Lesson Plan

Though not commonly accepted as poetic texts, song lyrics could be “valuable sources of contemporary cultural information and models of authentic language use” (Finch, 2003, p.37). Songs can help learners express themselves in English through individual participation and collaborative group work in classrooms. They can also provide the means to engage students in the target language by using their personal life experiences (Finch, 2003). In this lesson plan, one of the songs, “You can’t Have Everything” by The Kim Sisters, is used as a poem. The Kim Sisters is a South Korean-American trio that was popular in the 1950s and 60s in the United States.  

Age: Young Adults

Number of students: 15

Duration: 60 minutes

Level:  late beginners

Materials: worksheets, a computer/MP3 player, speakers, a whiteboard, an overhead projector, blue tack, colored beads/slips of paper, colored papers, and scissors 

In this lesson, students will be able to: 

  1. talk in English about their relationship with an old friend,
  2. predict a poem by its title, 
  3. be familiar with new words in English,
  4. identify the characters, narrator, and tone of the poem,
  5. order the lines of the poem,
  6. determine the order of lines in the poem through listening, 
  7. be familiar with a Korean trio,
  8. explain whether the given information is true or false according to the poem,
  9. create a new poem in a different tone with given words,
  10. judge different poems.

Pre-reading: (15 minutes)

  • The teacher asks students if they have ever stopped seeing a friend. (In case students do not have such a friend, the teacher might ask the same question for other people with who students may have a relationship, or the teacher may pose a general question regarding human relationships.)
  • Teacher asks students: 

how they felt after they stopped seeing each other,

what they remember most about that person,

what they think these people are doing now. 

  • As students explain, the teacher listens to students. 
  • Meanwhile, the teacher writes the words miss, guess, and memory on the board.
  • The teacher teaches these words by paraphrasing what students have to say regarding the warm-up questions and gives examples to explain the words further.  
  • The teacher asks students to tell what they understand from the title “You can’t Have Everything” and tells them they will read a poem with this title. 
  • The teacher asks students what the poem could be about.
  • Students think about the title and express their ideas individually. 
  • Teacher and students discuss the possible meaning(s) of the title.
  • Meanwhile, the teacher also teaches the words poem and poet

On-reading: (25 minutes)

  • The teacher asks students to select some colored beads (or slips of paper), i.e., yellow, red, purple, green, and orange. (Different colors may also be used.)
  • The teacher dives students into groups of three by using colors.
  • Students choose their colors, and students with the same colors come together as groups. In the end, there are five groups, each with three members who have the same color. 
  • The teacher gives each group six pieces of paper on which a stanza is written.
  • The teacher asks students to take a look at all stanzas for a minute. 
  • The teacher asks students:

who the people are in the poem,

who tells the poem,

what kind of relationship they sense in the poem. 

  • Students share their ideas with their group members first.
  • Then students listen to the ideas of other groups.
  • The teacher listens to all the ideas. 
  • The teacher asks students to read the poem one more time as a group and order the six stanzas in two or three minutes. 
  • Students order the stanzas.
  • To check the order, the teacher asks students to listen to The Kim Sisters singing the song/poem once and check their order. She also gives some information about the signers, who they are, and where they are from. 
  • Students listen and check their order. 
  • Students reorder their poems if necessary. 
  • The teacher asks students how they have ordered the poem and whether they are correct. 
  • Students discuss how they have ordered the poem and what they have done wrong with their teacher and other groups.
  • The teacher asks students to go over the poem one more time, decide in groups if the given statements are true or false, and explain in which line they can see the answers. (The statements could be given to students on a sheet or reflected on the whiteboard if an overhead projector is available in class.) 
1. The couple is still together.      
2. The poet has a new lover now.      
3. The poet did not love his/her lover very much.      
4. The poet still remembers his/her lover.      
5. The poet thinks s/he wanted a lot in life because s/he was in love.
  • The teacher and students discuss the answers together. 
  • Students express their ideas and show in which line they could find the answers.

Post-reading: (20 minutes)

  • The teacher writes some words from the poem on the board, including miss, memory, guess and kiss, forget, love, want.
  • The teacher gives student groups colored papers, scissors, and blue tack.
  • Using the words on the board, the teacher asks students to write a happy–ending love poem, this time in two stanzas, each with four lines. The teacher also asks students to find a title for their poems.
  • The teacher asks students to cut their papers in any shape they think will reflect their poems most. 
  • Students write their poems in their groups, shape their papers, and find a title. 
  • After they finish writing their poems, groups stick their poems on the walls around the class. 
  • Each group walks around the class and reads the poems on the walls. 
  • Students rate the poems in terms of shape and content. They express what they like most about the poems by other groups. (It is important that the teacher creates a welcoming atmosphere and appreciates all the poems.)


Finch, A. (2003). Using poems to teach English. English Language Teaching, 15 (2), 29–45.

The Kim Sisters- You can’t Have Everything

(The song could be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIGXsthdar0)

Stanza 1

1 Oh I wanted to love you

2Oh how I wanted to love you

3And now I have to do without you somehow

4‘Cause somebody else’s got you now

Stanza 2

5But you can’t have everything

6They say you can’t have everything

7And I guess I wanted everything

8When I wanted you

Stanza 3

9Then I wanted to kiss you

10Oh how I wanted to kiss you

11And now I just have to miss you somehow

12‘Cause somebody else is kissing you now

Stanza 4

13But you can’t have everything

14They say you can’t have everything

15And I guess I wanted everything

16When I wanted you

Stanza 5

17So I wanted to forget you

18Oh how I wanted to forget you

19And now I have to keep your memory somehow

20‘Cause I just can’t forget you now

Stanza 6

21But you can’t have everything

22They say you can’t have everything

23And I guess I wanted everything

24When I wanted you