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SONG COLLECTIONS

Check out the activities for using songs to teach reading

Manifest

Andrew Bird

Questions

1) Find a word that means 'a good friend'.

2) Find a word that means 'a big fuss'.

3) In the lyrics it says, 'what's on the horizon' - what is the horizon?

4) Find a phrase that means 'something goes by you very fast'. 

5) In the lyrics, the singer mentions the Earth a lot and 'a great disaster' - what might he be singing about?

Click here for a link to the lyrics. 

I'm Done With The World (And It's Done With Me)

The Foals

Questions

1) What does it mean if you are 'done' with something?

2) Find and copy a phrase that means 'quiet roads'.

3) How does the singer describe the environment? Is it in a good way or a bad way?

4) Why do you think that the singer says '[the world] is done with me'?

5) Find 3 nouns. Remember, these are naming worlds.

Click here for a link to the lyrics.

Everyday Life

Coldplay

Questions

1) Which line of the song tells us that sometimes people aren't truthful?

2) What does the singer say we should do when things get bad?

3) Which word means someone that you really don't like?

4) What is a person's 'everyday life'?

5) Can you find three verbs in the lyrics? Remember, these are doing words!

Click here for a link to the lyrics.

Wild Things

Alessia Cara

Questions

1) Find and copy one word that means 'someone who breaks the rules'.

2) The song mentions some objects that break easily - what are they?

3) Find as many verbs as you can - remember that these are doing words.

4) Find three adjectives - these are describing words.

5) What do you think the 'in-crowd' is?

Click here for a link to the lyrics.

Underdog

Alicia Keys

Questions

Answer these 5 questions!

1) Where did the woman and the homeless man meet?

2) Which line of the song tells us that the homeless man was thinking about something that made him happy?

3) What does it mean if you are 'chasing your dream'?

4) Find 5 nouns in the song.

5) Find a phrase that means 'telling someone what you really think'.

Click here for a link to the lyrics.

Someone You Loved

Lewis Capaldi

Lewis Capaldi recently revealed at the Brit Awards that this song was written about his nan who had recently passed away - so this is a potentially a nice prompt for sensative discussion around similar subjects.

Questions for discussion

1) What do you think is meant by the phrase 'going under'? (1 mark)

2) Find and copy one word that means 'to make something better'. (1 mark)

3) What is the theme of this song? Use evidence to support your answer. (2 marks)

4) Find and copy one word that the author has used to mean the same as 'turns/becomes/transforms'. (1 mark)

5) 'but it's never the same' - why did the author include this phrase?

6) How does the author feel in this song? Use evidence to support your answer. (3 marks)

Click here for a link to the lyrics.

Dance Monkey

Tones and I

Just a quick one - as a starter, get the children to identify the verbs in the song. Elicit the idea that they are pretty boring: cry, dance, see, make.

Get the children to replace the verbs with better words - and see what ideas they come up with. Have fun with it!

You can find a link to the lyrics here.

A Real Hero

College

Here are a few quick ideas for using this great song by College. This lyrics are a little tricky, so it's probably a better fit for Year 6s.

1) There are a range of sounds going on in this song, so get the children to pick them out and use adjectives to describe them. This is something they could do as a starter in pairs.

2) The big question - what is the theme of this song? Use evidence to support your answer (3 marks)

3) Questions for discussion

A) What does the author mean by 'emotionally complex'? (1 mark)

B) Why do you think this song is called 'A Real Hero'? Use evidence to support your answer (2 marks)

C) Find and copy one word which means 'To be saved from something'? (1 mark)

D) How many people were rescued? (1 mark)

E) How does the author feel about the pilot? Give evidence to support your answer (2 marks)

F) What does it mean if your 'back is against the wall'? (1 mark)

Click here for a link to the lyrics.

Power Over Me

Dermot Kennedy

Dermot Kennedy's tune 'Power Over Me' is a nice focus for discussion for Year 6s/KS3 children and here are just a few ways that you can use it.

 

1) The big question - get the children to work in pairs or small groups to answer this question with 2 points, and two pieces of evidence: what is the theme of this song? (3 marks)

 

2) You can use this song as a nice stimulus for recount writing. First, analyse the lyrics with the children and try to elicit the idea that this song is about coming to terms with things and move forward. Then get the children to write about a time they overcame a fear/obstacle that they were facing. Encourage them to use powerful and varied vocabulary.

