If you had the chance to read my previous post, Her Morning Elegance, you’ve already realized how much I enjoy working with songs in my classes. A new semester started two weeks ago over here and I was trying to find an interesting song for my students, but this time, I thought, I wanted to do something different from those conventional “fill-in-the-blanks” or “circle the correct word as you hear” types of exercise.

As I’m always downloading music for many different reasons, I came across a song by Katy Perry which was released last week. Although I’m not a fan of hers, “Roar” had a peculiar “lyric video” and then I thought this could give me the chance to do what I had been willing to do, something different.

If you check this link, you’ll see that the song used “emoticons” to make believe that people were having a conversation via whatsapp (a very popular app for iPhones and Androis). As my students are always using their mobile phones in class, I decided to maintain these symbols as part of the activity as I believed it would generate a lot of eagerness to participate. Luckily, I was right. Why?

01 – They didn’t know it was a song. Their first reaction was to say: “Wow. Is it a whatsapp conversation, teacher?” and I just nodded my head and asked them to decipher the messages, which they did willingly. After they had finished, I played the song and their new reaction was “Oh my God. Is it a song?”. This happened because Roar had just been released and very few students knew about it.

02 – It used real-life communication (emoticons) and I allowed them to use their mobile phones to check what the symbols were. As I have many students and I had to photocopy the activity, its quality wasn’t very good and some symbols were difficult to read. It was really interesting to see everybody trying to find a meaning for each emoticon and using their mobile phones for the ones which were a bit confusing.

03 – After my students had finished listening to the song to check if their answers were correct or not, I played the video again and they saw the same symbols in the video. It was amazing to see how much fun they had trying to sing along. Being a visual learner, I must confess, helped me memorize the lyrics as I can clearly see the symbols moving in front of me whenever I listen to this song.

04 – As a wrap up, I asked them to use their mobile phones to send each other messages using emoticons. As some groups have been mine for a while, we already have groups in which all the students are participants. As a result, we started having really long conversations and sentences through symbols and we had a blast.

Here’s what I did.

01. Give students a copy of the activity (in my groups, each pair had a copy).
02. Tell them to decipher the messages. As some symbols are difficult to be read, encourage students to use their mobile phones to see what each icon represents. If they don’t have iPhones, Androids or whatsapp, ask them to work with someone who has.
03. Ask them if there were any symbols they couldn’t understand or were in doubt about (optional).
04. Play the song (no video) and ask them to correct their answers (I had to play the song twice as it’s really fast and there are many blanks to be completed).
05. Show the video.

That’s it. I really hope you and your students like this activity. I’d be more than happy to receive some feedback about the activity, the way you do it in class or how your students responded to it. 

15 Responses so far.

  1. well done, Eduardo!

    Gonna give it a go with my groups.

  2. Thanks, Lucas. Do give it a go and let me know how it works.

  3. Hey Eduardo! I really like this activity man! I'm gonna try it out in some of my group classes to and let you know!

  4. Do let me know how it works, man. Glad to see you liked it. You can save the file and use it in your downloadable book if you wish.

  5. This is really cool, thanks Dudu!

  6. Hey Martin. I'm so happy to see you here, mate. How's it going? Drop me a line whenever you have the time. Hope everything is just fine over there!

  7. Perfect, Eduardo. Thank you so much for sharing your activities. I love them!

  8. OMG!! Thank you so much! I teach offshore and this might be a good way to work with them. I just have one question: What is the students level for this activity?

  9. Thanks Eduardo for the ideas and the worksheet. I'm going to use them today. :) I'll let you how it goes.

  10. Thanks for the inspiring post Eduardo. I worked with it and it was really good. :)

  11. Hi, Eduardo! I love the song Roar! It's such a positive song. Great idea to use emoticons. I've got students who use their mobile phones a lot. This is certainly a good break from the usual cloze exercises. Thanks for this post.

  12. I'll try it on Wednesday :D Thank u very much for the activity..
    I don't have the option of showing the video in our school though because we don't have a projector..

  13. I'll try it on Wednesday :D Thank u very much for the activity..
    I don't have the option of showing the video in our school though because we don't have a projector..

  14. I didn't know about this Katy Perry video, I only ever saw the main version - great lesson idea! Unfortunately the worksheet link no longer works - if you get this message, I would love to see it sometime!

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