Monday 24 October 2011

Shakira and Beyonce / Contrasting / Writing a Biography

You are going to
  • Talk about famous people
  • Read and listen for information about two celebrities
  • Compare and contrast them
  • Write a biography of someone famous

    Note; This post was updated 30/12/2011 due to the Shakira biography clip being removed from Youtube. I replaced it with another clip and altered the comprehension questions.

    1) Discuss
    Look at these people.
    • Do you know who they are?
    • What are they famous for?
    • Have you ever dreamed of being famous?
    • Would you like to be famous?
    • What do you think it takes to achieve fame or success?
    • Do you think any of them have changed the world we live in or made our lives better?

    Highlight here for answers;
    Leo Di Caprio, Bob Marley, Martin Luther king, The Beatles, David Beckham
    Che Guevara, Mother Teresa, Shakira, Elvis Presley, Beyonce

    2) Read and watch
    Clip 1
    You are going to watch a clip about Shakira
    • What do you know about Shakira?
    • Where is she from?
    • How old is she?
    • What does she do?

    Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll (born February 2, 1977), known professionally as Shakira is a Colombian singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, dancer, and philanthropist who emerged in the music scene of Colombia and Latin America in the early 1990s. Born and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia, Shakira revealed many of her talents in school as a live performer, demonstrating her vocal ability with rock and roll, Latin and Middle Eastern influences with her own original twist on belly dancing. Shakira is a native Spanish speaker and also speaks fluent English and Portuguese as well as some Italian, French and Arabic.

    Answer these questions;
      1. What was her dream when she was growing up?
      2. What did she know at 18 months old?
      3. What could she do at 3?
      4. How old was she when she started writing songs?
      5. When did she get a record deal?
      6. What does her foundation do?
      7. What awards has she won?
      8. How succesful is she now?
        Highlight below for answers
          1. To become a famous performer
          2. She knew the entire alphabet
          3. Read
          4. 8
          5. 13
          6. It provides high quality school facilities, nutritious meals and homework assistance and counselling
          7. Various Grammy music awards
          8. She sells millions of records and is one of the top earning women in music

          Clip 2
          You are going to watch a clip about Beyoncé
          • What do you know about Beyoncé?
          • Where is she from?
          • How old is she?
          • What does she do?

          Beyoncé Giselle Knowles (born September 4, 1981), often known simply as Beyoncé, is an American R&B recording artist, actress and fashion designer. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, she enrolled in various performing arts schools and was first exposed to singing and dancing competitions as a child. Knowles rose to fame in the late 1990s as the lead singer of the R&B girl group Destiny's Child, one of the world's best-selling girl groups of all time.

          Answer these questions;

          1. What did her parents do?
          2. What did her parents realise early on?
          3. How old was she when she entered her first talent competition?
          4. How old was she when she was chosen for "Girls Time"?
          5. Why did her father give up his job?
          6. When did she make her 1st solo album?
          7. What was the name of her first film?
          8. What kind of charities does she support?
          Highlight below for answers
          1. Her father was record manager and her mother was a costume designer
          2. They had a star on their hands
          3. 7
          4. 11
          5. To represent her group
          6. 2003
          7. Dream Girls
          8. Childrens charities

              Add the information below with what you know from the texts and clips

              1) Date of Birth

              February 2nd 1977
              September 4th 1981
              2) Nationality

              3) Early life

              Started performing at an early age
              Entered singing and dancing competitions as a child
              4) Career

              Has won several Grammy awards and has sold millions of discs
              Rose to fame in the late 1990s as the lead singer of the R&B girl group Destiny's Child, one of the world's best-selling girl groups of all time. Now has a solo career and makes films
              5) Other interests outside performing
              Philanthropist; her foundation provides high quality school facilities, nutritious meals and homework assistance and counselling
              Fashion designer, supports childrens' charities.

              Highlight the spaces above for the answers

              3) Compare and contrast
              Look at the information
              • What do Shakira and Beyonce have in common?
              • What differences are there?

              Can you compare and contrast them (say what the similarities and differences are)?
              • use both, also, as well, too to express similarities 
              • use  but, however, whereas, on the other hand to express differences.

              eg Both of them are singers. Beyonce is from the USA whereas Shakira is from Colombia.
              Write 5 more sentences
              Highlight below for suggested answers

              1. Beyonce was born in 1981 but Shakira was born in 1977 
              2. Beyonce started performing as a child and Shakira did as well / too
              3. Shakira has always been a solo artist, on the other hand Beyonce started in a group
              4. Beyonce has made films however Shakira has remained a singer
              5. Beyonce and Shakira both help children

                Look at the people in the photos (above or below)
                Can you make similar sentences to compare or contrast them?

                Now listen to both of them in this clip. What do you think of the song?

                4) Writing

                A) Watch this clip and discuss the questions below
                1. How many of these people do you know?
                2. Why are they famous?
                3. Did they change the world?
                4. How did they think differently?

                "Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify and vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as crazy, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."

                Look at the words from the text in the left column below. 
                Can you match the words from the text on the left to the definitions on the right. Drag and drop the words to the correct place.

                B) Write about someone famous.
                Think of a famous person. Take a few minutes to find any information on the internet about him / her. Only look for important information.
                Use this plan to help you. Write your biography with 4 paragraphs. If you are writing about someone who is dead. Talk about why you think they are important today in paragraph 3

                If anyone wants to write about someone and post it in the comments below please go ahead :)

                Armando created a Sliderocket presentation of this post which is here

                More practice

                1) Find out more about Shakira and do some exercises here by Sean Banville
                Find out more about Beyonce and do some exercises here by Sean Banville

                2) Find some more worksheets about famous people here
                Famous People
                EFL / ESL Lesson Plans Using Biographies And Profiles - From Sean Banville

                3) Choose some people from the website and make sentences to compare and contrast them.
                choose some people you know and compare and contrast them.


                1. This is a great lesson plan that you have shared. I will be using this lesson for a Skype lesson soon and will let you know how it goes. Thank you for sharing.

                2. Thanks Martin. Hope it goes well!

                3. Thanks so much for this interesting lesson which I'm going to try with my students from the lycée in the Basque Country. Would you mind if I link it to my wiki and make a sliderocket presentation with it? Of course I'll credit you.

                4. Hi Armando, thanks for your comments. Yes, please go ahead and use it anyway you want. I hope your students enjoy it and find it useful!
                  All the best!

                5. Thanks a lot David. For the record, here is the link to the Sliderocket presentation (a tool I am just starting to learn) and to my school wiki:



                6. Wow! Thanks Armando. The sliderocket presentation is really excellent! Hmmm... I must have a go at doing something with that myself :) Thanks very much indeed for sharing.
                  All the best, David