Hi everyone and welcome back to my blog! The song, I'm writing about today, "Gravity", is one of my favourite songs, while driving home, after a hard day at work, when I really need to calm down a little. I have often listened it sung by the young British singer Leo Stannard and the Italian pop singer Chiara Galiazzo (hence its popularity here in Italy), but I found out that the original version as well as the videoclip were performed by Stannard with an other British singer, Frances. Moreover I consider this hit appropriate for beginners who want to approach prepositions and phrasal verbs in English or simply revise the present, too.
In 2014 the Irish band U2 released an album, "Songs of Innocence", which was a devoted tribute to William Blake's masterpiece. After 3 years, Bono and company worked on a new album, "Songs of Experience", named after the second collection of poems written by the same English visionary poet. The hit we're going to listen today, "You're the best thing about me", is a gem, that recollects all the most important themes you can read in Blake's poems, i.e. an inner look into our personal emotional sphere. What I love about this song is that it is a love message sent by Bono to his children and a clear sign of jubilation. If you're working in a school where you teach English literature and you're interested in a flipped educational activity, you may as well appeal your students to search for similarities between the contents of the U2's lyrics and William Blake's poems, too.
Coldplay's lyrics usually have a very special touch and their last hit, "Magic", is so enchanting! Unfortunately, teenagers are not always so fond of Coldplay and from my personal experience I've learnt that their songs are more advisable for young adults or adults in general, but who knows, maybe your students make an exception! Anyway let me know...
As many ESL learners already know, phrasal verbs and prepositions following verbs can be quite irksome to master and even proficient speakers regularly need to go over them. Today's song "Untouchable" by the British Nick Howard is perfect for this goal! Level: pre-intermediate Grammar focus on: phrasal verbs, prepositions Activity: circle the right option Untouchable Lyrics taken from: http://www.lyricsmania.com/untouchable_lyrics_nick_howard.html Video:
Let's talk about: my friends and I. 1) Find three adjectives to describe your friends. 2) What is special in friendship? 3)How do you feel, when you are with your friends?
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.
Grammar focus on: prepositions (mainly phrasal verbs)
Activity: fill-in the gaps (prepositions provided)
What are we up to today?A breath of fresh air is filling our lungs, thanks to "Pompeii". This is the latest hit released by the new British band, Bastille. Just out of curiosity, the band was named after the Bastille Day, i.e. the day Dan Smith (frontman and songwriter) was born. Level: intermediate Grammar focus on: vocabulary Activity: word order, fill in the grid with words related to prepositions, -ing form, wh-questions and find opposites Pompeii Lyrics taken from:www.azlyrics.com Video:
Linguistic aspects: a short guide today to highlight some aspects. First, I was left to my devices: here it is to say that I was alone and I was allowed to fool someone else. Secondly, days fall away every time you realise that time goes by, but that is almost insignificant to you. You can also say that a poster can fall away, in case it breaks off from the thing it has been fixed to. Otherwise a piece of land falls aways when it slopes down. In a figurative way, if you examine that sales have fallen away recently, you get to the point that shops have sold less products lately. In addition to this, in literary British a sound (or feeling) falls away as long as it becomes weaker (see Macmillan Dictionary for further information). Thirdly, you reduce something to rubble anytime you destroy it completely. Literally, a rubble is any piece of broken stone. In the end, the expression: "Let the dust settle" is an excellent tip to give whenever you suggest that a person needs to calm down, after a violent outburst or breakdown.
Who said that breaking up is only a painful experience? In "It's a Beautiful Day" Michael Bublé tells us how much relieved one can feel once his/her love story is eventually over, so happy listening to every "broken heart"! Level: pre-intermediate Grammar focus on: phrasal verbs Activity: listening with fill in the gaps (prepositions) It's a Beautiful Day Lyrics taken from:Direct Lyrics Video:
Tips for teachers: as a warm-up activity, you can write down on the class board a list of synomys of the phrasal verbs presented by the song and ask your students to make predictions. Linguistic aspects: this song describes personal feelings in a very detailed way. For instance, you hold your breath when you see something unexpected in front of you and you are taken by surprise but you have to control yourself. Futher, an other metaphor is used in saying that you tear the seam of someone's dream, i.e. you want to destroy someone's desire. Let's examine the original meaning of the word: in origin a seam isa line where two pieces of fabric are sewn together but once it is removed, the two pieces are no longer joined and that piece of fabric is inevitably torn. The noun is also used in the expressionbursting/ bulging at the seamsmeaning a place full of people or objects. Then you come up with a specific line or you come up with the goods when you do exactly what you promised to do or what people expect you to do. Similarly you get/come/ fall into line with everytime you agree with or you adjust to a precise idea or concept. If you cage someone you keep that person in prison. Here is an example of a verb deriving from a noun: the cage is acontainermadeofwireormetalbarsusedforbirds. In colloquial language a caged bird is someone imprisoned. As for the statements used to introduce an evidence, you can say: "There's no denying that..." when you want to say that "it is clear that../ there is no doubt that/ it goes without saying that...". Finally, after breaking up with someone you can feel refreshed again if you take up or start a new hobby, like going to the gym, a newhabit, like going to the cinema, or a new job.
