Posted in Vocabulary Classes

Gossip Girls: Phrasal Verbs

gossip

This is a fun lexis lesson for B1+ teens and adults based around the topic of gossip. Students read a dialogue of two people gossiping full of phrasal verbs. Then they try to guess the meaning of the expressions from the context, practice them in gap-fill exercises then write and perform their own soap opera/gossip scenes. Download the handout below:

Gossip Girls

Lesson Plan

Introduce the topic of gossip, check students understanding of the word, ask CCQs: what do people gossip about? relationships, secrets, arguments etc.

Gist Reading

Give out the handout, have students read it in pairs and then think of a title for the scene. If students have issues with any lexis, tell them that you will look at it in detail later.

Meaning Match

Have sts work together to match the phrasal verbs underlined in the text with the meanings in box.

Testing/Memorising

After checking sts answers on the board, have sts test each other on the phrasal verbs: one says the definition, the other has to recall the phrasal verb or vice versa.

Gap-fill: Recall prepositions

Students turn the handout over and have to quickly remember all the prepositions.

Controlled practice: New contexts

Sts have to try to use the phrasal verbs in new contexts by completing a gap fill, remind them to be careful of the tense and form of the phrasal verbs. Key:

  1. fell out
  2. pick up
  3. cheating on
  4. ask out
  5. put up with
  6. hang out
  7. get on
  8. looking back
  9. looking forward to
  10. turned up
  11. broke up

Freer Practice

Students work in pairs to write their own, new dialogues, you could show them clips from classic UK soap operas like Eastenders or Coronation Street to give them some inspiration. Have students read their dialogues out in front of the class and vote on the funniest/most scandalous.

Dialogue

Read the dialogue below with a partner, then think of a title for it:

Title: ___________________________

A: Have you heard about Kate and Steve?

B: No, what happened?

A: They’ve broken up.

B: No way! When did this happen??

A: Yesterday. Apparently she’d been cheating on him for months with a guy from her gym.

B: Seriously?? That’s horrible, tell me more.

A: Well apparently she met this guy in her yoga class and they got on really well and started hanging out after class. Then the guy asked her out for a drink and she said yes, but then Sarah saw them in the bar where they went for the date and confronted her about it.

B: Woah! Is that why Kate and Sarah fell out?

A: Yeah, looking back it seems obvious now. So then, last week Steve and Kate were supposed to be going to a concert together, Steve had been looking forward to it for ages. Then on the night of the concert she just didn’t turn up! He was calling her and calling her and she didn’t pick up, because she was out on another date with the guy from the gym!

B: What a bitch! Steve is such a nice guy.

A: I know he shouldn’t have to put up with being treated like that. So anyway, he went straight to her house because he was really worried and he caught her coming out of her flat with the guy!

B: Oh my god! It’s like something out of a soap opera!

A: I know…

Meaning

Replace the underlined phrasal verbs in the text with the words/phrases in the box below:

1.      Tolerate

2.      Stopped being friends

3.      Ended their relationship

4.      Spend time together

5.      Have a good relationship

6.      Be excited about a future event/thing

7.      Answer the phone

8.      To be unfaithful

9.      Request a date

10.   Appear/arrive

11.   Remembering/thinking about

 

 

 

 

Memory Test

Can you remember the missing prepositions?

A: Have you heard about Kate and Steve?

B: No, what happened?

A: They’ve broken _____.

B: No way! When did this happen??

A: Yesterday. Apparently she’d been cheating _____him for months with a guy from her gym.

B: Seriously?? That’s horrible, tell me more.

A: Well apparently she met this guy in her yoga class and they got ______really well and started hanging _______ after class. Then the guy asked her _______ for a drink and she said yes, but then Sarah saw them in the bar where they went for the date and confronted her about it.

B: Woah! Is that why Kate and Sarah fell ________?

A: Yeah, looking _______it seems obvious now. So then, last week Steve and Kate were supposed to be going to a concert together, Steve had been looking _________ to it for ages. Then on the night of the concert she just didn’t turn up! He was calling her and calling her and she didn’t pick ________, because she was out on another date with the guy from the gym!

B: What a bitch! Steve is such a nice guy.

