"Sing" - a great talent show!


"Sing" -  a funny animal jukebox musical cartoon 
                               (The New York Times)



Need a bright idea to attract your lesson? Why not to choose a new cartoon, which  is taking the cinema by a storm and is becoming the kids favourite one? Do you love songs, music and great action? Then the story is for you and for sure for your students!

How well do you know your students? What are they good at? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Getting to know your students well strengthens the relationship and bonds between students and teachers. And it's all about relationship in our business, isn't it? If your students love lessons with you, they will come to the class more willingly. As Rita Pierson once said in her TED talk: "Children don't learn from the teachers they don't like". Why not to use this trailer and organize a talent show in your class or in your school? You may be really surprised what you will find out. I was many times. Even last month just before Christmas one of the very good students came to the class with a violin case. She has been attending my class for the past 4 years and we did talk about various things but she never mentioned that she was playing or she was even about to play any musical instrument. So after a while of "begging" she gave us a concert and we were completely amazed - just great!!

So let's come back to lesson plan built around a trailer of the comedy cartoon called SING, (honestly, I can't wait to see it).



Topic: hobbies, interests, passion, dreams, ambitions, talents
Level: pre-intermediate +
Age: 10+
Activity aim:
  • to get to know each other better
  • practice speaking and class discussion
  • to revise hobbies vocabulary
  • matching exercise
  • guessing game
  • finding out your students talents

Vocabulary to pre-teach: contest, take part in sth, flyers, competition, failures, obstacles, go through rough time,

Time: 45-60 min

Film address: https://youtu.be/YDQizlFzVdA (choose carefully as there are 3 versions of the trailer)


The plot: Set in a world mostly populated by only animals, a koala named Buster Moon works to keep his theater from closing down. To do that, Buster and his sheep friend Eddie hold a singing contest to raise money for it, and the entire town auditions for a part in the show. The leading fives are:
  • a pig named Rosita 
  • her German pig partner Bob 
  • a little white arrogant mouse named Mike  
  • a punk rock crested porcupine named Ash 
  • a teenage elephant named Meena 
  • a British gorilla named Johnny 
    Link to pictures with the main characters: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3470600/mediaindex?ref_=tt_ov_mi_sm

    Stage one - warm up

    If you have a new group of students write 5 questions on the board or give them on slips of paper. Students work in pairs and ask each other.  Then they change the partner and ask at least 3 other students:

    1. What are you good at? Is it a talent that you were born with or you learned it?
    2. Do you have any other hobbies? How much time do you spend on it every day/week?
    3. Can you play any musical intstrument? Would you like to? Which one? Why not?
    4. Is there anything you would like to learn? Why?
    5. What talent contests do you know? What contests are popular in your country? Would you like to take part in any? Why? Why not?

    Stage two

    Class discussion. The teacher can even write down the list of the things students are good at or like. It can turn out that some students have a common hobby, that one person can play the cello and can give a concert at Christmas or someone else can do something nobody else can and he can teach the rest of the group. Such activities facilitate the process of learning and encourage students to talk about the things they enjoy.

    Stage three

    Once you have listed the interests and hobbies of the students on the board you can ask them a few extra questions:

    1. Is it difficult to do it?
    2. Was it difficult to learn?
    3. How much time do you devote to it a day/a week?
    4. What about your friends? Do they share your interests or they don't?
    5. What do you have to sacrifice to be good at it?




    Stage four

    Tell your students that they are going to watch a trailer of the film about a talent competition. What competitions are there in your country? In which of them would you like to take part in? Whole class discussion. Then show a few characters of the film. place them on the board and let your students guess who they are, what they do and what kind of talent they have. (the website with the photos of the characters above)


    eg. I guess she is a typical housewife bringing up the kids. She can cook well.


    eg. He may belong to some gang. He looks like a bully. What talent? Stealing? Fighting?



    Stage five

    Play a film. Students check their guesses and add any information they have learned from the film. Now they know that it is a singing competition so you can ask your students if any of them would like to take part in it. Why? Why not? Students can also make a bet who will win the contest. (to find out you have to go to the cinema:) Then you discuss what obstacles they have to face to get to the top and win.

    Stage six

    You can now watch two other versions of the trailer. Divide your students into two groups and ask them to find as many similarities and differenties between them as possible. 



    Of course, you can use the trailer in many other ways. It's just a suggestion. The most important is not to forget to use films trailers as a lesson modification. It will be fun for you and your students. Just try:)

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