- Keywords: music, creative writing, collaboration, travel
- Learner English level: pre-intermediate and above
- Preparation time: 5-10 minutes
- Activity time: 60-90 minutes
- Materials: white/blackboard; worksheets; mobile devices
Numerous English language textbooks on the market have units that focus on travel and tourism. Incorporating travel songs into a lesson will not only supplement ‘ready-to-go’ textbook activities, but also provide English language learners with a window into another culture as well as an enjoyable way to improve their listening and pronunciation abilities. Added to that, students can enhance their writing skills by shaping words into creative new forms. The first part of the lesson requires learners to watch a music video and examine the lyrics of a popular travel song. Next, the students pair up to brainstorm ideas and research information about a tourist destination of their choice. The duos use this knowledge to write an original travel song. Lastly, students make a number of short interactive presentations to other teams.
Step 1: Reconfigure the desks into small groups so that learners will have ample room to walk around the classroom unobstructed.
Step 2: Print Appendices A-C.
Step 3: Write a verse and chorus of a simple song, such as ‘Row, row, row, your boat’, on the board.
Step 1: Divide the class into small groups. Write a chart on the board to list words in the following categories: Types of transportation, Travel objects, Tourist attractions, Accommodations. Discuss the categories and provide an example for each one.
Step 2: Give the groups 5 minutes to brainstorm ideas. Each team must write down two items for each category. Elicit more ideas and provide feedback.
Step 3: Write the following words on the board: topic, title, chorus, verse, and words that rhyme. Discuss the meanings and provide examples.
Step 4: Get students to read the lyrics you wrote on the board before the lesson. Give the groups 5 minutes to identify the aforementioned items.
Step 5: Provide corrective feedback and answer any questions.
Step 6: Distribute Appendix A. Tell the groups that that they will have 15 minutes to watch a music video on their mobile devices, fill in the missing lyrics, and answer questions on the handout.
Step 7: Elicit answers and review difficult vocabulary (e.g., clouded mind).
Step 8: Divide the class into pairs. Instruct students that they must research information about a tourist destination of their choice. Afterwards, they will write a collaborative song about that place. This activity works best if the duos choose different locations.
Step 9: Distribute Appendix B. Highlight the instructions and answer any questions.
Step 10: Inform learners that they have 15 minutes to complete the task. Remind them that that each verse must focus on the following: types of transportation, travel objects, tourist attractions, and accommodations. Provide an example (e.g., Bangkok, tuk tuk, backpack, Grand Palace, youth hostel).
Step 11: After the time is up, distribute the song template (Appendix C). Instruct the partners that they have 20 minutes to write an original song that has a title, chorus, and four verses.
Step 12: When the time is up, get the duos to team up with another pair. They will have 3 minutes to share the songs, discuss their research findings, and answer questions. Each pair will make a predetermined number of presentations and listen to their classmates’ presentations. Before the sharing session commences, the teacher will model a presentation with a student volunteer.
This activity can inject some spice into a typical travel unit as well as enhance the learners’ creative thinking and communicative competencies.
Mumford and Sons. (2013, August 3). Hopeless wanderer [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rId6PKlDXeU
The appendix for this article is available below.