Annie’s Song by John Denver

This song might not be the latest One Direction but I’ve never known it not evoke some mush in students of any age and then prompt some nice creative writing and student generated language.  It works with Pre Int and higher and practises speaking, listening and creative writing without much emphasis on vocab and grammar. Deliberately. Songs are about message and story.

Preparation

  1. Copy the lines below, in big writing, onto card of similar colour (or print the song lines sheet if you’re pushed for stationery). The colours are essential to stimulate imaginations in the exercise to follow. Have enough so your class can be divided into small groups, each with a set.
  2. Print the full song lyrics here.

Like a night in the forest

Like the mountains in springtime

Like a walk in the rain

Like a storm in the desert

Like a sleepy blue ocean

Lesson

  1. Ask the class if the words “I love you” can lose their meaning from being said so often and elicit other ways to express the feeling. This does not need to be serious and do not dwell on it. (5 min)
  2. Elicit the 5 senses, sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell onto the board. (2min)
  3. Put students in small groups, preferably 5, and give each student a card which they must not show to anyone else. Make everyone shut their eyes and tell them they must imagine themselves in the place on their card. Think about what they can see, smell, hear, etc and how they feel in the situation. After 2 minutes, of silent thought, allow them to use a dictionary to look up any words they thought about but do not know in English. (5-10 min)
  4. Still keeping their card hidden, students take it in turns to describe what they see, hear, feel etc to the rest of their group who must guess what the situation is. The exact words on the card are not necessary. (10min)
  5. Whole class feedback, ask which situations seem positive e.g. comfortable, happy feelings are inspired and which negative e.g. dangerous or scary. There is no correct answer but encourage students to justify themselves. (5 min)
  6. Write the line “You fill up my senses” on the board and ask what it might mean. See if anyone relates it back to “I love you”. (2 min)
  7. Say they are going to listen to a song John Denver wrote for his wife. Play it once and get students simply to point to the coloured cards as they hear each one mentioned. (3 min)
  8. Board the verse below with some gaps as suggested or give them a copy of the whole song with this verse gapped. Let them listen again and note down what they think is in the gaps. Check answers. (5 min)

Let me give my ___________ to you

Let me drown in your _________

Let me die in your ________

Let me __________ beside you

Let me always ___________

Come let me ____________

Come _________________

  1. Discuss student’s reaction to the song. E.g. is it romantic or soppy etc? How would they feel if someone wrote this for them? (5 min)
  2. In pairs, students write their own verse coming up with alternative situations to the ones on the cards. (10-15)
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