Sunday, 9 January 2011

Number One

Original Idea: Guido

It's 75 years since Billboard published the first music chart. In this activity students create their own personal number one of everything.

What to do

1. Write the name 'Billboard' on the board. Do the students recognize the name? What do they know about Billboard? It's a weekly American music magazine that is famous for its music charts which started on January 4, 1936. The Billboard Hot 100 ranks the top 100 songs regardless of genre and is based on CD sales, digital sales and radio airplay. Can any students guess what's number one on the Billboard top 100 this week?

2. Tell students they're going to create their own top 10 chart. Write “The Numer One of Everything” on the board. Tell students they are going to compile their own list of number ones. Give them copies of the activity page. Students can draw and/or write the name of their favourite food, book, and so on, in the appropriate space on the page. They then compare and explain the reasons for their preferences in small groups.

Note: You might have to explain that a pin-up is someone who is usually attractive and appears in photographs and posters that people put up on their walls.

3. Explain that you want students to put their 10 number one choices in an order of preference to create their personal Top 10. What will they put at the top of the chart? Their chosen place, CD or food? Students do the activity, writing their top 10 on a piece of paper. Invite some students to read out the top 3 items on their list.

4. If you have access to the Internet, ask students to visit the Billboard website ( to find out which song is number one in the Hot 100 chart and which album is top of the Billboard 200 album chart. They can also listen to part of the songs at the site and find out how long they've been in the charts.

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