A: I know he shouldn’t have to put _______with being treated like that. So anyway, he went straight to her house because he was really worried and he caught her coming out of her flat with the guy!

B: Oh my god! It’s like something out of a soap opera!

A: I know…

Practice

Complete the sentences with the correct phrasal verb:

  1. I ____________ with my sister 2 years ago and we’re still not speaking now.
  2. I tried calling my parents but they didn’t ____________.
  3. I think my boyfriend might be ________________ me, he keeps texting some other girl.
  4. I really fancy this girl in my class, I want to _______ her ________, where should I suggest?
  5. There was a crying baby in the seat behind me on the train, I had to _____________ the noise for the whole journey.
  6. I just want to _____________ with my friends this weekend.
  7. I ______________ really well with my Dad’s new girlfriend, she’s really nice.
  8. ________________ on my childhood, I think I had an easy life.
  9. I’m really _________________ my holiday in Greece, I can’t wait!
  10. I was waiting for the bus for 2 hours but it never ________________.
  11. I’m so depressed, my girlfriend _____________ with me last night, she says she doesn’t love me anymore.
Posted in Listening Classes, Video Classes

Video Listening Activity: Joe Lycett – Scamming a Scammer

 

Image result for joe lycett

Image credit: Chambers Management

Just a quick note…

Before you use these materials… We’ve created a new podcast aimed at B2+ level English students and teachers alike. You can listen for free at our SoundCloud page below. You can download teacher’s notes to accompany them from our Facebook page or from this blog. All comments and feedback welcome! Give us a like and a share 😉
https://www.facebook.com/2tspodcast/

This is a listening activity for B2+ students based around a Youtube clip of a Joe Lycett stand-up comedy routine on the subject of scammers. Download the handout, teacher’s notes, full transcript and powerpoint below:

The video:

Teacher’s Notes

Lead-in

Use the first slide of the PowerPoint to pre-teach the UK cultural references students will need for the video:

  1. Class and social status are very important in the UK, this manifests itself in snobbery about supermarkets: Waitrose is a posh expensive supermarket, Aldi is a cheap, lower quality one.
  2. Dorothy Perkins is a relatively cheap high street clothes shop.
  3. Gumtree is a popular website where people list many things: properties for rent, things for sale etc.
  4. A scam is when someone tries to trick someone else out of their money. Common scams include: email scams, social media scams, rental scams, holiday apartment scams (timeshare), fake goods scams (watches, shoes, handbags etc.)
  5. In pairs students compare their own country with the UK, do these scams exist?

Pre-Listening

Students discuss in pairs.

  • You’re going to watch a video of the British comedian Joe Lycett telling a story about how he scammed a scammer via email.
  • What do you think he’s going to do?

Listening 1

Watch the first part of the video (until 01:26) and answer the question:

  1. What is the scam? A property scam, to get a viewing of a flat, potential tenants must transfer money using a site called moneytoindia.eu

Now watch again and answer these questions:

  1. Why does Joe start emailing Gemma? His friend discovers it and realises it is a scam.
  2. What does Gemma say about the flat? That it is in a beautiful area with parking facilities.
  3. What does Gemma ask Joe to do? Send $220 and his home address.

Prediction: What is Joe going to do next?

Listening 2

Watch the next part (until 2:06): Were your predictions correct?

Watch again:

  1. Where did Joe say he was? In Stockholm
  2. Where was he really? In his garden in Birmingham drinking prosecco.
  3. What was Gemma’s excuse for not meeting him? That she was in Berlin on a business trip.

Predict: What do you think Joe will do next?

Listening 3

Watch the next part (until 3:28): Were your predictions correct?

Watch again:

  1. What does the German phrase Joe uses mean? I know this is a scam.
  2. How did Joe make his story more convincing? By including a photo of himself in Berlin from a previous holiday.
  3. How did Joe finish the latest email? By saying he was going to contact the FBI to check Gemma out.

Predict: What do you think will happen next?

Listening 4

Watch the rest of the video: Were your predictions correct?

  1. How did Gemma react to Joe’s email about the FBI? She panicked and sent lots of emails.
  2. How did Joe give Gemma a taste of her own medicine? By asking her to send him $300 to cancel the FBI check.
  3. What did Gemma say in her last email? That she was sorry and would try to live a better life.

