Pathways to accuracy: “Somewhere Only We Know”

At the beginning of “Somewhere Only We Know” (Keane, 2004), the singer walks “across an empty land” and knows “the pathway like the back of my hand.” In this activity, the students find their way through the maze to read and understand the lyrics of the song while facing a series of challenges related to grammar and sentence structure along the way. The use of articles and possessive adjectives, or differences such as “been”/”gone” or “say”/”tell”, are some of the questions that the students will need to solve as they connect the words with a pencil or a highlighter. The students are also asked to fill in the circles with a suitable preposition. Depending on the level of the students, the prepositions that they are allowed to use can be provided beforehand (although here I’d have them think of an answer first or leave it blank if they don’t know it, check it later when they listen to the song, and then discuss any other possibilities.)

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Somewhere Only We Know.pdf

There are plenty of opportunities for language analysis and further practice after the students have listened to the song and checked their answers, but you may also want to work on comprehension and discuss what the song means to each student, get them to share their ideas, and finally compare them with these words by the band’s drummer:

We’ve been asked whether “Somewhere Only We Know” is about a specific place, and Tim has been saying that, for him, or us as individuals, it might be about a geographical space, or a feeling; it can mean something individual to each person, and they can interpret it to a memory of theirs… It’s perhaps more of a theme rather than a specific message… Feelings that may be universal, without necessarily being totally specific to us, or a place, or a time…

Richard Hughes


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30 thoughts on “Pathways to accuracy: “Somewhere Only We Know””

  1. This is wonderful! Very creative. Thanks for sharing.
    To add some festive flavours to this lesson you could use this John Lewis Christmas advert which has a lovely version of the song.

    Merry Christmas

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I did this with my class and they really loved it! Many students mentioned how much they liked the song & that they continued to listen to it. At our end of the year conference, one student told me it was his favorite activity.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love love love this maze idea and I’d love to make a series of these. Do you have any tips or ready made templates onto how one could do this? Thank you so much for sharing

    Like

  4. Hi Miguel,

    Thank you so much for creating such an innovative gap-fill task. There was such a sense of joy when we all sang it together in the class post the gap-fill. This was one of the best I have come across on Using songs to teach English. By the way, this was the first time I heard this song myself. I knew my students – all adult learners – would love the task and the activity – and they did.
    You have introduced me to a beautiful song and an interesting task that I can use for the rest of my teaching career.

    Sunitha (India)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sunitha,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to write such beautiful words and share how the activity worked with your students. It really means a lot. It also helps me to see that, after all, this is a project some teachers still find useful and probably worth continuing.

      Thank you!

      Miguel

      Like

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