Feeling Good by Nina Simone

ninasimoneindianstyle This is a beautiful song and one I’m sure that will motivate your students. I have decided to use this song to raise awareness of stress patterns and rhythm. Students look at pictures rather than lyrics and speculate what the lyrics are based on a stress pattern. They then have the opportunity to write their own version of this famous song. I hope you enjoy it and please give me your feedback if you decide to use it. Links to the lesson plan and worksheet are at the bottom. Lesson Plan  Main aim– by the end of the lesson students’ awareness of stress patterns and rhythm will have been raised and they will have the opportunity to write their own version of a popular song. Materials– Lyrics worksheet here. Time- 60 minutes. Procedure

  1. Write this stress pattern on the board:


  1. Hum the stress pattern with the students and then drill a few phrases such as:

What do you mean? Walk in the park. Over the hill. Where was he from? Give me a call.

  1. Elicit any more phrases that match this stress pattern.
  1. Tell students that you are going to listen to a song. In this song a woman is singing about the things that make her feel good. Before you listen to the song you are going to show them pictures of the things she sings about. The pictures match the stress pattern above.
  1. Hand out the lyrics with the pictures replacing the words. Students have to think of phrases that match the pictures and stress pattern.
  1. Students compare ideas with other small groups.
  1. Students listen once to check their ideas.
  1. Students listen a second time and write down exactly what they hear.
  1. Drill or sing the lines depending on how adventurous your class feels.
  2. Students mark the stress pattern on the remaining things that make Nina happy e.g. Dragonfly out in the sun/Sleep in peace when day is done.
  3. Students work in small groups to write their own version of the song. They replace the things that Nina wrote about with personal things. Mark the stress pattern on each of the lines. They then compare with another group.

To download this lesson plan click here. The lyrics worksheet can be downloaded here.


Do you teach IELTS? If you do our sister website IELTS Advantage might be of interest to you. It has lots of free IELTS advice including writing task 1, writing task 2, speaking, listening and reading.

For example our post on Writing Task 2 topics shows students the most common topics on the second part of the writing paper.

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4 comments on “Feeling Good by Nina Simone
  1. JKS says:

    I used your lesson plan today in an Austrian technical high school with various levels (16-19 year olds). I used the Michael Buble version. First we watched the video without sound and the students wrote down words to describe what’s happening (it’s like a James Bond movie trailer, perfect for the age and the fact that most of the students are boys). Then we followed your lesson plan with the OooO stress and syllables. To save paper, I put the pictures on a Power Point. It was a great lesson, the kids loved it, AND it helped them with their exit exams (on listening comprehension they have to fill in a gap with a maximum of four words – this was perfect practice!) Thanks for sharing the idea and resources!

  2. annfore says:

    Hi Christopher,
    Just to let you know that we’ve shortlisted this blog post for this month’s TeachingEnglish blog award and I’ll be making a post about it on tomorrows’s TeachingEnglish Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/TeachingEnglish.BritishCouncil, if you’d like to check there for likes and comments.


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