Tim Minchin: Prejudice


Ask your students what the word prejudice means to them and if they have ever witnessed it in any way. It is best to have them discuss this topic first in pairs or small groups and then report.


Play the first 50 seconds of the video and then ask students what they expect the song to be about. If they need help, tell them the song is autobiographical and ask again.


Play the rest of the song, stopping if necessary to clarify. Stop the song after the letters are said and ask students to produce possible words from the given letters.


 Play the song to the end and ask students to discuss in pair or in small groups how they understand it. 

Invite comments.


 Ask students to come up with other words that seem innocent but can also be used to hurt others or share any words that have hurt them in the past. Ask them to think about what could be done about that and opec conversation about bullying.

more such lessons by Sandra Vida on lessonswithmusic.com

Gotye: Somebody I used to know


Play the song and have students listen to it carefully so as to understand as much as possible at first hearing.


Ask what the song is about and then ask students if they know what homophones are. (It helps my students to mention synonyms here and explain if needed.)

Tell the students they will get a worksheet with lyrics to the song, but almost every line has a mistake, ,where a homonym is used instead of the right word.

Play the song again twice and have them correct as many mistakes as they can.


Go through the lyrics helping them if/when necessary.

Vandaag Bakermat: One day

Step 1

Ask students if they are aware of any groundbreaking speeches people gave in history. If you can have pairs or small groups access the internet, it is a good reading practice to allow them to search for them.

A simple search for “best speech” brought ideal results among the first ten, such as these:


If Internet in school is not available, you can either assign this as homework or print out a set and distribute them around the classroom for students to “browse”.

Each group should choose one speech they find special and present it to the rest, including an oral explanation why they thought so.

Step 2

Play the song without the video and ask students if they can figure out whose the voice is and which speech it is.

Have them go back to the speech and read along.

Step 3

Let students use the internet and/or the transcript of the speech to write a paragraph about why they think this particular speech was important then and why did the artist in this song decide it is still worth using in a song and why it was a hit in many European countries. (source Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakermat )

Step 4

After exchanging their ideas about the topic, students expand the paragraphs into essays adding introduction, conclusion and some more background and arguments.

Macka B: Cucumber


Ask students to work in pairs or small groups. Give them a time limit to name as many vegetables as they can. One of my groups full of boys likes competitions so I set it as a competition.


Ask the group with the lowest number to read out their list and then ask other groups to add to it.

One of the vegetables on the list will surely be tomato, so here you can have students watch this interesting video that looks at a tomato as a fruit and have them think about this aspect.


Talk also about what they know about tomatoes.


Ask students if they know anything about cucumbers and what they are good for. Then show them this song:

The first time, I let the song play out until the end without interruptions. Later, if necessary, I stop the song and check understanding.


Ask groups to choose 1 vegetable from their list, do a short Google search about it and make a similar song about their chosen vegetable. They can easily find instrumental versions of popular songs on Youtube for the basis of their song. Alternatively, they can use one of many music apps to produce the music to it. One of my groups already had a guitar app installed on one of the phones so they produced the whole song from scratch.


Have groups perform the song while their schoolmates grade the performances. You can also make a video of the performances.

Have fun J

Katy Perry: Chained to the rhythm


Put your students in small groups and ask them to find online what the following words mean and 3 different ways of using them in a sentence.



Picket fence










Ask groups to write a short story using these words and share them with the class.


Ask students to listen to the song and watch the video.

What is she trying to say with the song?

Now show them the song with lyrics and see if they understand even more:

Nick Cave: As I sat sadly by her side


Ask your students to step to the window and look out for 30 seconds, trying to remember as much as possible. After that, they should sit down and individually describe what they saw in as much detail as possible. (This is a nice opportunity to revise past simple structures such as I saw… There were… etc.)


Ask students to find a partner and compare their notes with at least 3 different people. Ask if they all noticed the same things and if there are any reasons why some people noticed different things than others or interpreted them in a different way.


Ask students to listen to this song


Have students work in small groups to try to understand the song. They might need dictionaries or internet to be able to understand everything. Each group writes a short paragraph on how they understand it. They share their ideas with other groups and discuss the following questions:

Who are the people in the song? What is their relationship?

What function does the cat have?

How does what you see through the window relate to the people in the song?

If they are interested in more, they can try to find interpretations of other people on websites such as http://songmeanings.com/songs/view/82387/


Princess Chelsea: The cigarette duel

This song is a great way to introduce the topic of cigarettes through dialogues and common excuses.


Revise with students the main facts about smoking, asking them about things they already know.


Ask students to pair up or form small groups. In their groups they should list reasons people give for and against smoking and excuses young smokers use with friends and parents.


Have students listen to the song and add any excuses from the to their list if necessary.


Using their lists, ask students to write dialogues and then act them out.

Cool Kids by Echosmith


Have the students listen to the song informally as they are coming into the classroom. This will give you a good idea of how well they know the song. In my experience, most students will have been familiar with the chorus and many will be able to identify with it as well at least at some level.


You open the lesson by asking them about the chorus of the song and how they feel about it. Who are the cool kids in their school and why? Elicit some ideas about what makes you cool from their point of view and what makes you uncool and write them on the board.


Help them produce some second conditional sentences with the ideas from the board, Such as:

If I were a cool kid, I would have many friends.

(If you need to, discuss the reasons behind If I was/If I were dilemma here or let students do some research on the subject online. This page is easy to find and offers a good explanation: http://www.cliffsnotes.com/cliffsnotes/writing/which-is-correct-if-i-was-or-if-i-were-and-why and fortunately is just one of many.)


Put the students into pairs or small groups. Play the song with lyrics and ask them to produce as many sentences as possible based on the lyrics. The will need to watch out for all the descriptions of cool kids and use them in sentences.

(If you have a competitive group, you can make it a competition.)


Students compare the produced sentences and check each other’s sentences.


Go back to the song and compare the cool kids from the song with the cool kids in your school. Discuss the differences and reasons behind them.

If you still have time, go back to the original video and ask if the singer is one of the cool kids or not and why they feel so. If you listen to the song again, in the second part it becomes clear that the singer is not singing from her own perspective but from a boy’s perspective, so all answers are correct here as long as they can support them.