Hand in My Pocket: ESL Pop English class

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This is a great song that I found many years ago. I noticed that this is on the web in many variations, so I figured I would share my variation. If you like this song, you might also like her Ironic song as well. Students sometimes have a hard time when she twists and mumbles certain lyrics, but this one is relatively easy except for the last few lines.

When you do this, have the students first try to figure out the blanks themselves. Some might do quite well. Then you play the song, and they try to fill in the blanks. The little twist I have added to this exercise is to have students create their own songs using the format that is in this song. If your students really get into it, they might actually sing portions.

Here is the song, and the picture below is also linked.

Hand in my pocket ESL pop English


a) Fill in the blanks with the correct words from the right.
b) Circle the correct expressions in the chorus parts.
c) Guess what the singer is going to say in some lines.
d) Listen and check.

I’m broke but I’m _____________                             grounded
I’m poor but I’m  _____________                              hopeful
I’m short but I’m _____________ yeah                     overwhelmed
I’m high but I’m _____________                               happy
I’m sane but I’m _____________                              healthy
I’m lost but I’m _____________baby!                         kind

What it all comes down to Is that everything’s gonna be ___(circle the correct choice below)__
a) fine fine fine b) nice nice nice c) quite alright

‘Cause I’ve got one hand in
a) my pocket b) on my hips c) clasped in front

And the other is giving a _________
a) peace sign b) high five

I feel drunk but I’m _____________                                 working
I’m young and I’m _____________                                    sorry
I’m tired but I’m, _____________ yeah!                              gone
I care but I’m _____________                                            underpaid
I’m here but I’m really _____________                              restless
I’m wrong and I’m _____________baby!                              sober

What it all comes down to Is that everything’s gonna be _________
a)fine fine fine b) nice nice nice c) quite alright

‘Cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is __________
a)giving a peace sign b) flicking a cigarette c) playing the piano

What it all comes down to
Is that I haven’t got it all figured out just yet
‘Cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is __(guess what she is doing)_______

I’m free but I’m _____________                                        friendly
I’m green but I’m_____________,                                      pretty
I’m hard but I’m _____________ baby                               focused
I’m sad but I’m _____________                                        chicken shit
I’m brave but I’m _____________                                      laughing
I’m sick but I’m _____________baby                                  wise

And what it all boils down to
It’s that no one’s really got it figured out just yet
But I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other is ________________________________

What it all comes down to my friends, yeah
Is that everything’s just fine fine fine
‘Cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket

And the other is ________________________________

Lyrics by Alanis Morissette; music by Glen Ballard and Alanis Morissette
From Jagged Little Pill, 1995


Now make up your own versions of the song:

The song uses mainly adjectives but you may want to use verbs. If you are unsure if your sentence is correct, ask your teacher for help.

I’m ____________________ but I’m _________________

I’m ____________________ and I’m _________________

I ____________________ but I _________________

I’m ____________________ and I’m _________________

I’m ____________________ but I’m _________________

I ____________________ and I _________________

‘Cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket and the other is

singing ESL pop English Class

A Fun Class for Listening and Creating Self-Introductions

My students first felt overwhelmed at the second part but as they go into it they really did a great job. I remember I once ran out of time and had to give that last part as homework for students to complete. As long as they realize that you will indeed go over homework in the next class the results will be amazing!

I remember one of the best phrases was, ” I study English, but I still can’t speak.” and then he belted out a, “Baby!” just like Alanis does in the song. The big thing is that they can tell a little about themselves in a fun and creative manner.

I hope that this class is both fun and educational and that your students get creative with it. I had times when they started off slow, but exercises like this sparked their minds and got them in the mood for making fresh ideas and sharing with each other. As always, have fun and be creative.

~ Jim

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