Thursday, 25 January 2018

Learning the Vocabulary of Farming through Songs / Parodies: Reading, Listening and Speaking Activities

Students read about farmers who create parody songs, listen to a parody about life on the farm, then create their own parody, and practise their reading, listening and speaking skills.



One of my students recently asked me:'why don't we study a song?'. He studies land-based enineering, which is the study of farm machinery, so I told him it would probably be difficult to find a song that would have anything to do with this field (no pun intended). Well it turns out, I was wrong!!


I youtubed 'farming songs' and I came across the Peterson Brothers, who live in Kansas and make parodies that are actually quite fun for our tractor aficionado students.

Here are some activities on the Peterson Brothers and one of their parody 'A Fresh Breath of Farm Air':

1. A reading activity: an article on the Petersons. 

The article is a little long but the vocabulary is fairly simple (no technicalities). I would typically get them to work in groups of 3 or 4 for the part where they have to fill in the gaps with titles. 

Then you can get them to prepare an interview of the Peterson Brothers provided they remember how to make questions in English (otherwise you may want to go through that again with them). I would ask them to prepare about 10 questions individually or in pairs and them ask 3 students to go to the board to role-play the Peterson brothers (probably wiser to pick some confident students) and the class to interview them (a bit like in a press conference).

Peterson Brothers Worksheet

2. A listening activity on a farmer's parody song. 

There are many parodies from the Petersons that would have been good for the listening activity I had in mind. So to be completely honest, I chose this song because it reminded me of my teenage years watching The Prince of Bel Air and Beverly Hills on TV. It was fun watching young Will Smith singing rap-style Prince of Bel Air in class! 

On the worksheet that you can find below, students have to complete the lyrics of the parody and then go through the song again to make a list of all the actions the Petersons carry out in their farm on a typical. Actions are for instance: doctor and feed the cows, fix the fence, grow food/wheat/corn/beans/hay, chase the cattle in, plant, fertilize, stack and bale up the hay... which as the students underlined is a lot for a typical day!

Then, we compared the parody to the original song so that they would understand that writing a parody is not writing lyrics from scratch with the music, but more like adapting the original lyrics. So for example here "In West Philadelphia born and raised" became "In Central Kansas born and raised".

By this point Students have all the information they need to create their own parody. I let them pick their own song, though I had prepared a few suggestions just in case, and I did stress that it would be a lot easier with a moderately slow paced song.

A Fresh Breath of Farm Air Worsheet 







Teaching ressources activities materials lesson plans. General Farming Vocabulary: Listening comprehension. Farming Parody. Peterson Brothers A Fresh Breath of Farm Air.




Teaching ressources activities materials lesson plans. General Farming Vocabulary: Listening comprehension. Farming Parody.  Peterson Brothers A Fresh Breath of Farm Air. Lyrics



La parodie est disponible sur Youtube en suivant ce lien:


A Fresh Breath of Farm Air


Et l'original:


The Fresh Prince of Bel Air



L'article complet se trouve à cette adresse:



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