ESL: Modal Verbs & The Everly Brothers!


A lesson based on around The Everly Brothers' All You Have to Do is Dream, introducing and practising the modal verbs 'have to', 'need to' and 'must'.

Suitable for: A2-B1, teenagers/adults | Length: 1 - 1.5 hours | Song available here

The lesson begins with a hook, in which students hazard guesses. This is followed by a multiple choice quiz. Key vocabulary is then taught with a simple matching exercises, available with Arabic and Farsi translation. Following this, students pair pictures of famous women with descriptions of their lives. Finally, students debate a number of questions on issues of gender equality. Homework: to write a message to a female role-model.

Step-by-Step Lesson Structure

1. Hook

Ask students whether they would travel to the future, or to the past, if they had a Time Machine. Explain that you're going to go back in time, but only 40 years.

2. Song Listening

Ask if anyone has heard of The Everly Brothers. Explain that you're going to play a song, ask students to fill in the missing words on this worksheet.

3. Song Questions

Draw students' attention to the three questions at the bottom of the worksheet and work through these in pairs, then as a class.

4. Modal Verbs

Ask students to look at the last missing word: what does 'have to dream' mean? Elicit the sense of necessity. Clarify rules on whiteboard in positive, negative and interrogative form.

5. Controlled Practice

Work through these exercises practising the use of these modals.

6. Communication Activity

Print off these question cards. Create a deck and explain to students that in groups of two or three they should take a card and ask the question. Make clear that the answer must contain a modal verb!

7. If time, prepare a True or False quiz about various cultural norms and rules in different countries. Put students in teams and read questions. Students can debate whether these are true or not.

Ex. In England, you have to be 21 to buy alcohol from a supermarket.

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