In the Ghetto

This song is ideal for presenting the use of Present Simple. It has all the forms, affirmative, negative, question, third form singular –s and more.

I first let students listen to the song:

We go through the lyrics and explain any unknown vocabulary. At the end of this, I draw students’ attention to the fact that the content of the song itself is the very essence of this tense. The story is not a single story, based in the present, it is a general story of so many, that starts all over again when it ends, that is omnipresent in time and not focused only on the immediate present. Just as the tense.

Then I ask them to find examples of the present simple structures and explain additionally where needed that e.g. “the snow flies” does not mean it is snowing in this moment, but that it is rather a general condition of this season, happening every year.

When they confirm that they understand the concept, I give them the ultimate question (often it is homework as the class ends at this point): Find 2 examples of a grammatically wrong use of Present Simple in the text (line 3 one thing she don’t need and line 14 he don’t get far). This does not sound like too much for homework and appeals to those who seek challenge, but there are many positive side effects to doing this, such as increased self-esteem and the challenge-solved feeling of accomplishment.

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