We Are The Champions – Queen

We’re going to talk about sports in some of my lessons this week, so what better tune to use than this one, which is often thought to be one of the most popular sports song. It can promote additional discussion on fame and fortune and there are plenty of past simple and present perfect examples, as well as the future tense with “will”, prepositions and – my favourite – phrasal verbs!

Start by asking students what they know about the band Queen. Perhaps they will tell you about the songs they know already or who the lead singer was – Incidentally, Freddy Mercury’s statue can be found in Montreux, Switzerland, as he had decided to settle here.

You can create some background information about the band, pointing out an example of the present perfect, then get them to underline more examples and sentences using the past simple – I got mine from a book we have at school about using pop songs, but you can easily create your own using the wonders of the internet.

You could then create a matching exercise with expressions and their definitions, such as paid my dues, sand kicked in my face, keep on doing something, to take a bow, my curtain calls and no bed of roses. You could of course explain these to students if they ask.

The video can be found here.

The lyrics, with some suggestions for a gap fill exercise:

I‘ve paid my dues
Time after time.
I’ve done my sentence
But committed no crime.
And bad mistakes ‒
I’ve made a few.
I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face
But I’ve come through.

We are the champions, my friends,
And we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end.
We are the champions.
We are the champions.
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions of the world.

I’ve taken my bows
And my curtain calls.
You brought me fame and fortune, and everything that goes with it.
I thank you all.
But it’s been no bed of roses,
No pleasure cruise.
I consider it a challenge before the whole human race,
And I ain’t gonna lose.

We are the champions, my friends,
And we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end.
We are the champions.
We are the champions.
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions of the world.

We are the champions, my friends,
And we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end.
We are the champions.
We are the champions.
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions

Of the world.

Post-listening activities

  • Discuss with students if they have heard the song before, what they think it means and why it was written. Why do they think it is so popular at sports events?
  • Students can do a short presentation on their favourite sport, sports star or a traditional sporting event from their area.
  • Sports taboo – create cards with various sports and get them to describe it to the others. Alternative version – Sports mimes.
  • Create interview questions for a famous sports star.
  • Discussion about corruption or doping in the sports world.
  • Create a campaign video or poster encouraging young people to do more sports.
  • Sports discussion. Here are some questions which students can discuss in groups or pairs. Mix it up a bit and get them chatting to everyone in the class:
  • Do you like sports? Which sports do you do…
    • now
    • when you were a child.
    • Which sports would you like to try some time?
  •  Can you…
    • ski
    • swim
    • snowboard
    • surf
    • dive

    how did you learn to do these sports? Which do you prefer?

  • Which are the most popular sports and games in your country? Which do you think are the most popular sports and games in the world?
  • Do you prefer to watch sports or play sports? How about watching game tournaments, e.g. Jass or poker on television.
  • How much sport is compulsory at school in your country? Do you think that this is enough? Why/Why not?
  • Do you support any particular sports teams?
  • Do you think professional sports stars earn too much money?
  • How can playing games benefit people in their working life?
  • Are there any sports or games that you don’t like, or think should be banned?
  • How competitive are you when you play sports or games?

See you again next week for more British tunes!

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