David Bowie: 1947-2016…An Enigma to the End!

“David Bowie, the infinitely changeable, fiercely forward-looking songwriter who taught generations of musicians about the power of drama, images and personas, died on Sunday, two days after his 69th birthday… Mr. Bowie wrote songs, above all, about being an outsider: an alien, a misfit, a faraway astronaut. His music was always a mutable blend — rock, cabaret, jazz and what he called “plastic soul” — but it was suffused with genuine soul.”J. Pareles,  The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

David Bowie, always mysterious.

David Bowie, always mysterious.

Excerpt: David Bowie…Transcended Music, Art and Fashion  By Jon Pareles NYT

“His death was confirmed by his publicist, Steve Martin, on Monday morning. No other details were provided. 

David Bowie. Photo-ACMI 2015 Winter Masterpieces exhibition

David Bowie. Photo-ACMI 2015 Winter Masterpieces exhibition

His last album, Blackstar, a collaboration with a jazz quartet that was typically enigmatic and exploratory, was released on Friday — his birthday…

David Bowie's Lazarus. rollingstone.com

David Bowie’s Lazarus. rollingstone.com

He had also collaborated on an Off Broadway musical Lazarus, which was a surreal sequel to the 1976 film that featured his definitive screen role, The Man Who Fell to Earth.

Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth 1076-Photodavidbowienews

In concerts and videos, Mr. Bowie’s costumes and imagery traversed styles, eras and continents, from German Expressionism to commedia dell’arte to Japanese kimonos to spacesuits. He set an example, and a challenge, for every arena spectacle in his wake…

Bowie and fiery Tina Turner.

Bowie and fiery Tina Turner.

Mr. Bowie earned admiration and emulation across the musical spectrum — from rockers, balladeers, punks, hip-hop acts… Mr. Bowie was married for more than 20 years to the international model Iman, with whom he had a daughter…

Bowie with his beautiful wife, model Iman, at the Council of Fashion Designers Awards 2002. Credit S. Plunkett, AP

Bowie with his beautiful wife, model Iman, at the Council of Fashion Designers Awards 2002. Credit S. Plunkett, AP

David Bowie's Blackstar album. officialcharts

David Bowie’s Blackstar album. officialcharts

His final albums were a glance back and a new excursion. And “Blackstar,” released two days before his death, had him backed by a volatile jazz-based quartet, in songs that contemplated fame, spirituality, death and, as always, startling transformations.”

 David Bowie 1947-2016

David Bowie 1947-2016

WE WILL MISS YOU…REST IN PEACE

Flowers

ESL VOICES

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Have students  examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Tasks

Word Inference

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.

  1. His last album was a collaboration with a jazz quartet.
  2. Bowie’s music has been described as enigmatic.
  3. In concerts  Mr. Bowie’s costumes and imagery traversed styles.
  4. If he had an anthem, it was Changes from his 1971 album.
  5. Mr. Bowie earned admiration and emulation from the world.
  6. Mr. Bowie  was known for his morphing persona.
  7. His message was that there was always empathy beyond difference.
  8. Mr. Bowie produced albums and wrote songs for some of his idols.
  9. Mr. Bowie was a person of relentless reinvention.
  10. Mr. Bowie had become a pioneer of glam rock.
Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

Reading Comprehension

True /False/NA-Statements

Directions: Review the following statements from the reading.  If  a statement is true they mark it T. If the statement is  not applicable, they mark it NA. If the statement is false they  mark  it F and provide the correct answer. 

  1. David Bowie died at age 89.
  2. Mr. Bowie had been treated for cancer for the last 18 months.
  3. His last album, Blues   was a collaboration with a jazz quartet.
  4. Labyrinth was an off Broadway musical.
  5. Bowie is to be honored with a concert at Carnegie Hall on March 31.
  6. David had 5 children total.
  7. Mr. Bowie’s costumes and imagery traversed styles, eras and continents.
  8. Mr. Bowie produced albums and wrote songs for some of his idols.
  9. Mr. Bowie was married for more than  50 years to the model Iman.
  10. David Robert Jones is Bowie’s real name.

 Grammar Focus: Prepositions

Directions: The following sentences are from the news article.  For each sentence choose the correct preposition from the choices listed above. Note that not all prepositions listed are in the article.

Prepositions:  in, for, of, with, by,  on, at, to, as,  into, across, around, over,  through, from, during, up, off,

He became a lasting influence___Mr. Bowie, focusing his interest ___movement. He moved ___the United States ___1974. For a far-reaching change ___environment, and to get away ___drugs, Mr. Bowie moved ___1976 ___ Switzerland. Working ___Mr. Eno and Mr. Bowie’s collaborator ___decades, was the producer Tony Visconti. The Next Day, released ___2013, returned ___ something like the glam-rock sound ___his 1970s guitar bands.

III. Post Reading Tasks

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion/Writing Exercise

Directions: Place students in groups and have them  rephrase the following statement.  Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the following discussion topics.

“Mr. Bowie earned admiration and emulation across the musical spectrum — from rockers, balladeers, punks, hip-hop acts, creators of pop spectacles and even classical composers.”

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.

ANSWER KEY

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