Thank You, another song lesson




I used this song  with my students last year.

I combined some of the activities from here and added some follow-up writing activities.

1.First I asked my students who we thank in our lives. I wrote some phrases on the board to help them to express themselves. I gave them post-it notes and I divided them into groups I told them they have to thank the friends in their groups. I  elicited the sentence and wrote some examples on the board “Thank you X for being very helpful” I also told them that they have to say a different THANK YOU to each of their friends. I put all the thank you post-it notes on the walls.

2. Then I asked them to list what the following words and phrases bring into their mind.





being late for work



3. I told my students to guess what the song we were going to listen be about using the words and phrases from exercise 1 and 2 write what the song we are going to listen will be about.

Then we listened to Dido’s Thank You and filled in the gaps on their handouts.

I also assigned them with a few follow-ups.

4. Understanding the song:

  • What kind of a day did she experience?
  • Why isn’t she unhappy?
  • How would she have felt in the song, if she didn’t have someone supportive in her life?

5. writing:

Change the song into a thank you letter. You may want to begin as below

Dear …..

You are sleeping now and I’m watching you. I know we couldn’t speak tonight as I was very tired but I want to thank you because —–

BTW I got really interesting letters written to their mothers 🙂

6. narrative:

This song can also be used for revising narrative tenses or writing a narrative. After listening to the song you can ask your students to write ‘an unlucky day in the life of ——-‘ or you can tell your students to write a story of a day based on the song.

Grade 11 SD Thank You notes.

Grade 12 follow ups

An animation Thank+you by anoosheeg_L

Like it? Create your own at It’s free and fun!

a summary and a thank you with good old power point

I will survive - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more


Well, when do you say, I will survive?

Guess I can hear you? If a friend has a broken heart and is very sad, what advice will you give and in thend make her say ‘I will survive’

Don’t worry it is not me who needs to be strong 🙂


Here is my lesson:


And a warmer to give advice (good for kinesthetic learners)

Play snowball in the class:

  • Tell students to write 3 problems (real or imaginary)on a piece of paper.
  • Tell them there is no need to write their names.
  • Tell them to crumple the paper and turn it into a ball.
  • Play snowball for a while and encourage the fun.
  • Stop them and tell them to pick the snowball closest to them and write advice to the problems.

A filler/ Tic-tac-toe

  • On slips of papers or post-it notes write situations or problems.
  • Draw the tic-tac-toe grid on the board.
  • Divide class into two teams.
  • Students in turns choose a square and and take the same numbered post-it note.
  • According to the situation on the post-it, students give advice or express regret.

Some suggestions:

I stayed up late playing computer games and failed in the test.

My sister keeps wearing my tshirts without asking me.

My parents don’t understand that I’m a teenager.

I shouted to my grandma yesterday and I feel sorry now.


Using Songs by Anna Musielak

Part of the series From my PLN

Music is everywhere, it surrounds us from the moment we are born – well even before that;) My father is a music lover so my earliest childhood memories revolve around singing, dancing and „making” my own music. I loved to record songs or my covers of rhymes;) I never had a  great voice but I was very passionate about singing (and listening to music). I was a very lively child and my mum said that when I listened to music those where the few moments I was”calmer” and let her work a bit;)


I started learning English when I was quite young – my parents were my first teachers. And how did they do it? Through songs of course. Old Macdonald, Hokey Pokey, ABC and many more…When I was a teenager my father played The Beatles or The Rolling Stones to me, asking whether I can pick up and understand some words (he does it till this day, sometimes with very complicated lyrics;)). That is why, as a person who cannot imagine life without music and never leaves home without an Ipod, I think it is important to use songs in the ELT classroom. If we are passionate about something  – we should share it with our learners. I try to pass my love to music onto my daughter as well – she is four and loves singing:) And that is how I teach her English – through songs and chants:)

On my lessons I like to use songs that are not very well known because then the response seems to be „fresher” somehow . I mix the less common songs with the classic ones and I think that lessons with more than one song work best. Here is a lesson plan for young adults using three songs.


Level: FCE/CAE

The aim of this lesson was to talk about various types of love and relationship, as well as to focus on grammatical expressions talking about regrets and the past (wish/regret/modals in the past/would)

Apart from listening, grammar and vocabulary skills were also practised and the lesson continued with a writing project.

On this lesson I used three songs – each about a different kind of love such as motherly love, unrequited love or lost love. We started the lesson by looking at the word cloud made up of keywords from those three songs. Students were supposed to predict the content and discuss the themes in pairs or groups.


At that point students were presented with the lyrics of the first song – and here I decided to gap the text. They skimmed it and asked about words that were new. They tried to predict what music genre it was and who was singing this song. Later on, they listened and filled the gaps. After completing the task in groups, they checked their predictions and discussed the type of relationship/love presented. They decided what keywords conveyed the meaning and discussed the grammatical structures talking about the past and regrets.


The be good Tanyas  


You said to yourself that we did not love you
All of the years didn’t mean nothing
You told yourself we would not forgive you
Mistakes that you made would keep us separated

Comin’ home hard day done
Comin’ home hard day done

Don’t you know it’s your laugh we laugh that
pulls us through
And the strength and the love that we carry
We got it from you


With the second song the task was similar but the lyrics were jumbled.  Again the students familiarized themselves with the text and tried to predict the music genre and main theme.

