Wednesday, 26 February 2014

U2- "Invisible"

We're back again with the second single taken from U2's upcoming album, i.e."Invisible", where a young Bono tells about his decision to leave home and move to London, to start a career with his band. This song is also popular, because it supports the RED campaign along with Bank of America against AIDS (if you want to read more, please go to: http://www.red.org/en/bankofamerica).
You can easily go in for "Invisible" with your class, if you're planning a lesson on the use of personal/possessive adjectives and pronouns.

Level: pre-intermediate

Grammar focus on: personal/possessive adjectives and pronouns

Activity: circle the right option

Invisible

Lyrics taken from: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/u/u2/invisible_21076297.html


Video: 


Let's talk about: loneliness and hope.  Have you ever felt like invisible among the others?

Friday, 14 February 2014

Macmillan Love English Awards 2013

Today it's the last day to vote for the best blog and the best website about the English Language in 2013!As you probably already know, Macmillan Dictionary Love English Awards is not only a competition, where you can nominate your favourite website or blog to learn English, but it is also a worldwide "come-on" for English language specialists as bloggers and editors. Furthermore, and that's our case, the list of all the nominations acts as a spur to update and to improve our skills, too. As you will see, many of these blogs and websites will soon be bookmarked among our useful blogs/tools.

Our votes went to:
  • English with a Twist  by Shanthi Cumaraswamy Streat as best blog, because it is an excellent compendium of useful tips in the fields of vocabulary (we love especially all the posts related to idioms), literature (with lovely quotes about some classic writers) and infographics (with practical rules for our students). What's more, the blog is well anchored to social media, having for example a Facebook page and a newsletter, so as to be easily and regularly updated about Shanthi' s work.
  • BBC Learning English by BBC as best website. Although widely renown and with a long history (this year it's 70 years old), BBC Learning English is still nowadays the essential handbook for English language learners. In our opinion, the large amount of sections offered, ranging from today's English, newspapers' language, colloquial English, business English, up to the online soap operas, are its strong point. It gives us the idea that it always provides you with fresh materials in a simple and direct style.
And now, what about you? Have you already voted? Which are your best blogs and websites? We're eager for your preferences as well as for the Macmillan  Love English Awards 2013 winners!!!

Macmillan Dictionary Love English Awards
taken from http://www.macmillandictionary.com/love-english-awards/

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Avicii- "Hey Brother"

Today's hit, "Hey Brother", is a very popular dance song, backed by a quite interesting video, that explores the themes of friendship  and war. Therefore, in presenting this song to your students, we suggest that you would consider to exploit it as a starting point for discussing relevant topics, such as intimate relations, the loss of dear ones, the feelings of separation, the experience of war, etc. etc.

Level: pre-intermediate

Grammar focus on: prepositions (mainly phrasal verbs)

Activity: fill-in the gaps (prepositions provided)


Lyrics taken from: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/avicii/brothersister.html

Video:


Let's talk about affections: 1)do you have a best friend?; 2)what are your favorite games when you play with your friends?; 3) have you ever lost someone you were fond of?If so, when? Why?



Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Macklemore&Ryan Lewis feat. Mary Lambert- "Same Love"

Today we're going to write about a song, "Same Love" by Macklemore&Ryan Lewis, that is a marvelous feat of courage and strength for equal rights. It is indeed a special contribution to the 2012 campaign supporting the "Washington Referendum 74" but also a stance against hip hop's widespread homophobic prejudices. 
Before submitting your class to any listening activity, we would suggest that you should let its video clip play. As you will see, in fact, it is the highly affecting account of a man, his falling in love with a person of the same sex and their love story up to the moment of their old age. We know that in many countries this topic may still cause contrasting reactions but we are of the opinion that dealing with aspects related to gender orientation and sexual identity may open the door for opposing dramatic phenomena, such as discrimination and bullying in education, as well as raising awareness of individual choices and respect towards different ones

Level: upper intermediate

Focus on: vocabulary

Activity: show the video clip of the song without listening to the music and ask your students to describe what they have just watched. Focus on their personal feelings, as our listening activity is centred on words related to discrimination. Students will fill in the song with the missing words (provided in advance) and later on they will be guided to reflect on the topic of "diversity".


Lyrics taken from: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/macklemore/samelove.html

Video: 


Let's talk about diversity: 1) have you aver felt isolated? 2) Have you ever been victim of discrimination? 3) List 5 values that people should cultivate to accept diversity.

Tips for teachers: if your students are already on an advanced level, focus on the colloquial linguistic aspects offered by this song and we're sure you won't regret it!