A Song and a Story


Last week we read Eveline from Dubliners with my 12th graders. On Monday we will talk about the story in details and then I will assign them with several follow-up tasks.

Yesterday, on our way hoe we were listening to Bon Jovi and while listening to Runaway, I thought I might use the song with my class after talking about Eveline.

My plan is to discuss the song as follows but I will be very happy to hear your suggestions as well.


My Personal Theme Song for the 4th Cycle of the #30Goals Challenge

Two years ago at a plenary talk JJ Wilson told that we enter the class with everything we put in our luggage. Looking at my past I completely agree with him. Through the years we pack a suitcase adding little pebbles every time we repack. The suitcase we are given at our birth is not completely empty, there are already things from our parents, grandparents, siblings, places they were born, lived and educated. Then we start adding our little pebbles. Carrying all of them with us, we become ourselves. In this suitcase we add little books, little albums, photos, tastes and so many other things which become very important for us.

I had already written a personal song list for the first cycle of the 30 Goals challenge  and I’ll add another one here. This one is multilingual, including all the languages that form me.


I’ll start with a song which became a hit for me in my teenage years. Riccardo Fogli was the first San Remo music festival winner that I’d watched and with this song Italian became my favorite language.

As I can’t speak Italian, I got the translation from http://lyricstranslate.com

the stories like rings of smoke

in one distant place, without anybody

only the night that doesnt finish ever

another day that is passing by

forgotten in the noise of the town

for all the people like us

nothing has changed, and nothing will change

another day that is passing by now

with this love that is not strong as you would like



I have always loved songs from 80s, that’s probably I was a teenager then and I had already started forming myself.

I will add a song from Chris de Burgh. I think he is not just a musician but also a poet and a storyteller. He has many wonderful songs but I will include Sailorin my background album.


Underneath a silver moon, the ship is like a ghost,

She’s been out there for a week, just waiting for the wind to blow,

But now she’s off and running, and there’s nothing I can do,

‘Cos I am just a prisoner here until this war is through,

And I’m singing,

Isn’t it a very meaningful song as the ghosts of the past has been wandering around all the time?


Yalnizlik Senfonisi (the symphony of lonliness) is a wonderful ballad composed by Sezen Aksu. A very quick translation, just to give an idea.

I understand there is no end for loneliness

Each day will increase

Was it always the case, I do not know

It was untouchable when we cried in our childhood


to my loneliness

Waiting in ambush

pains on duty gazing me

Waiting Waiting Waiting

Come on, I’m not afraid


This one is an Armenian song. It’s called Khanti Yerk (The Song of Jealousy) The singer teases his lover how he enjoys when she is jealous of him.





I can’t decide which three Charles Aznavour songs should be number 1. My favourite ones are Mourir d’aimer, L’amour c’est comme un Jour and Hier Encore.

I think I will go for Hier Encore just after my birthday. It’s time to think about Yesterday when I was young …


Yesterday when I was young

the taste of life was sweet as rain upon my tongue.

I teased at life as if it were a foolish game,

the way the evening breeze may tease a candle flame.

The thousand dreams I dreamed, the splendid things I planned

I always built alas on weak and shifting sand.

I lived by night and shunned the naked light of the day

and only now I see how the years ran away.

Song Lesson of the Week ~ The Sound of Silence


The Sound of Silence is a very powerful song and although it is from a very remote past for our teens, they love it when they hear.

When I do the song in the class, I choose images from the web. Just type ‘silence’ and choose the images you want to use in your lessons.

I chose the following photos;



A. Discussion Questions

  1. List the words or phrases that come to your mind when you hear the word ‘silence’.
  2. List the antonyms of ‘silence’.
  3. Compare the silence visualized in the pictures.
  4. Have you experienced a situation when there was deadly silence?

B. Guess the meanings of the underlined words:

  1. My brother came home very late and crept into his room so as not to wake dad up.
  2. He killed his victim by stabbing with a kitchen knife.
  3. Don’t dare to come home late again. Your dad will be furious.
  4. He bowed his head when he saw the principal.
  5. The concert didn’t start and the audience became restless.

C. Understanding the song:

  1. The singer says ‘hello darkness, my old friend’ What does he want to say?
  2. Is he alone in his dream? Does that make any difference? Why or why not?
  3. What does silence refer to in this song?
  4. Does the melody help you convey the meaning of the song? How?

D. Follow up:

You have to choose 2 of the tasks.

Write your own poem called ‘The Sound of Silence’

Summarise the song creating a comic. You can use the following comic creators: http://www.creaza.com/frontpage



Make a presentation visualizing the song.

You can use powerpoint or glogster or photopeach/animoto.

My students’ responses to the follow-up tasks





The Sound of Silence

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

GoAnimate.com: Thank+you by anoosheeg_L

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

a summary and a thank you with good old power point

Call for Songs for the 33rd ELT Carnival

You are kindly invited to the next ELL, ESL, ELT carnival. The theme of the 33rd carnival will be Songs in ELT Classrooms. 

If you want to participate, you can use the easy submission form and send me your blog list or you can contact me from here or twitter (I’m @evab2001) if the form doesn’t work.

If you don’t blog, you can still participate. I’ll be glad to host your song lesson posts on my blog.


Here you can find some cool ideas for new lessons.

A great summary of #ELTchat about Teaching English through songs: activities, resources and benefits of using songs for teaching, on Jan 12th via Vicky Saumel

Teaching English through songs in the digital age (part 1 of 4): Background readings and resources

Teaching English through songs in the digital age (part 2 of 4): Ideas for using songs

Teaching English through songs in the digital age (part 3 of 4): Specific songs and their uses

Teaching English through songs in the digital age (part 4 of 4): Music-related web 2.0 tools


http://ddeubel.edublogs.org/2010/12/31/tesol-teacher-training-presentations/ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_nPUuPryCs 




esl base


Music in the English Language Classroom

David Deubelbeiss posted The 32nd ELT Blog Carnival!

You can check out all previous editions here….