Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber, 2019
This song is about being anxious at a party, so an appropriate follow-up topic is making small talk with strangers in social settings like parties.
Choose from the following activities, for levels intermediate and up:
- Listening Listen to the audio-only version of the song without the lyrics. Listen for the answers to these three questions: 1. Where is the singer? 2. How does he feel? 3. Who or what makes him feel better? (Caution: Some language in the song might make it inappropriate for your class. Previewing the lyrics below is advised.) (Note: There are two audio-only versions of this song on YouTube. Sheeran’s simple acoustic version is also recommended.)
- Listening Listen to the audio-only version of the song again while reading the annotated lyrics below. Lyrics intended for nonprofit educational purposes only.
- Listening Listen to the song while watching the official lyric video.
- Post-Listening Notice the many verbs in the simple form in the song. The worksheet below is a gap-fill exercise that targets these verbs followed by an interactive activity in which students use the verbs.
- Post-Listening Practice making small talk at a party where you don’t know the other guests. First, set the stage for the activity by imagining: 1. who is having the party (Students decide on the name of the fictitious host.) 2. where the party is (for example, a house, an apartment, the beach) 3. what food is being served. Then students mingle, striking up conversations with random “strangers” at the party. (You could play background party music.) They break the ice with one of these three questions: 1. “How do you know _____?” (the host of the party) 2. “Nice house/apartment, isn’t it?” 3. “Have you tried the cake/spicy dip/punch, etc.? It’s really good.” After a few minutes, signal that it’s time to move on to a new partner.
- Post-Listening Watch a video (made by two teachers from Canada) about topics that are appropriate and inappropriate for small talk in many English-speaking cultures.
- Post-Listening Talk with a partner or in a small group about this topic: Describe the best party you have ever been to. Why was it the best?