Don’t Panic – Coldplay

Hello everyone! I’m back and I hope you all had a lovely Easter.

This week, I’d like to tell you about how you can use one of Coldplay’s fantastic earlier tunes, and the opener to one of the greatest albums ever made, “Parachutes”. Most of my students like their new stuff more, but I’ll always prefer the old Coldplay 🙂

Examples of present and past tenses teamed with lots of repetition means that you can do it with absolute beginners, but there is also some irony, a simile and more complex phrasal verbs like “to be done for”, “to run from” and “to lean on s.o.” for more advanced students. You can get so much out of this seemingly simple song if you use the video as well.

Fun fact: The title is a reference to the sci-fi comedy, A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

Bones sinking like stones
All that we fought for
Homes, places we've grown
All of us are done for

And we live in a beautiful world
Yeah we do, yeah we do
We live in a beautiful world

Bones sinking like stones
All that we fought for
And homes, places we've grown
All of us are done for

And we live in a beautiful world
Yeah we do, yeah we do
We live in a beautiful world

And we live in a beautiful world
Yeah we do, yeah we do
We live in a beautiful world

Oh, all that I know
There's nothing here to run from
'Cause yeah everybody here's got somebody to lean on

(Thanks to Coldplay's website for the lyrics)


Lesson ideas

With the lyrics…

  • Take out rhyming words like bones, stones, grown, etc. (You could have a list of these words to help lower levels.)
  • Remove all prepositions, pronouns, past simple verbs and/or past participles.
  • Jumble up some of the sentences and have students rearrange them.
  • Active pair work activity – Split sentences up, give them to students on bits of paper and have them find their other half.
  • Get more advanced students to create a gap fill for their partner or group.
  • Students highlight words they don’t know but would like to learn, check with others in the class and get them to teach each other where possible.
  • Students think of as many synonyms for beautiful as possible.
  • Students think of an antonym for beautiful then find as many synonyms for their choice as possible.

Other activities

  • Discuss what they think the song is about. What does the band think of the world? Is it a positive or negative view? Give reasons for their choice by using some of the lyrics to support their opinion. (Watch the video afterwards to see if their ideas change.)
  • Lower levels – Show the video then pause it at the kitchen scene. Have a list of vocabulary ready and see if they can identify it in pairs or teams.
  • Lower levels again – Show the next scene with the house and go through all the rooms with students. Using a model, get students to describe a room and their partner has to guess it.
  • Focusing on the video from 1.38, discuss what the video is saying about industry, the environment and the world. Can they identify some of the industries shown? How do they effect the environment?
  • Environment discussion questions. Here are some examples which could be discussed in groups, pairs or as a whole class.
  • Set up a debate with more advanced classes using one of the questions from and get students to think about a position you set them. They could brainstorm ideas in groups before holding a whole class debate.
  • Students think of questions about the environment to ask others in their school/town/local shopping centre, etc. They create a survey/questionnaire/interview, collect the results and share with the class.
  • Based on these findings, students could create a poster to display around the school or upload them to the school website or social media page.
  • Students create a campaign encouraging people to look after the environment. It could be a poster, an advert, a social media page… Let them decide! They could focus on one particular aspect such as saving water/electricity/recycling, etc. or do something more general.
  • Take students out for a walk and get them to notice beautiful things about this world! They record them by taking a picture or video to show the rest of the class, describing them and giving reasons for their choice.

See you soon for another ELTune!


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