Zen Christmas

This year I decided to repeat this activity I had done three years ago (explained here). This is what I wrote in that article:

Some days later I came accross this beautiful article thanks to my friend Laura Martín. The article appeared in the blog Zen Habits and talks about how much money we spend on Christmas presents and gives advice on how we could share costless things with our beloved ones. And I thought, why don’t we have our zen presents in class? And so this activity was born.
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Natasha Bedingfield: Unwritten

Whenever I hear this song I say to myself, I have to do something with it, after a lot of thinking, here is the activity I designed:

Time: 30 minutes

Skills: Listening, reading, speaking, writing. Students are encouraged to listen to a song, read its lyrcis, write and speak about it. They are forced to think in English and speak about feelings.

Level: Upper-Intermediate to Advanced

Aim: To analyse the meaning of the song and to write some creative lines.

Contents: Expressing your opinion, talking about feelings.

Procedure:

  • Students watch the videoclip of the song Unwritten, by Natasha Bedingfield. If we have time, we can share with them what the Wikipedia says about this song.
  • We tell them to pay attention to what happens there and at the end we ask them what they saw. If they don’t know what to say, we can tell them to say what they think that happened in the lift, and where it takes everyone.
  • Then we give them the lyrics and ask them the meaning of the song. If they don’t know what to say, we can use the ideas given at Blurt It. They have to write a few lines about it and then share them with their classmates.
  • When they’re finished, we’ll point out these lines taken from the song:

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in

  • We share with them this idea: It’s clear that feeling the rain on your skin is something that can make you feel alive.
  • Now it’s their time to share with the whole class those things that make them feel alive.

These kinds of activities are sometimes risky, so we have to think it twice before using it with a group that’s not cohesive enough or with people afraid to talk about feelings.

Materials:

These notes contain some extracts from the website Blurt It and the lyrics to the song, together with the questions students have to answer.

Zen Christmas

Yes, Christmas is gone, thank goodness. But as I don’t want to forget this activity I’m posting it here.

My students’ task for their Christmas holidays was writing an opinion essay: ‘Christmas: a time to share time with your family or a time to waste money?’. I taught how to write an opinion essay and opened a discussion in class so as to give them ideas.

Some days later I came accross this beautiful article thanks to my friend Laura Martín. The article appeared in the blog Zen Habits and talks about how much money we spend on Christmas presents and gives advice on how we could share costless things with our beloved ones. And I thought, why don’t we have our zen presents in class? And this activity was born. Continue reading