Raise your hand if you have never seen Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. No hands? Right! Just what I thought! You might like it or not, but what is undeniable is that this video has become a classic.
I was racking my brains about the activity I could give my students for Halloween this year when suddenly the image of the undead rising out from their graves in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” appeared in my mind out of nowhere. Yeah! I know! Weird!
A spooky video but also a masterpiece. I hope you enjoy the activity and also the homework.
Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Time required: about 60 minutes
SETTING THE ATMOSPHERE.
Ask students some of these questions:
- Do you believe in ghosts? Do you know any stories about ghosts?
- Has anything ever happened to you that you cannot explain?
- Do you believe that vampires or zombies exist?
- What is the most frightening experience you have had?
Pdf of the lesson here.
Ask students if they know who Michael Jackson was. Can they name any of his songs? Most probably students will know who Michael Jackson was and will probably mention the song “Thriller”. If you deem it appropriate, give students some information about this video, like for example, that it was voted the most influential pop video of all time.
More information about the video here.
The video lasts about 13 minutes. It is going to be divided into two parts, with a different task for each part .
TASK 1. Dictation (from the beginning to 4.40)
Tell students they are going to see the first part of the video where there is a dialogue between Michael Jackson and his girlfriend. Half the class will take Michael’s role and half the class the girl’s role.
- Have the students work in pairs. Half the pairs in the class will write down the part of Michael Jackson and the other half the part of the girlfriend.
- I suggest you give students the beginning of the dialogue as M. Jackson’s first sentence might be difficult to understand.
Jackson: Honestly, we’re out of gas.
Girlfriend: So, what are we going to do now?
- You might need to play it twice.
- Students help each other complete the dialogue
- Pair students once again, this time you want to pair a student with Michael’s part and a student with the girlfriend’s part.
- Ask students to act it out.
TASK 2. The Song (from 4.40 until the end)
Write/display the following words on the board and ask students to guess meanings. Explain if necessary and drill pronunciation.
Download the pdf with the activity here
- Play the video once.
Play the song and ask students to fill in the gaps with the words in the box. Words can be used more than once.
- Play the video a second time
Students complete task 1 and try to fill in the blanks for the words in phonemic transcription.
- Check and listen again to enjoy the video and maybe… sing along?
TASK 3. The homework
I am well aware that I won’t be able to check this homework and I am also pretty sure my students, which are all adults, won’t be volunteering to show how much they have learnt from doing this homework, but I guess that at home they will be having a great time and that’s important too. Enjoy!