Sunday 16 January 2011

Teaching English through songs in the digital age (part 3 of 4): Specific songs and their uses

It´s now time for part 3 of the series which summarizes the #ELTchat from Jan 12th about Teaching English through songs: activities, resources and benefits of using songs for teaching.

Specific songs and their uses

  1. Shakira´s “Fool” to look at words that share the same sounds.
  2. “Anything you can do I can do better” for the comparative.
  3. Katy Perry’s “Firework” to tackle a taboo subject.
  4. A modals (for prediction) song is “The ballad of Billy Jo” – there’s a version by Sinead O’Connor.
  5. “Eternal Flame” by the Bangles with Elementary level  -great present continuous, miming actions and body vocabulary practice.
  6. For beginners get them to write new verse for “Don’t know much” song – good fun.
  7. “Hello Goodbye” by The Beatles with beginners. I often ask them to write an extra verse.
  8. A lesson where I used a song video to help teach vocabulary & grammar (likes and dislikes).
  9. A blog post on using “Pencil full of lead” (the vid is superb for an EFL class).
  10. Activities to work on pronunciation, as this one with “Bizarre Love Triangle”.
  11. To practise present perfect continuous this song by Foreigner is great. Do A/B close gap activity.
  12. Karaoke Lady Gaga’s "Bad romance" .
  13. "Mad World" with multiple visuals: video 1, video 2 and video 3 .
  14. Bob Dylan and Billy Bragg are great for stimulating discussions about issues.
  15. “Taxman” by The Beatles to teach the comparative.
  16. Great lesson on articles with “Penny Lane”.
  17. “She’s leaving Home” for hard to find narratives.
  18. Great new lesson plan on based on a “How deep is the ocean”.
  19. "In the ghetto" would be an Elvis number I would pick.
  20. Funny songs like “If I had a million dollars” by Barenaked Ladies are great for conditionals type 2.
  21. A great 2nd conditional song is “When I win the lottery” by Camper Van Beethoven.
  22. Black Eyes Peas´ “Where is the Love” is a song teens love…but tough to sing.  I challenge them to sing it from beginning to end for credits.
  23. “Lucy in The Sky With Diamonds” is good for teaching prepositions.
  24. Pub song “Show me the way to go home” to introduce Language Varieties.
  25. Chumbawumba’s “Add me” is great for teens. You can have a seriously good discussion about internet safety afterwards.
  26. Ask students to compare this video of “American Pie” (broken link) with either the movie or this other video.
  27. “Take a bow” by Rihanna is good for showbiz vocabulary.
  28. “Cosmic” by Jamiroquai is good for space vocabulary.
  29. "Spanish Train" or "Patricia the Stripper" by Chris de Burgh are good story songs.
  30. This video  of “Someday” by Nickelback is also great for starting a discussion as the end of it is quite surprising. 
  31. Album ‘The Boy Bands Have Won’ some great story songs. Also Folk songs.
  32. Australian singer/songwriter Paul Kelly has lots of great story-songs, but may be ‘too Australian’ for anywhere else.
  33. For "Young Hearts" give lyrics, ask them to devise video clip THEN play it – music big contrast to words.
  34. Paul Kelly – very Oz.
  35. Daniel Powter for story songs,  his videos anyway "Free Loop" and "Bad Day".
  36. Re: story songs  Sterephonics – ‘I stopped to fill my car up’ .
  37. Re: story songs: “The Cruel War” by Peter Paul & Mary, “Spanish is the Loving Tongue” by Michael Martin Murphey.
  38. There might be a (long) lesson in Dylan’s “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts”.
  39. Alanis Morisette´s “Hand in my pocket” and “You Learn” are great for opposites and actions, respectively.
  40. To punctuate “In The Ghetto” and “Bang Bang My Baby Shot Me Down”.
  41. “Conjunction Junction” not designed for foreign learners but still works. 
  42. Michael Bublé video “Just haven’t met you yet” as a writing prompt for retelling.
  43. Alanis Morisette´s “Ironic”a great video to accompany this song for advanced learners is   – Ed Byrne (comedian).
  44. I use this version of “In the ghetto” to demo importance of working on your pronunciation.
  45. David Deubelbeiss´ #1 activity .
  46. “Lemon tree” animation video. Check these amazing ideas by @evab2001!
  47. “Jealous Guy” – John Lennon for Past Continuous and relationships.
  48. “United Breaks Guitars” is another great storytelling song as well.
  49. ‘Ode to Billy Jo’  video  – comments full of great discussion material.
Again it´s amazing to see how much information was shared in one hour over the #ELTchat! The last part of the series is coming soon...

Note: There´s a broken link in #26. Will try to fix it ASAP


    1. Dear Vicky,

      Thanks for the great summary of eltchat. I couldn't participate that one but wrote a post on the subject previously. These 3 posts will be a wonderful reference for teachers.


    2. Thanks for the summary Vicky:)

      Great list of activities that could be done with our Ss.