Reaction

  1. What did you think of the video?

Decoding – Transcript Work – KEY

Watch the first part of the video again and fill in the gaps in the transcript with what you hear:

Part 1

So this is my favorite thing that’s come as a result of me being a bit weird with somebody online. A friend of mine was looking for somewhere to live in London, which as I’m sure you’re aware is quite expensive, quite difficult increasingly.

 

He found somewhere on gumtree that looked kind of promising did a bit of emailing back and forth and realized pretty quickly this is probably a scam and so he sent all the emails that he’d done already over to me and just did the subject heading: “do your absolute worst”. A girl called Gemma, who was supposedly advertising this property, I sent her a fresh email, I said: “Hello Gemma I’m contacting you regarding the apartment listed on Gumtree, I’m interested in a viewing and wanted to arrange, regards Joe Lycett.” I used my own name on this one.

 

Discussion

  1. Is this a good way to deal with scammers?
  2. Do similar scams exist in your country?
  3. Have you ever been a victim of a scam?
  4. What do you think of this type of comedy? Do you find it funny?
  5. Which other stand-up comedians do you like? Have you ever been to a live show?
  6. Did you enjoy this activity?

Extra Support

If students are struggling to understand the text, try slowing the speed down on youtube, or give them the full transcript as a last resort.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Proficiency

Debating at Higher Levels

Image result for debate

Image credit: The Merkle

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan for higher levels (C1+) designed to help students develop their discourse management and debating skills. Download the handouts below:

Discourse Analysis: Guardian 5-minute Debates

In this section of the lesson students will watch a video from the Guardian 5-minute debate series in order to analyse the ways in which the speakers structure their arguments and the language they use. The topic of the debate is:

  • Should slang words be banned in the classroom?

In the debate the two speakers (Michael Rosen and Lindsay Johns) are specifically talking about London street slang. A school in South London took the decision to ban street slang from the classroom, the banned words are in the picture below:

slang

If you want to look up any of these words you can use the urban dictionary.

Language to pre-teach:

  • code switching – changing from one language, dialect, or way of speaking to another depending on who you’re speaking to.
  • cultural relativism – the theory that beliefs, customs, and morality exist in relation to the particular culture from which they originate and are not absolute. (What’s considered acceptable in one culture might not be in another)
  • Live in an ivory tower – to be out of touch or to not understand the true reality of a situation. To live in a privileged position and therefore not understand the real world.

Have students watch the debate, while they are watching they should answer these questions:

  • Who wins the debate and why?
  • Useful phrase for debating.
  • Ways of structuring an argument.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/video/2013/dec/09/should-schools-ban-slang-video-debate

 

Discuss their thoughts in open class.

Give out the transcript and show students the powerpoint. The powerpoint will take them through some of the structural techniques that Michael Rosen uses such as:

  • Conceding/partially agreeing
  • Hedging/being more indirect
  • Asking and answering your own questions
  • Presenting evidence
  • Being emphatic

A Less Formal Debate – Debate-O-Rama Cats vs. Dogs

Now tell students they’re going to watch a less formal debate, the topic is dogs vs. cats. Split the class into two groups: the dog group and the cat group. Each group has to watch the video and and write down the arguments that the two people give to support their animal, i.e dogs are smelly, cats are selfish.

Students watch the video and takes notes. (Video from 1:15)

Give out the debate language handout. Tell students that they are going to recreate the dogs vs. cats debate but using the language on the handout and some of the structural techniques we saw earlier. Give them 8-10 minutes to structure their arguments. The debate will follow the following structure:

Debate Structure

  1. Opening statement (90 secs)
  2. Cross examination (30 secs)
  3. (repeat)
  4. Rebuttal #1 (30 secs each)
  5. Rebuttal #2 (30 secs each)
  6. Closing Statements (30 secs each)

Award a winner based on the strength of their arguments and how well structured they are. The debate handout has further debate topics for future classes.