What is a "black traffic"?It's hard to say, but I guess that Skunk Anansie chose this title to leave behind a sad period of their own career (as one of their musicians passed away) and start a new adventure on their own, releasing their new album with an independent record label.Therefore I wish good luck to this British band, may they carry on playing good music as they have done so far!
Lyrics taken from: http://www.songlyrics.com/skunk-anansie/i-hope-you-get-to-meet-your-hero-lyrics/
Ideas for teachers: students love talking about their favorite actors, singers, writers, etc.You can introduce today's lyrics by asking your class to mention some current outstanding political leaders, VIPs, sportsmen, etc.
As a follow-up activity, it would be advisable to propose a written description of one of their heroes, too.
Linguistic aspects: the language of today's song is rich in words related to health and sorrow.
Let's start from the verbs. Get in "I hope you get to meet your hero" has the same meaning as "manage to meet" or "succeed on meeting".
Usually a storm churns a bay when it moves vigorously on a place or your stomach churns when you feel worried and nervous. In this case tears make the person feel upset and torn inside. You slew (< to slay) the dream means that you destroyed my dream.
Besides if she never tears your heart out, you are saying that she doesn't make you suffer. Sanity (the opposite is insanity)refers to a medical condition of good mental health. When you lose your sanity, you risk going insane or crazy or mad.
To sum up, an interesting expression is "I hope you get to choose your weapons". You have to choose your weapons, when you are provoked and have to defend yourself, thinking of a strategy to defeat your enemies. So Lock and load, my friends (go to http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/61/messages/230.html)!
Do you believe that our personality can be modified through the night? This question was extremely important for the FUN. and therefore, today we analyse their latest hit, "Some Nights", undoubtedly a must for those who really want to test their knowledge about phrasal verbs and prepositions in general. The following activity is particularly addressed to those who want to join the First and Advanced Cambridge examinations. Level: intermediate Grammar focus on: prepositions, phrasal verbs Activity: fill-in-the gap Some Nights Lyrics taken from: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/fun/somenights.html
Linguistic aspects: 1) Originally, the noun hype refers to the great use of advertisements and other publicity influencing people everyday; hence the expression I don't believe the hype meaning that I am not a fool who can be easily deceived. 2) Con (or con man)is the abbreviated form for confidence man, i.e. someone who swindles an other by means of a confidence trick (see http://www.thefreedictionary.com/) . Here it is clear that the protagonist doesn't trust his sister's boyfriend at all! 3) A new entry is jack as verb in the expression to jack my style: an informal use, that probably means to raise to a higher level. 4) To conclude, toget one's distance has quite the same meaning of to keep one's distance from somebody/something.
Controversial opinions welcomed Madonna's album, MDNA, as soon as it was released, but her "Turn Up the Radio", a dance-oriented song, has been described as a good song by both her fans and her critics. Once again it gives us the chance to deal with phrasal verbs.
Level: beginner (provided that you are already familiar with colloquial forms, like gotta or wanna)
Linguistic aspects: If you feel like you're going insane it means that you want to escape from reality but you can't do it (see Cambridge Dictionary).
You are sick and tired of something/ somebody when you are completely weary, discouraged, or bored with a situation or person (see http://www.thefreedictionary.com/).
Madonna says that she's stuck like a moth to a flame, i.e. a literary expression (more commonly you find to be stuck like moths to flame or like a moth to a candle flame) meaning that you are very attracted by something/someone.
An interesting question to ask is: "What lies behind the title of this song?". At first you may think it's the usual song dedicated to women's beauty, but it isn't. It contains a subtle recommendation: never forget where you are from and whom you grew up with!
This song inspires many activities on grammar: in fact you can listen to it if you want to study the comparative, the imperative, the present perfect, the -ing form etc. I am focusing on the study of prepositions, as many of you already know that phrasal verbs are a thorn in students' flesh :-((
Ok, this singer is totally unknown to me, but her hit is absolutely fantastic! It goes without saying that "Next to Me" is appropriate to revise "will" but in this case, instead, I am focusing on the study of prepositions. Enjoy it!