A few days ago I was reading Laine Redpath Cole's article about slang and txt speak on, when I suddenly thought of Katy Perry' s unofficial video of her latest hit, "Roar". As you will see, in this video a girl is chatting with her friends in a language full of emoticons, rather than plain words and everyone's attention is directed to the bright pictures on her phone screen. Considering that these days many teachers are coming back school and they are often looking for enjoyable activities, why don't use this video to stimulate your students' natural talent in associating new visual material to their familiar vocabulary?

Level: intermediate

Focus on: simple past, vocabulary

Activity: after watching the video, students are invited (relying on their good memory) to fill in the song with the missing words. Compare their results, listen to the song once again and finally show them the complete lyrics.

Video used for this activity:

Katy Perry's official video:

Tips for teachers:as a follow-up activity, read together the above mentioned article on Macmillan Dictionary Blog and ask them to write down a list of five other English colloquial words, used everyday in social media. 

From personal experience I know that students love this topic and often ask you to explain the meaning of other text words and slang they have read but cannot understand, so be prepared for any type of question!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

"La La La"- Naughty Boy ft. Sam Smith

Hints at: "The Wizard of Oz"

Inspired by: an oral Bolivian legend

Keywordsdiversity, talent, legend, supernatural creatures, special powers

Activity: fill in the gaps with the missing lines provided in the pool

La La La

Lyrics taken from:


Tips for teachers: before working on the lyrics, present the video to your class. Give them the following four words: El Tio, llama, boy, sacrifice. Ask them to predict the plot of the video. Compare their ideas, show the video and finally the listening activity. Eventually ask their opinion about the conclusion of the videoclip: do they like it? Would an other ending be more satisfying?


The close connection between music and literature has always fascinated EFL learners. Today I'm excited at introducing Hits&Lit, a new section of my blog where you can find handy hints on contemporary music and literary works. In more detail, this page lists all the songs of the moment referring to legends, tales, novels and poems. In addition to this, it contains some keywords, by which you can plan your daily lessons on a specific topic more easily. As usual, you can download the listening activities directly from the homepage (i.e. the page you're currently reading and/or clicking on the Labels on your right side) for your personal use or for your classes. Please remember that in this section the study of grammar and vocabulary are not so fundamental as the study of EFL culture and civilization. 
Subsequently, Hits&Lit aims at:
  • focusing on the link between language, literature and culture;
  • stimulating cultural information inference;
  • making cultural comparisons. 
I hope you'll enjoy it!Naturally if you like it, I'm waiting for further Hits&Lit suggestions...

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Pink feat. Lily Allen- "True Love"

Welcome back everyone to our new school year! Since in these weeks students are getting ready to take up their activity once again, I thought to refresh part of their previous knowledge with a very simple listening, such as "True Love" by the great Pink.
The song is quite pleasing and easy to memorize and if you wish to use it in your classroom, you can refresh present simple  in a very relaxing  and amusing way.
And now happy return to school...!
Level: beginner and pre intermediate
Grammar focus on: present simple
Activity: reorder the words in scrambled order