Debate Handout:

Language

Opinion

The way I see it,

In my view,

In my opinion, I think that

My view on the matter is…

As far as I understand it,

As far as I’m concerned,

I’d say that…

I personally am (not) a big fan of…

Evidence/Popular Opinion

All the evidence points to/suggests…

I think you’ll find that…

If you ask anyone,…

The vast majority of people would say…

We have no evidence that…

9 out of 10 people would say that…

There’s no evidence to support that whatsoever.

 

Main arguments

I support/oppose the notion that… for the following reason: Firstly,…

The key issue here is…

The real question/dilemma is… (question form)

The critical/crucial factor here is…

It’s vital to remember that…

By far and away the most important point is…

Adding points

What’s more,

On top of that,

Besides that,

Apart from that,

Another thing to consider is…

We shouldn’t forget that…

It’s also worth bearing in mind that…

Rebutting/Cross-Examining

So what you’re saying is…

So let me get this straight…

Correct me if I’m wrong but…

You’re not seriously suggesting that…, are you?

You can’t possibly be saying that…

I feel I must also disagree with you about…

Conceding/Partially Agreeing

I admit that your point about… may be true, however,

I take/see your point about…

Let’s say I agree with the idea of…

I hear what you’re saying, but…

Conclusion

In a nutshell,

So to sum up,

So in summary,

So to wrap up,

So as I was saying,

All in all,

Debate Structure

1.       Opening statement (90 secs)

2.       Cross examination (30 secs)

3.       (repeat)

4.       Rebuttal #1 (30 secs each)

5.       Rebuttal #2 (30 secs each)

6.       Closing Statements (30 secs each)

Low-stakes Debate Topics

(Credit to debatable youtube page)

Dogs vs. Cats Superpowers:

Flight vs. Invisibility

Pancakes vs. Waffles Hot dogs vs. Hamburgers French fries vs. Patatas bravas
Beer vs. Wine Whisky vs. Rum Are ghost real? Does the internet do more good or bad? Camping, good or bad?
Taylor Swift vs. Ariana Grande Soup vs. salad Pasta vs. pizza Is it ok to pee in the shower? Tea vs. Coffee
Coke vs. Pepsi Burger King vs. MacDonald’s Chinese food vs. Japanese food City vs. Country Morning Showers vs. Night Showers
Posted in Conversation Classes

Micro Presentations/Elevator Pitches

Image result for elevator pitch

This is a lesson plan designed for higher levels (B2+) to help students develop their presentation skills. Download the phrase sheet and topic cards below:

Micro Presentations

Preparation

Prepare a 2-minute example presentation on a topic close to your heart using as much of the language from the handout as you can.

Procedure

Tell students that you’re going to give a presentation, tell them that they need to make notes on: the main idea, supporting ideas and impressive language.

Give your presentation and then give students a minute to compare their notes and share in open class.

Give out the handout and have students look for the expressions that they heard, clear up any doubts students may have about the language.

Students then choose presentation topics for each other. Give them 2-3 minutes to prepare their presentations. Pairs then join together to make groups of 4. Each member gives their presentation, teacher monitors and takes notes for feedback. Other members of the group note how many expressions their classmates use in their presentations and give them constructive feedback.

Homework: Students prep another micro-presentation for the next class. Topics could include: a hobby, a product sales pitch, a persuasive argument.

Handout

Language

Starting

The thing about… is…

What I find most interesting about… is…

Abbreviating

In a nutshell,

To cut a long story short…

Sequencers

First of all,

To begin with,

First and foremost,

Secondly,

Finally,

Last but not least,

And to top it all off,

Addition

What’s more,

On top of that,

Besides that,

Apart from that,

Another thing to consider is…

We shouldn’t forget that…

It’s also worth bearing in mind that…

Adding Emphasis

(I don’t agree with him) at all.

Without a shadow of a doubt.

By far the best/worst/biggest etc. is…

The park near my house is especially/particularly beautiful

Fillers

You know?

So,

I mean,

In other words

How can I put this?

Contrast/Comparison

On the one hand, on the other hand,

But actually…

But in actual fact…

However

Whereas/while

Conclusion

So to sum up,

So in summary,

So to wrap up,

So as I was saying,

All in all,

Topics

Choose a topic for your partner from the list below, you have two minutes to make notes before giving a two minute micro-presentation.

