Making the Band
02 Dec 2003
Recently my co-worker Greg (of Sinobling) developed a really fun activity for English class. A lot of the other teachers here (including me) have tried out his activity as well, and it has gotten top scores all around. It’s been weeks and he hasn’t blogged about it. I guess maybe describing an TEFL activity doesn’t lend itself well to Greg’s awesome powers of humor.
The concept is that you break the class into groups of 4-6 people each and give them the task of creating an imaginary band. Clearly, there’s plenty of “pre” work to be done. What is a band? What types of music can bands play? What instruments can be played in a band? After you discuss these questions with the class and make sure they understand what’s going on, you tell them to come up with some of the following (be selective depending on how much time you allot to the activity):
- Band name
- Genre of music
- Band member names (these should not be the same as their English names — this is the time to come up with creative English names!)
- Musical instrument that each member plays (don’t forget vocals!)
- Story of the unusual circumstances under which the band met
- Name of the band’s first smash hit
- Lyrics to the hit song (if you have a lot of time to kill…)
This activity absolutely works magic on the students. I can’t explain it, but it seems to awaken deeply buried creative juices in the students’ cute passive little skulls. The activity inspired some of my students to write lyrics when I didn’t even ask them to, and to even voluntarily perform their songs in front of the class! Greg says he got almost all his groups to perform by telling them that any group that performed got him as a backup dancer. Cool trick.
Greg’s favorite band name out of all his classes was Milk Cow Goes to Australia. I gotta admit, it really works. Carl‘s favorite hit song out of all his classes was Love me, love my dog.
The following are some of my classes’ results:
the hit song Transform.
11pm is a light music band.
Playing violin, piano, lute, and bagpipes, their hit song is
Dreaming of Tiger Spring at Hupao Valley.
The industrial band Noisy is:
Shadow on guitar, Blue on bass, Kid on drums,
Dust on vocals, and Ghost on the keyboard.
Their hit song is Waste Gas.
Seasoned Band is a rock band
comprised of Curry on bass, Mustard on drums,
Vinegar on vocals, and Ginger on the keyboard.
Their hit song is The feeling of sweet and sour.
Super Chemical Girls is a hip hop band
comprised of Oxygen on guitar, Hydrogen on bass,
Atom on keyboards, Silver on drums, and Carbon on vocals.
Falling Angels is a metal band.
The band members are Ghost, Sorceress,
Demon, and Satan.
[The 4 girls in this band are
some of my sweetest students, too.] Their hit song is Hell Gate. Below are some lyrics:
Wings broken, Falling falling
Soul gone, leaving leaving
hell gate, opening opening
Death hands, waving waving
Rock on, Chinese students. Rock on.