 

3) Print off the lyrics and get the children to make some nice blackout poetry - if you haven't done it before, think of the words you want to keep and draw over the ones you don't want to keep (there are plenty of examples online).

Click here for a link to the lyrics.

 

Time to Rebel

The 1975 ft. Greta Thunberg

This track by the 1975 ft. Greta Thunberg is a great prompt for dicussing climate change and the crisis taking place at the moment.

Firstly, you could get the children to write a similar letter (possibly addressed to the UN) explaining the problem of climate change (and possibly plastic pollution). They could then urge the reader to take action. This would be a useful exercise for writing emotively.

Questions:

1) Find and copy one word that means 'recognise and accept'. (1 mark)

2) Find and copy a group of words that means 'humans' (1 mark)

3) What is the purpose of this letter? Use evidence to support your answer. (2 marks)

4) 'We still have everything in our own hands' - why has the author chosen to include this prhase? (1 mark)

5) Write a synonym for the word 'complex'. (1 mark).

6) According to the text, how much oil is used every day? (1 mark)

7) Summarise why this issue is important? (1 mark)

Click here for a link to the lyrics.

Grown Up

Scouting for Girls

This is a brilliant song for discussing change with children and the theme of growing old. Below are a few ways you could use this song to inspire writing in your class.  

1) Get the children to take the role of the singer. The children could write a diary entry from his perspective explaining why he doesn't want to be a grown, and would like to be younger once more. If doing this, try to think about what has triggered this thinking in the singer? What event(s) has(have) made him nostalgic for the past? 

2) Get the singer to write a letter to himself when he was a child. Explain what he is going to miss when he gets older, and what he needs to appreciate now. 

Questions: 

1) Find and copy a group of words that show the singer looks older. (1 mark) 

2) Find and copy one word that means ‘somewhere where you go away to get away from things’. (1 mark) 

3) ‘Just a boy in the body of a man’ - What does this phrase suggest about the way the singer feels? (1 mark) 

4) Where did the singer spend his childhood? (1 mark) 

5) Give a synonym for the phrase ‘grown up’. (1 mark) 

6) Find and copy a group of words that means ‘at the beginning’. (1 mark) 

7) ‘This song is about change’ - do you agree with this statement? Give evidence for your answer. (3 marks) 

Click here for a link to the lyrics.

Preach

John Legend

Questions

Again, quite a political one but nevertheless it's a nice starting point for discussing how people feel about today's issues. It's more applicable for Y6 as some of the questions are a little tricky (see question 3).

1) Find and copy one word that means 'powerless'. (1 mark)

2) What does the phrase 'history's repeating' suggest? (1 mark)

3) 'Turnin' off my phone just to get out of bed'. How might turning off his phone help him to get out of bed? (1 mark)

4) Why does the singer say that he 'can't just preach'? What does he think he should do instead? (2 marks).

5) How does the singer feel about the world? Use evidence to support your answer. (3 marks)

6) Find and copy one word that means 'awful'. (1 mark)

7) Find and copy one word that means 'when you can't feel anything'. (1 mark)

Click here for a link to the lyrics.

Land of the Free

The Killers

Activities

This song is a really useful focus point for talking about the themes of injustice and racisim. It's quite political and some of the ideas in it are high level, so it's probably better suited for just Y6.

It would also probably be a good idea to explain some of the cultural references in the lyrics, 'land of the free' for example.

Here are some questions to go with the song:

1) Find a synonym, in the text, for the word 'incarceration'. (1 mark)

2) Does the singer believe that he lives in the 'Land of the Free'? Use evidence to support your answer (3 marks)

3) Who are the 'People who just want the same things we do'? Use evidence to show how you know (2 marks)

4) Explain why the author has chosen to include the phrase 'I'm standing, crying'. (1 mark)

5) If you 'grow up looking over both your shoulders', what does that suggest about the way you feel? (1 mark)

6) Which people mentioned in the song lyrics are not orginally from 'The Land of the Free'? (1 mark)

7) What does the singer think is wrong in the 'Land of the Free'? Use evidence to support your answer (3 marks).

Extension: you could also use this song to get children thinking about injustices that they would like to correct. This could lend itself to some really nice persuasive writing.

Click here for a link to the lyrics.

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