Tourism in your city How we can save the planet Modern cinema The worst thing about being a teenager The best thing about being a teenager
The most important invention ever Ways to live a healthier life Consumerism The effect the internet is having on society The world in 20 years’ time
The importance of fashion nowadays Sexism in the media Differences between your life and your parents The ideal holiday The most useful subjects at school
Modern music Different pressures that girls and boys face Dating nowadays The most useful thing you own The best way to study for exams
The best place to go on a first date The perfect weekend Smartphone addiction Zoos and pets The best thing to study at uni

 

Posted in Conversation Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Love is in the air: Love and Relationship Expressions

Resultat d'imatges de valentine's day

Image credit: Android Authority

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan I designed for Valentine’s day so it’s a bit late but who’s to say you can’t learn about love any day of the year? Download the teacher’s notes and student handout below:

love-story-teachers-notes

valentines-day-lp

A Love Story  – Teacher’s notes

Preparation

Print out enough copies of the students’ handout for each student and enough copies of the pictures for students to work in pairs.

Step 1: Guess the Story

Give each pair a set of pictures and have them guess the order of the story. Tell them “this is the story of a relationship, you have to put it in order” you might want to put some simple sequencers on the board: “First, and then, afterwards, in the end etc.”

When they’ve finished choose a pair to tell their version of the story to the class, ask other groups if their version is different.

Step 2: Listening

Tell students that you are going to tell them the real story and they have to listen and put their pictures in the correct order. Read the story.

Step 3: Reading

Give out the handout but fold the paper so student cannot see the language focus exercise. Students read the story and check that they have the pictures in the correct order.

Step 4: Meaning from context

Have students try to guess the meaning of the expressions in bold from the context in pairs. Then go through the meanings on the board:

  • love at first sight – fall in love when you first see someone
  • check sb out – look at someone to decide if you’re attracted to them
  • pluck up the courage – be brave
  • chat sb up – flirt with sb
  • ask sb out – arrange a date
  • have a lot in common – have shared interests
  • be made for each other – a perfect match/couple
  • fall head over heels in love – fall madly/deeply in love with sb
  • go out with sb – be in a relationship
  • have a row – argue
  • have a thing for sb – be attracted to sb
  • break/split up – end a relationship
  • get back together with sb – repair a relationship
  • get down on one knee – kneel on one knee
  • pop the question – propose to sb
  • tie the knot – get married
  • be in the doghouse with sb – your partner is angry at you
  • worried sick – v. worried
  • on the rocks – in trouble, danger

Step 5: Language focus

Students turn the handout over and try to complete the expressions from memory; they mustn’t look at the text.

Students then unfold the paper to check their answers.

Step 6: Retell the story

Students turn the handout over and attempt to retell the story, using all the expressions, using the pictures as prompts.

Step 7: Personalising

If appropriate, students describe a real relationship from their lives: How did you meet your wife/husband? etc.

The Story

Work with a partner, look at the words in bold, what do you think they mean?

Tony and Tina met at a party, it was love at first sight, they were both checking each other out for a while until Tony plucked up the courage to go and talk to Tina. He chatted her up for a while then at the end of the night he asked for her number. He called her the next day to ask her out and she said yes. They went out for coffee and discovered that they had so much in common, they were made for each other! They fell head over heels in love and started going out with each other straightaway. One night, they had a huge row because Tony thought that Tina had a thing for his best friend. It was a horrible argument and they broke up but it wasn’t long before they got back together because they just couldn’t stay apart.

2 years later Tony got down on one knee and popped the question to Tina, she said yes and 6 months later they tied the knot in front of their friends and family. A few years later Tony was in the doghouse for a few weeks because he got really drunk with his friends and didn’t come home, Tina was worried sick. For a few days it looked like the marriage might be on the rocks but she forgave him eventually and they both lived happily ever after.

Language Focus

Over the story and try to remember the missing words from the expressions.

