“Prince, the songwriter, singer, producer, one-man studio band and consummate showman, died Thursday at his residence, Paisley Park, in Chanhassen, Minn., according to a statement from his publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure. He was 57.” J. Pareles, The New York Times
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
Excerpt: Prince Is Dead at 57 By Jon Pareles, The New York Times
“Prince, born Prince Rogers Nelson on June 7, 1958, was a man bursting with music — a wildly prolific songwriter, a virtuoso on guitars, keyboards and drums and a master architect of funk, rock, R&B and pop, even as his music defied genres.
In a career that lasted from the late 1970s until the arena tour this year, he was acclaimed as a sex symbol, a musical prodigy and an artist who shaped his career his way, often battling with accepted music-business practices.
His songs also became hits for others, among them Nothing Compares 2 U for Sinead O’Connor and I Feel for You for Chaka Khan.
You Tube: Purple Rain Trailer
With the 1984 film and album Purple Rain, Prince told a fictionalized version of his own story: biracial, gifted, spectacularly ambitious. Its music won him an Academy Award and the album sold more than 13 million copies in the United States alone.”
Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016)
We’ll Miss Him
NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 2 hours.
Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.
I. Pre-Reading Activities
Directions: Have students use the KWL chart to list the information
they already know about the singer Prince. Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.
II. While Reading
Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.
- Prince was a wildly prolific songwriter.
- He was also a virtuoso on guitars.
- His music defied genres.
- He was acclaimed as a a musical prodigy.
- Prince was at once spontaneous and utterly precise.
- In Prince’s biggest hits, he sang passionately.
- He was riveting enough to open a Grammy Awards.
- He worked as a bandleader in the ecstatic tradition of James Brown.
- He made himself a unifier of dualities.
- He had plenty of eccentricities.
Directions: The following sentences are from the article. Choose the correct word for each blank space.
He had___ of eccentricities: his ___for the color___, using “U” for “you” and a drawn eye for “I” long before textspeak, his___ policing of his music online, his ___for releasing huge___ of music at once, his intensely ___persona. Yet among___ and listeners of ___generations, he was ___well-nigh universally.
Word List: musicians, penchant, plenty, fondness,
admired, purple, multiple, private, troves, vigilant,
Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.
Prince record/recorded the great majority/major of his music entirely on his own, playing every instrument and signing/singing every vocal line. Then, performing those sings/songs onstage, he worked as a bandleader in the polished, athletic, ecstatic tradition of James Brown, at once spontaneous and utterly precise, riveting/rivets enough to open a Grammy Awards telecast and play the Super Bowl halftime show. Often, Prince would follow a full-tilt arena/area concert with a late-night club show, pouring out even more music.
III. Post Reading
Finding the main idea
Directions: Have students use this advanced organizer from Write Design to assist them with discussing or writing about the main idea and points from the article.
Directions: Place students in groups and have them discuss the following statement. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class.
“He had plenty of eccentricities: his fondness for the color purple, using “U” for “you” and a drawn eye for “I” long before textspeak, his vigilant policing of his music online, his penchant for releasing huge troves of music at once, his intensely private persona.”
1-Minute Free Writing Exercise
Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading. Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity.