Happy New Year, by Abba

Have you realized how poignant that old favorite, sung by Abba way back when, is?

Ideal for taking into class with you at the beginning of term.

Here's a quick little exercise that you can print off and drag in as an ice-breaker or warmer.

  • distribute sheet
  • tell class to fill in as much of the blanks as they can, then
  • play song, first time straight through without stopping
  • get them to check with each other and compare answers
  • play song, second time stopping after each sentence
  • compare answers
  • discuss key vocabulary
  • discuss meaning of the song and 'the time' it was sung in
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  • the gap fill basically works on a 'lexical chunk' system in order for you (your students) to pay particular attention to the way words group together. If you're working with a group of fairly fluent and motivated students you can also use this activity as a philosophical discussion tool. ABBA sung this pre-internet, pre-a lot of other things and older students who were around when this was a hit will have much to add to the pot.

Video of this song

The official ABBA site has a gorgeous video with lyrics on screen. That's here.
More songs related to the new year on youtube here.

Useful links related to this posting:

  • Song meanings here, Song facts here.
  • Download video on to your laptop, blog about that here.
  • Netbooks, blog about that here.

Do you have any suggestions or comments? Don't hesitate to add your thoughts below.


2 Responses to “Happy New Year, by Abba”

  • Anonymous says:
    January 08, 2009

    Another possibility would be to do the following:

    · find several "pairs" of rhyming words in the song (in this case, you/blue, grey/say, then/friend, arrives/lives, before/floor, find/line)
    · write these in a jumbled order on the board
    · ask students to find the rhyming pairs of words
    · then give the lyrics out and ask them to complete before listening

    Actually, if you DON'T tell them it's a song (let them think it's a poem) then the motivation is much higher when you say "Okay, let's check answers... this is a song, we're going to listen to it".

    To paraphrase another Abba song: Thank you for the music Karenne, the blogs you're giving...

    January 08, 2009

    Thanks Lindsay,

    Great tip! I love the idea of surprising students (especially the business types) with a song.

    BTW - do you know (or anyone else) of a semi-recently published methodology book on using songs in ELT?

    Wanted to make a book recommendation at the end of this posting, dug out an old workshop I used to give but I hadn't referenced it ;-(.


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