The first song from A Grand Don’t Come For Free introduces us to the main character that the album is all about.
Disclaimer: please read the note below regarding language in the song. I do not know your individual teaching contexts, so accept no responsibility for the consequences of using these resources with your learners. You use them at your own risk! You know your learners/schools best. If you think there is likely to be a negative reaction to whatever language forms part of a resource such as this, please consider how you use it.
(sorry for the bold print, but you can never be too careful)
This guy appears to be a chancer, and somehow has a stash of a thousand pounds kept in a shoe box (quite how this was acquired is never fully explained in the album – good potential for discussion there). In the song (and in the student-produced video embedded below), the protagonist is running round a non-descript urban location, carrying out a number of errands. Watch the video (or if you have a copy of The Streets’ album, listen to that first, then watch the video) and see below for activities you could do in a language classroom.
Show your learners the following word cloud and ask them to match the verbs with their collocates
Ask learners to think of similar errands people sometimes do. If necessary, provide the object part of the phrase and elicit the verb. You might come up with:
return a library book
take someone to the doctor
Ask the learners to then order their list of tasks, deciding which are most/least important, which will take more/less time to carry out, which are more or less interesting. Alternatively, ask learners to sort the tasks into groups. Discuss any language that emerges from this activity, boarding any useful words and phrases, drilling pronunciation and word/sentence stress as necessary.
Next, ask learners to anticipate what could go wrong with each of these tasks. If you need to, provide one or two examples, such as forgetting the DVD or book you have to return, finding the bank is closed when you go to withdraw your money, etc. Learners should write down their ideas, either working individually or in pairs/groups.
Listen to the song with learners and ask them to work out what went wrong. The language in the song is pretty complicated (there are lots of slang words and use of phrasal verbs) so it is recommended to listen at least once while reading the lyrics at the same time: The Streets It was supposed to be so easy pdf.
Note – there are at least two examples of the s*** word in the song. If you feel your learners are unlikely to react in a mature manner to this language, please think carefully about using the song in your lessons. Alternatively, investigate into using audio editing software, such as Audacity, to ‘bleep’ out these sections. of the song.
Also, this song, and the rest of The Streets album, contains a vast number of slang words and terms. It may be useful to consider ways of of presenting this language to your learners. One way may be to ask learners to investigate the words themselves (with guidance!) and keep a slang vocab book. As with any language, it is appropriate to raise learners’ awareness of when and how to use such words and terms (if they are to be used at all).
Further tasks that could be done using the song:
Discuss what might have happened to the thousand pounds
Write a narrative describing the protagonist’s day
Rewrite the story so that everything goes right for the protagonist (i.e. the opposite to that presented in the song)
Draw pictures to help explain the vocabulary (a DVD case, a thousand pounds = two monkies = 50 scores – money slang, etc.)