Showing posts with label synonyms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label synonyms. Show all posts

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Meghan Trainor- "All About That Bass"

Teaching ESL often implies selecting material with a social message for teenagers and when it comes to dealing with eating and bad habits, we know how much it is fundamental nowadays to stress upon complex concepts, i.e. awareness, healthy habits and self acceptance, etc. 
In choosing today's song, "All About That Bass", I'm thinking that all these aspects are positively expressed by the US singer Meghan Trainor, a testimonial herself of real beauty. Although some of you may object that the language is pretty colloquial, I believe it can easily become subject matter itself, therefore why don't you make reference to it, if you are planning a lesson on colloquial/plain English and synonyms to enrich your students' poor vocabulary?

Level: pre-intermediate/intermediate students

Grammar focus on: colloquial/plain English and synonyms

Activity: rewrite the words given into plain English and find synonyms for informal expressions


Let's talk about:  Photoshop and real beauty. 1) Who do you admire most: VIP celebrities or ordinary people? 2)Do you agree with the message conveyed by the song? 3) Would ever go under plastic surgery (or nip and tuck?)?

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Robbie Williams- "Go Gentle"

The birth of a child really makes the difference in everyone's life, but when it comes to a rebel, like Robbie Williams used to be in the past, it is surprising to realize how much his young daughter,Theo, has changed his life. Listening to "Go Gentle", you will notice that the hit is not a simple lullaby, rather a genuine promise. In our opinion it is a good starting point for improving students' vocabulary and also for talking about the relation between our students and their parents.

Level: intermediate

Grammar focus on: adjectives, synonyms, word formation

Activity: three exercises are provided. In the first, students are invited first to read the lyrics and try to guess the missing adjectives (only the initial is given) and then they listen to the song twice. In the second exercise they find synonyms, while in the third they try to reconstruct the basic form of the words given. In this case, it would be advisable to divide the class in pairs and explain that they have to look up in the dictionary and make predictions.


Let's talk about: 1) describe your father's positive and negative aspects; 2) what did your parents use to recommend to you when you were a child?; 3) List five recommendations that your parents usually make to you.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Lorde- "Royals"

I came to know "Royals" by the New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde, as in Italy it is currently the soundtrack of a very popular TV commercial about smartphones. Therefore I thought that this song could be inspirational for those teachers who aim at discussing the topic- usually loved by students- of advertisement.
In my opinion, when it comes to deal with ads, you can direct your attention to many aspects, such as:

  • the message conveyed by a Tv/radio/web ad from a linguistic or thematic point of view;
  • the specific vocabulary introduced (i.e. "jingle", "slogan", "commercial", "break", etc.);
  • the type of music or video chosen by a company (thus stressing upon the importance of pictures, images or lyrics)
etc. Furthermore I believe that in this song the artist Lorde well describes teenagers' feelings about their origins, their limits and their possibilities and their dreams, too. Consequently, you can exploit this song as a good resource to promote your students' 1) listening and comprehension abilities, 2) vocabulary enrichment and 3) awareness of their limits and abilities (metacognition).

Level: intermediate and  upper-intermediate 

Grammar focus on: phrasal verbs

Activity: listening and comprehension. 5 exercises are provided (with keys). As a follow-up activity, you can ask your students to create a new commercial about the same smartphone. Divide the class in groups of 4-5 and explain that they have to launch a new commercial via radio. Use a tape recorder to record their performances and only after that, analyse together with the class the negative and positive aspects of their ad. In this case, prepare a greed that can be used as feedback by anyone to value the ad presented by his/her peer impartially.


Tips for teachers: In Italy this song is the soundtrack of this smartphone:

Obviously I am not attaching it to promote it, but just as a hint that can be used in your class as a brainstorming activity. You can elicit your students' expectations, asking them if they already know this commercial or its protagonist. You can also ask them to report the message conveyed by it and I am sure that everyone will be interested in having his/her own say!