Song: If I Had a Million Dollars Worksheet & Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan for “If I Had a Million Dollars” by The Barenaked Ladies

Lesson Duration: 32-48 minutes

ESL Level: lower intermediate and intermediate

Grammar Focus: second conditional

Required Materials: worksheet & fill the blanks lyric sheet (found in million-dollars-lesson.doc), MP3 or video of the song

Notes: This song should be taught after teaching the second conditional.

Warm-up Activity (5-10 minutes)

Question for small groups: Can money buy love?

Put students in groups or pairs and ask them to discuss the above question. When finished, ask each group to share their ideas with the class. I reserved the question “What would you do if you had a million dollars?” for a post-listening activity.

Pre-listening Activity (10 minutes)

Have students do Part 1 of the worksheet (see link above).

Activity preview:

If I had a million dollars vocabulary matching activity

Go over answers with class when students are finished.


  1. I only focused on 8 words that I thought were useful for understanding the story. There are other more obscure words (e.g. ottoman) that I left out.
  2. I did not include a picture of John Merrick’s head. I merely mentioned that he was a man, from England, who had a disease. People called him ‘the elephant man’ because he looked different. His skeleton was also different.
  3. Kraft Dinner is a cheap pasta-based product that is very popular in Canada.

Listening Activity (8-15 minutes)

Continue to Part 2 of the above worksheet and ask students listen and complete the gaps in the lyrics (fill in the blanks). They will probably need to listen twice. Encourage students to sing along if a second listen is required.

When finished, go over the song lyrics as a class.


  1. Chesterfield is a Canadian English word. Nowadays, most Canadians use the word couch or sofa instead.
  2. Michael Jackson, a person who had a million dollars, apparently bought John Merrick’s remains and also had a monkey. That is where these references come from.
  3. The line “But not a real green dress that’s cruel” is a joke.

Singing (4-8 minutes)

Sing once or twice (depending on enthusiasm levels) as a class. I usually ask my students to stand up when they sing. If you’ll see the students again the next day (or next week), singing it once might be enough. Then you can sing it again in the next class.

Production Activity (5 minutes)

First, give your students a minute to think about what they would do if they had a million dollars.

Then arrange everyone in a circle. As a teacher, you can start by saying (or singing!) “If I had a million dollars, I would [buy a big apartment].” Then ask the student to your left to continue. If your lucky, the students will say it melodically. If they just say it though, that’s fine.

As an interesting note, The Barenaked Ladies made their first million dollars by writing this song.

The end.

teaching english current wave

Here are the song lyrics:


If I had a $1,000,000 (If I had a $1,000,000 )
I’d buy you a house ( I would buy you a house

If I had a $1,000,000 (If I had a $1,000,000 )
I’d buy you furniture for your house ( maybe a nice chesterfield or an ottoman)

If I had a $1,000,000 (If I had a $1,000,000 )
I’d buy you a K-car ( a nice reliant automobile)
If I had a $1,000,000, I’d buy your love

If I had a $1,000,000,
I’d build a treefort in our yard
If I had a $1,000,000,
you could help it wouldn’t be that hard

If I had a $1,000,000,
maybe we could put a little tiny fridge in there somewhere

(We could just go up there and hang out
Like open the fridge and stuff, and there’d all be foods laid out for us
Like little pre-wrapped sausages and things

They have pre-wrapped sausages
But they don’t have pre-wrapped bacon
Well, can you blame them?
If I had a $1,000,000 (If I had a $1,000,000 )
I’d buy you a fur coat ( but not a real fur coat — that’s cruel)

If I had a $1,000,000 (If I had a $1,000,000 )
I’d buy you an exotic pet (like a llama or an emu)

If I had a $1,000,000 (If I had a $1,000,000 )
I’d buy you John Merrick’s remains (All them crazy elephant bones)

If I had a $1,000,000, I’d buy your love

If I had a $1,000,000, we wouldn’t have to walk to the store
If I had a $1,000,000, we’d take a limosine ‘cause it costs more
If I had a $1,000,000, we wouldn’t have to eat Kraft Dinner

(But we would eat Kraft Dinner,
Of course we would, we’d just eat more
And buy really expensive ketchups with it
That’s right, all the fanciest Dijon ketchups… mmmmm)

If I had a $1,000,000 (If I had a $1,000,000 )
I’d buy you a green dress ( but not a real green dress that’s cruel)
If I had a $1,000,000 (If I had a $1,000,000 )
I’d buy you some art ( A Picasso or a Garfunkel)
If I had a $1,000,000 (If I had a $1,000,000 )
I’d buy you a monkey (haven’t you always wanted a monkey?)

If I had a $1,000,000, I’d buy your love
If I had a $1,000,000 If I had a $1,000,000 If I had a $1,000,000
If I had a $1,000,000, I’d be rich!


– Matthew Barton /

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