A Hip-Hop Opera

Considering that we’re close to Christmas and New Year, your students are likely tired from their lessons and are looking forward to the holidays. How about giving them a lesson that will have them mixing what you thought was not mixable? πŸ™‚

Let’s do this:

1) Ask your students what they think about Hip-Hop, what artists they listen to and what facts they know about their favorite rappers.

2) Show them a picture of Babatunde Akinboboye in the car from the video and ask them what he’s doing. Ask your students what they think he’s going to sing.

3) Show them the video of Akinboboye singing. Ask them to say what genre of the music he’s singing.

4) Ask your students how his performance made them feel and if they’ve ever heard of Opera being mixed with hip-hop.

5) After that, tell your students that they’re going to find out a bit more about the singer and his motivation. I adapted the short article from Time for this.

6) Ask your students 2 questions:
Whom did the singer make the video for?
When did he first hear the aria he sang?

7) After getting answers, ask your students to look at the words in the article and try to guess their meaning from the context. Get feedback, then give them a handout and ask them to match the words.

8) To give them some practice, ask them to complete the questions using the words they’ve matched and then discuss them in pairs.

9) If your students like singing, a fun activity would be to ask them to make their own mashup. Tell them to pick a song which they like singing and in pairs, find a different melody to sing along to. They can use their phones to search for instrumentals or karaokes on YouTube and sing a verse in pairs. Once all the students have finished singing. Have a class vote on the best mashup.

10) You can ask your students to make a recording of them singing their mashups at home as homework, in case they enjoyed the final activity and start the next lesson by listening to some good music.

You may feel skeptical about having your students sing, but if you play your cards right, this can give your students some extra speaking practice, and even some nice videos like this one. πŸ˜‰

I wish you all to have a wonderful holiday and my next post will be the last one for 2018. But there’s more to come next year. I hope you liked this idea and if you’ve tried it with your class, leave a comment letting us know if they’ve liked it. πŸ™‚

Emphasizing your speech

One of the ways to point something out in English is by adding an auxiliary verb.

Let’s look at it with some examples.

– You don’t seem to like living in this city.
– But I like living in this city!

It’s a perfectly normal answer, but the person who thought I don’t like living in the city was wrong and if I’d like to point that out, I can do that by adding do.

Surprised lady

– But I DO like living in this city.

When I say this, I pronounce DO with a stress to indicate that he is wrong to think so.

We can also use did if we’re talking about the past:

People talking in a cafe

– You said you would call me when you got back to your hotel!
– But I DID call you! You just didn’t pick up the phone!

But this is just one case where we use these verbs and we only looked at do and did.

Let’s look at other cases when we use them:

1) In tag questions and when giving a short answer.

– You ARE tired, aren’t you?
– Yes, I AM.

You don’t like pizza, DO you?
– No, I don’t.

He IS happy to see me, isn’t he?
– Yes, he IS.

2) When we want to point out our strong feelings about something:

Sharply dressed man

He DOES look good in that suit.

Happy man

Your English really HAS improved a lot.
(I’m sure that’s how all students react when they hear these words) πŸ™‚


You MUST check out this new racing game!

3) When we want to contrast two different ideas or things.

I can’t play basketball, but I CAN play tennis.

I don’t like milk, but I DO like cheese.

She didn’t study computer science at university, but she DID study informatics.

Take note that when you emphasize things in positive sentences, you don’t use contractions (I’m, I’ve, He’s)

We’ve just had a quick look at the following verbs which we can use to add emphasis:


Now, let’s put them to the test (And no, you don’t have to write them IN CAPS) πŸ˜‰

I hope you enjoyed the exercises and my short video. πŸ™‚

The importance of self-reflection

Listening to somethingOne of the most important aspects of learning for me is the ability to reflect on what I can do and see if I can improve my skills. We all do this sometimes and this is also something I do with my students from time to time when we study for exams.

It’s quite a simple activity, but it provokes us to analyze what we know and work further on our own speech. Let’s try doing this now. Take 2 minutes to record your answer to this question and then listen to it.

Now, let me know in the comments what would you change after listening to yourself talk?