  1. It was love ____ first sight
  2. They were both c_________ each other out
  3. He chatted her _____ for a while.
  4. He called her the next day to _____ her out.
  5. They had so much in ______________.
  6. They were made ______ each ___________.
  7. They fell __________ over _________ in love.
  8. Tina had a _____________for his best friend.
  9. They ____________ up but it wasn’t long before they got ___________ together
  10. 2 years later Tony got __________ on one knee and ____________ the question to Tina,
  11. 6 months later they _________ the knot in front of their friends and family.
  12. Tony was in the ____________ for a few weeks
  13. Tina was worried ______________.
  14. It looked like the marriage might be on the _____________ but she forgave him.
Posted in Conversation Classes

Tis the Season to be Jolly: Christmas Expressions

Image result for christmas

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a Christmas lesson plan for higher levels (C1+) in which students learn some Christmassy expressions then practice them in a crossword and discussion.

tis-the-season-to-be-jolly-teachers-notes

tis-the-season-to-be-jolly – Student handout

christmas-expressions-crossword-key

christmas-expressions-crossword

Teacher’s notes

Matching

Match the expressions in bold with their definitions.

  1. I really overindulged last Christmas, I felt awful on Boxing Day. (C)
  2. So this year I’ve decided to pace myself, no booze till lunchtime! (P)
  3. Oooo, I’m feeling a bit tipsy after all that champagne. (B)
  4. I’ll put some Christmas carols on to get in the festive spirit. (D)
  5. Christmas is a time to get together with your nearest and dearest. (O)
  6. I don’t get on with my uncle but we always manage to bury the hatchet at Christmas. (E)
  7. Christmas just isn’t Christmas without turkey with all the trimmings. (J)
  8. (opening a present) Another horrible jumper from Auntie Janet, oh well, it’s the thought that counts. (M)
  9. I’m dreaming of a white Christmas. (H)
  10. Son: “Come on Granddad! It’s Christmas, don’t be such a scrooge!” (I)

Granddad: “Bah Humbug! I hate Christmas.” (K)

  1. My mum always spends hours slaving over a hot stove on Christmas day. (F)
  2. We’re doing a secret Santa in the office and I’ve drawn the boss! I don’t know what to get her. (G)
  3. (opening a present) Oh wow, it’s lovely, you shouldn’t have! (L)
  4. Christmas is really important in my family, we always pull out all the stops, decorations, presents, tonnes of food, you name it! (N)
  5. Children always get showered with gifts at Christmas. (A)
a.       Receive a lot of presents

b.      A little drunk

c.       Eat and drink too much

d.      To start feeling Christmassy

e.      To forget old arguments and be friendly

f.        To spend a long time cooking

g.       “amigo invisible” each person buys a present for another person in the group.

h.      A snowy Christmas

i.         A mean person who doesn’t like Christmas

j.        The traditional things that go with something

k.       People who don’t like Christmas say this.

l.         What you say when you receive a present

m.    What you say when you receive a bad present

n.      Make a big effort to achieve something

o.      Your family

p.      To eat and drink slowly and carefully.

Reflection

This section is designed to help students process the vocabulary and aid acquisition.

Look again at the expressions.

  1. Which ones do you like?
  2. Which ones do you think you will remember?
  3. Which ones do you think you will forget?
  4. Can you think of an equivalent expression in your language?
  5. Think of a way to remember each expression with your partner, you could relate it to a sound, a word in your language or maybe an image.

Crossword

Give out the crossword handout and have them complete it in pairs without looking at the original handout. The first group to finish is the winner.

Conversation

Students ask and answer the questions in pairs. Then feedback in open class.

Ask and answer the questions with your partner:

  1. Have you ever experienced a white Christmas? Where were you? What was it like?
  2. Do you try to pace yourself over the festive season? Or do you tend to overindulge?
  3. Who slaves over a hot stove in your family?
  4. Have you ever done a secret Santa? Who with? Who did you draw? Did you like the experience?
  5. Does your family pull out all the stops at Christmas?
  6. Do you get on with everyone in your family? Do you have to bury the hatchet with any family members at Christmas?
  7. Does anyone in your family give bad presents? What do you say when you receive a bad present? Have you ever taken a present back to the shop?
  8. What do you do to get into the Christmas spirit? Do you ever find it difficult?
  9. Are there any scrooges in your family?
  10. What’s the traditional Christmas dish in your culture? What are all the trimmings that go with it?
  11. Who gets showered with gifts in your household?
  12. Do you normally get tipsy at Christmas?
  13. How important is it to get together with your nearest and dearest at Christmas? Who do you normally spend Christmas with?
  14. How important is giving and receiving presents in your family? Is it really just the thought that counts?