Lee DeWyze

 “A Song About Love”

I used to make you cry,
but I haven’t smiled since you left.
Can you undo ‘Goodbye’,
its a word I wish I cud forget.
U told me you love me and to try to move on.
But its hard to get up when you fall,
so I wrote a song about love but its nothing at all.

It was you who took the blame,
even though we both knew who was wrong.
Yeah I’m calling out your name,
every time I’m singing this song.
Coz its over, yeah its over
U told me you love me but its time to move on.
its hard to get up when you fall,
so I wrote a song about love but its nothing at all.

Coz its over, yeah its over
U told me you love me and to try to move on.
its hard to get up when you fall,
so I wrote a song about love
and its sad cuz it won’t be enough.
so I wrote a song about love but its nothing at all.

And last but not least,  it was time for the third song, this time in full version. Students read the text to get the main idea. The vocabulary was checked and students were asked to search for keywords presenting the main idea. After that they listened to the song.


 Eric Clapton


What’ll you do when you get lonely
And nobody’s waiting by your side?
You’ve been running and hiding much too long.
You know it’s just your foolish pride.

Layla, you’ve got me on my knees.
Layla, I’m begging, darling please.
Layla, darling won’t you ease my worried mind.

I tried to give you consolation
When your old man had let you down.
Like a fool, I fell in love with you,
Turned my whole world upside down.

Let’s make the best of the situation
Before I finally go insane.
Please don’t say we’ll never find a way
And tell me all my love’s in vain.

 After listening students were presented with two images and had to decide which one suited best to the last song. They had to justify and defend their opinion, of course.



After listening to all three songs it was time for comparison and contrast. We started with the themes and various types of love moving on to more analytical tasks, such as vocabulary and grammar comparison (how many different tenses were used, how did the author express regrets and wishes etc).

We decided together how the songs could be made shorter – which words could be reduced without changing the meaning and how to expand them by adding more nouns, adjectives or verbs.

As homework students were asked to change the format of chosen texts e.g. turn them into a newspaper article or a screenplay.

The lesson continued with lots of follow up projects and students themselves found songs dealing with chosen topics they wanted to discuss and analyze:)

The reduction/expansion and media transferred ideas are inspired by Alan Maley’s procedures


Anna Musielak is a a teacher and teacher trainer from Poland. She is  also a drama  and literature enthusiast. If you want to follow her on twitter,  she is @AnnaMusielak

I’d like to thank Ania for this wonderful contribution to the song lessons and this blog. I’m glad I had the chance to attend her workshop at TESOL France and admired her enthusiasm for teaching.

Thanks Ania, being part of my PLN…

Old Techniques Revisited

Visual Poetry -

I started a ‘train the trainer’ course in January. At today’s session, we looked into some listening activities and dictation techniques.

As a teacher, I have never liked doing dictation in my class. It’s something I neglected. The only one I use is the wall dictation AKA the running dictation for motivating quotes whenever I feel my classes need motivational quotes.

For me dictation is a very boring activity or it used to be boring and useless. I mean just to check spelling, I can try something else and this feeling is because of my primary school teacher. She used to give us texts to memorise at home and in class sometimes she read them and we dictated or sometimes we wrote the text by heart.That was the biggest challenge. Whenever I hear the word dictation, I remember a scene me as a kid  trying to write texts many times just as to learn how to spell the words.

However, today I realised  there are really cool dictation techniques and some of them are as old as hills, yet very effective and fun.

I’ll try to list the ones I like  now incase I forget how wonderful they really are.

1. Mixed ability dictations

Teacher divides the class into 3 according to students’ abilities. The lower level students get a text with multiple options for certain words or phrases, middle level students get a text with gaps and higher level ones get a blank page to fill when the teacher reads.

2. Running or wall dictation

Teacher posts some texts on the walls and divides her class into groups. A person from each group should go to the wall, try to memorise a part of the text and come to the desk to dictate to her friend. Everybody from the group should go to the wall in turns and come back with a piece of text to desk to be dictated. We did an alternative to this today which I liked very much and thought it can also be a very good pre-reading activity. Teacher posts the texts on the walls and gives handouts with questions to be answered. Students should go to the text read it and find the anwser and come to the desk and dictate it.

3. Half the story

Teacher starts reading a story and after a while stops and asks a question and wants the students to write their answers and then waits them to write then she continues dictating the story, pauses and asks an other question, students answer and the process continues until the story finishes. In the end, each student has a different story. The stories can be displayed on the walls or teacher can ask them to find which one is the best. I think this one is a great pre-writing activity for narratives. Before we ask the students to produce their own stories we can provide an example with variety of linking words and then may be we can talk about how it was paragraphed, which conjunctions or tenses were used.

4. Cheating dictation

This is so challenging. Teacher reads the story at a normal speed without any pause. Students shouldn’t ask any questions while the teacher reads. The teacher won’t stop and repeat any word. When the teacher finishes the story, students in groups try to fill in the missing parts that they couldn’t catch. Then the teacher reads slowly and students check their texts.

Recently I’ve read a great post at Teaching Village by Nick Jaworski. There are more examples on how you can use dictation in your lessons.