Who Knew?

A listening lesson plan on regular verbs in the Past Simple using Pink’s song, “Who Knew”. It also gets into some comprehension questions and a bit about love and relationships. This lesson was designed for beginners but could easily be adapted for intermediate students as well.

Objectives

  • To help students practice listening comprehension
  • To review the past simple
  • To get students interested by using pop music
  • To teach some vocabulary on romantic love
  • To give students practice at literary analysis

Materials

Note: If you have a fair amount of time, one nice way to teach a song that has a music video attached to it is to play the class the video first without the sound. Make sure you don’t tell them which song it is. Ask the students what they see, what seemed to happen, and what they think the song is about. You can also ask them what kind of song they think it is based on the video (is it fast? is it slow? is it happy or unhappy? rock, country, pop, dance?). It gives students some great practice in speculating and analyzing film. After that, you can play them the video with sound

Warm Up

I like to start song lessons by writing the name of the song on the board: “Who Knew?” Ask students what it means. They should be able to parse it literally, but ask them if it has any kind of idiomatic or slang meaning. Try to elicit (or teach if necessary) that “Who knew?” is used when we want to say that we didn’t expect something to happen–positive or negative. It’s short for “Who could have know that? No one.” or “I don’t think anyone could have guessed this.”
You can give an example such as:

The other day I invited my girlfriend over for dinner. I wanted to impress her so I planned to make Filet Mignon. But while I was cooking, I got distracted by the news on TV and I burned the steaks. It was too late to make anything else. Well, it turns out my girlfriend really likes burnt steak. Who knew?

You might also want to let them know that it is often used ironically as in, “You burned yourself on the hot stove? Stoves are hot? Who knew?”

The Song

Before listening, hand out the Who Knew Questions, and have students put the verbs in the past tense (these have been conveniently colored red) and are all regular verbs (except for, arguably, “said”). Go over the answers to make sure students have it right–or have them check each other.

Now tell students that they will listen to the song and they should try to fill in the missing words (on the blue lines on the worksheet). If you want to make it easier for them, tell them that they are all words related to love. Play the song and see how well they did. You will probably need to play the song more than once.

Go over the answers: hand, words, fools, a friend, forever, kiss, darling. If you haven’t already given then any hints, ask what they think these words have in common? Possible answers include: they are about love/relationships/young love.

Now go over the discussion questions on the worksheet, which basically try to help students get an idea of what the song is about. It’s best to ask students to cite specific lines in the song to support their opinions. This gives them some practice at analyzing a text.

The last few questions focus on the parts of a song (verse, chorus, bridge and outro). The song also vamps in (or has an intro), so you could get into that as well.

Finally for homework, students should use the missing words in blue to write a poem, song or story. These can be fun because they are almost forced to write about love so you get some interesting stories of different kinds of relationships.

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