 

Posted in Conversation Classes, songs

Song: Bob Dylan – It’s All Over Now Baby Blue

Resultat d'imatges de bob dylan

Image credit: http://thebluesmobile.com/c-c-rider-venerates-bob-dylan/

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

bob-dylan-baby-blue – Handout

I’ve been quiet for a few weeks due to my exciting and terrifying new job in teacher training! However, I’ve made a resolution to work on more posts for the blog over the coming weeks.

Some of my C2 adults expressed an interest in listening to some Bob Dylan songs after reading about his recent Nobel Prize win. So I’ve prepared this short lesson plan with that in mind. Students start by reading and analysing the lyrics to the song as if it were a poem and not knowing the author or that it is in fact a folk song.

Procedure

Students read the lyrics as if it were a poem and answer the 3 questions with their partner:

  1. What do you think the poem is about?
  2. Who do you think the poet is talking to?
  3. What might have happened to the person?

Encourage use of language of speculation (could/might/may have etc.)

My DELTA tutor told me that removing words from song lyrics was a horrible crime, “butchering the text” is how he described it, so I’ve decided to keep the text whole. However, feel free to remove some words and have students complete them while listening. One idea would be to remove a part of each rhyming couplet and have students guess at words that would fit, before listening to confirm.

Have students discuss and share their interpretation of the song and then show them the three comments which contain different ways in which the song could be interpreted. Have them compare their own thoughts with those from the comments.

Song

Handout

Read the poem and answer the questions with your partner:

  1. What do you think the poem is about?
  2. Who do you think the poet is talking to?
  3. What might have happened to the person?

You must leave now
Take what you need you think will last
But whatever you wish to keep
You’d better grab it fast

Yonder stands your orphan with his gun
Crying like a fire in the sun
Look out, the saints are coming through
And it’s all over now, baby blue

The highway is for gamblers
Better use your sense
Take what you have gathered
From coincidence

The empty handed painter from your streets
Is drawing crazy patterns on your sheets
The sky, too, is folding over you
And it’s all over now, baby blue

All your seasick sailors
They’re all rowing home
All your reindeer armies
They’re all going home

The lover, who just walked out your door
Has taken all his blankets from the floor
The carpet too, is moving under you
And it’s all over now, baby blue

Leave your stepping stones behind
Now, something calls for you
Forget the dead you’ve left
They will not follow you

The vagabond who’s rapping at your door
Is standing in the clothes that you once wore
Strike another match, go start anew
And it’s all over now, baby blue

 

Comment 1

“I think there is one line here that is misunderstood, and it is pretty nifty.

When Dylan is wrapping up the song, and he’s telling the woman to leave the dead and to start over, he says the line “strike another match girl, start anew” I really think it’s “girl” and not “go”– if you listen to the song it could go either way, but just here me out.

I think this line reference to Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Match Girl,” in which a vagabond child selling matches sees visions of warm, safe places she will never be a part of, and each time she lights a match she sees a new scene, a new life. At the end of the fairy-tale, she lights her final match and dies… but in Dylan’s case, when he says to “light another match, girl” he’s not talking about a REAL death, he’s talking about a change. Like the girl in the story, the subject of this song is down-and-out, she thought she was in a safe place, but she’s not– the carpet’s being pulled right out from under her. She needs to figuratively “light a match” and see the possibilities for a new life, and she needs to accept, even embrace this change and join the vagabond outside to start a new journey.”

Comment 2

“I think this song is about accepting changes in life. this was the last song Dylan played at the infamous Newport concert (where he was booed for going electric) and the last song on Bringing It All Back Home (his last album that was mostly acoustic) I think he is just saying it is time for him to move on creatively”

Comment 3

“Could it be that Dylan is Baby Blue? He has to stop listening to everyone’s expectations as to where he should go. He must leave those stepping stones and go his own way even though there may be a price to pay.”