I love using different kinds of texts in my lessons, I have mentioned poetry and literature before – so now I will share with you a lesson plan I made about five years ago, using the song Clocks by British band Coldplay (which is also one of my favourite songs by them).
People who know me, know that they are one of my favourite bands – I love their music and the lyrics are great! (As a devoted fan I have all their CDs, but have not been to one of their concerts…yet!)
The students I have used this song with so far have really enjoyed it. (Depending on the group of students I may or may not use all of the activities. I usually use it for upper-intermediate or advanced students.)
Here are the lyrics:
Clocks by Coldplay
(from their CD A Rush of Blood to the Head)
The lights go out and I can’t be saved
Tides that I tried to swim against
Have brought me down upon my knees
Oh I beg, I beg and plead singing
Come out of things unsaid
Shoot an apple off my head
And a trouble that can’t be named
A tiger’s waiting to be tamed singing
Confusion never stops
Closing walls and ticking clocks
Gonna come back and take you home
I could not stop that you now know singing
Come out upon my seas
Cursed missed opportunities
Am I a part of the cure,
Or am I part of the disease? Singing
You are (x6)
And nothing else compares (x3)
Home, home where I wanted to go (x4)
These are the tasks I used with them and usually one thing leads to another and might not even be on the lesson plan, which makes things even more interesting! It is fantastic to see what the students come up with every time. As with poetry, each person perceives things differently – it gives rise to amazing discussions and excellent language circulates in the classroom!
1. What is the general feeling of the song, when you look at the lyrics? Does anything change when you listen to the music? (This can be a pre- and post- listening task.)
2. Why do you think the lights go out and he is swimming against tides? What do these symbolise?
3. Who do you think the you is when the singer says you are? Use your imagination to think what that person is and why the singer does not complete the sentence.
4. Explain these words and phrases from their context and/or find synonyms. (As a teacher, I love it when we play with vocabulary!)
a. to bring somebody down
b. to plead
c. to tame
5. What do these words symbolise in your opinion, and what feelings do they render?
a. the tiger
b. the apple
c. closing walls
d. ticking clocks
e. my seas
6. What do you think the singer means with …Am I a part of the cure, or am I part of the disease? (Here they can point out things like word contrast, allegory and so on.)
The things you can do in class with songs are countless. If you have any other ideas to add, please feel free to do so!
Here are the lesson ideas in a Word document: Clocks by Coldplay. Let me know how they worked, should you use them!
Enjoy the song!