Conversation Class Lesson Summary

Language Resident Name:

Marie Segura

Maria Glukhova

Day and Date:

Week 3-4, Fall 2020

Language and Level (intermediate or advanced class):


Class theme/topics discussed:


How did you structure the class?/Ideas:

Activity 1 – Gathering vocabulary

Create a wordcloud for students to quickly brainstorm on music instruments/genres/etc..

Activity 2 – General questions for discussion

  1. When do you listen to music? Is it always the same? Does it depend on the day? (Quand écoutez vous de la musique + toujours la même? Ou dépend du moment?)
  2. Do you listen to music when you work? (Musique quand travaillent?)
  3. Do you play any instrument/make music? (Faites vous de la musique)
  4. If you could play any instruments, which one would you pick? What style of music would you like to play if you had a band? (Si vous pouviez jouer de n’importe quel instrument, de quoi voudriez-vous jouer? Quel type de musique si vous aviez un groupe?)
  5. Do you agree that “music soothes the heart” (La musique adoucit les moeurs)
  6. What was the last festival/concert you attended? (Dernier concert/festival)
  7. What’s your go-to song when doing a karaoke? (Quelle est votre chanson préférée pour un karaoké)
  8. Do you know any francophone artist? What’s your favorite song? (Une chanson ou un artiste français qu’ils connaissent + leur chanson préférée)

Activity 3 – Presenting francophone/X nationality artists

  • Pair students up. Ask them to look up an artist and fill in a table on a shared google doc. (nationality, music style, favorite song…)
  • Students present their artist to the other groups.

Activity 4 – The Voice

  • Brainstorming: what does a judge base their criticism on? What adjectives can they use? (maybe show an extract from the show). How do they convince people to join their team?
  • Students are the new judges for the Voice France. Students are asked to turn away from the camera. The LR plays some songs, and students have to decide whether they want to turn around or not. Then, they have to explain their choices: why did they choose this song? What do they like? What could be better (potential)? Or why didn’t they turn around? What was missing? 

Activity 5 – “Close-listening” [I usually do one class on it (Rus)]

  • Choose a song that has as much ‘material’ in it as possible: a lot of cultural references, good lyrics with maybe some philosophical aspects in it, an inspiring/controversial/simply interesting music video, etc. 
  • Give students a “free-writing” task/a discussion question that would help students to get into the topic that a song is about
  • If the lyrics are too difficult, give students a vocab list and go through it together (or they can work on it in pairs)
  • Give students the lyrics but with some blanks. Students have to fill them in while listening to a song. (There are different ways of choosing which words: the most difficult ones; related to one theme; adjectives, etc.)
  • Depending on a song, you might want to read and discuss the lyrics together after listening to the song for the first time + check if the students got the missing words right. 
  • I usually play a very philosophical contemporary song that has become extremely popular in Russia (Basta – Sansara: The main idea of it that “our children will be better than we are” and that “when we are gone, we will not disappear because we will still be singing through our children’s voices: we are the same people being replaced in an endless circle of Sansara”. After we listen to the song and go through the lyrics, I ask a lot of questions about what they think, and the conversation usually goes on until the end of the class because it is a very deep topic. It might also be a good way of starting to talk about different generations, parents-children relationships, etc. 
  • Another way of working with just one song would be to play it without a video, and then ask students to describe what they imagine would fit as a music video (they can, for example, come up with a ‘script’ in pairs). After everyone is done, students share their results. 
  • Then everyone is watching the actual music video and students discuss whether it is similar to what they expected or not.  

Activity 6 – Making a group Playlist [credits to Katherine Pérez Gutiérrez]

  • Students should do some research on different music genres. Each group randomly (or not) gets a genre of music (hip-hop, rap, indie, etc.) and looks it up in a target language.
  • After everyone is done, students and an LR create a Spotify/(Rus)VKontakte playlist with all the good songs they found.

What technology, media or props did you use? (internet resources, playmobiles, handouts, etc.)

Zoom, Youtube, Spotify  

What worked well in this class? What did not work?

How could this class be improved/ modified?