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I've seen lots of colleagues interested in using songs in the

classroom. I've been doing so for many years and think I have
a few ideas to share as an alternative to the "good-old fill-in-
the-blanks" type of exercise.

We always start songs by doing some global listening activity


which includes giving learners a few words from the lyrics and
asking them to make a sentence, or fill in a bingo board and
then we listen to the song and check the words we hear. Once
students are in the mood, I use different tasks for the
different stanzas which include:

- put words in order, then listen and check


- put the lines of the stanza in order, then listen and check
- spot words which are "spelled wrong"
- spot missing words in a line
- spot extra words in a line
- break up each line in two, jumble the sentences and do a
matching exercise
- Write questions for each line and ask learners to suggest an
answer (in full) then listen and check
- predict rhyming words

The emphasis is always on task-based learning. I give learners


a purpose to listen to the song and capitalize on their previos
knowledge, their predictions and guesses. As a follow up I give
learners time to read the
lyrics in detail, do some reading comp rehension exercises and
may include roleplay, or response or creative writing so as to
integrate as much language expression as possible.

Hope these ideas are useful. Would love to hear from anyone
offering feedback on them!

Bingo is a fun, engaging activity that can be used with songs


and raise your learners' awareness of language points.

1. Which songs will work? Any song with lyrics will do. You
don't even need to use a complete song. Sometimes a few
verses is enough. You can choose a song that contains a
language focus that meets your the needs of your class. It's
also nice to find a song that is
appropriate to your learners' interests.

2. How big should the bingo cards be? The best bingo cards
for an achievable activity are 4 boxes by 4 boxes (ie, 16 boxes
altogether).
This way there is enough challenge, but it doesn't take too
long for the learners to have a chance to win.

3. What can go in the boxes? Fill the boxes with whatever


language
focus your class needs. Some possibilities are:
individual vocabulary words,
multi-word chunks,
grammar structures,
phonemes,
consonant clusters,
and anything else you can think of!

4. How many winning cards should be made? It's nice if there


is a winning combination on all the cards so each student has a
chance to win. Also, you can have multiple winners that way.

5. When can bingo be played in the lesson? Anytime, really. It


can be a great warmer or back up. Or it can be used to help
practice or
clarify the language during the meat of the lesson. It could
even be used to help set the scene for the rest of the lesson.
Flexibility

I've been teaching popsongs for more than one year and I had
to teach a different one each week, so imagine how many
songs I've done already. You DO have to be careful what kind
of songs to use especially for teenagers or yongsters (if you
don't want their parents to flip). There were some songs that
worked really well for my class.

Ironic-Alanis
Pretend to be nice; You Don't See Me- Josie and the
Pussycats
I believe I can fly- R. Kelly
YMCA- Village People
Video Killed the Radio Star- Presidents of the USA
Mirror Mirror; Everything- M2M
Crush- Mandy Moore
Uptown Girl- Billy Joel and Westlife
Lucky- Britney Spears
Unpretty- TLC
When You Look At Me- Christina Millian (excellent song to
talk about prejudice and stuff)
All You Wanted, Everywhere- Michelle Branch
Never Too Far- Mariah Carey
A Thousand Miles- Vanessa Carlton
Separated- Usher (Great Metaphores? May be a little corny ;-
)
Choose your favourite song of the moment. Type up the lyrics on your computer so that you can
print out the lines in strips, like this:

......................................................................
This is the first line of my favourite song.
......................................................................
This is the second line
......................................................................

Then cut the strips up, shuffle them and distribute them around the class. If you know your
students well the stronger ones can have more strips and the weaker ones fewer strips.

Place a large table in the centre of the room. Tell the students that when they here the lines
they have printed on their strips of paper they must stand up and place them in the correct
place on the table. Do this just before a break and the ones who don't get rid of their strips
pay for the coffee. OK? Give it a try and see how it goes.

I tried this a couple of weeks ago with a basic class, they


seemed to enjoy it and practiced my target areas of
vocabulary and grammar.
Make a cassette tape with several (5 to 7) samples of music
from one to two minutes long (if the samples are much longer,
your students will probably get bored; shorter and they won't
have enough time to talk about the selections).

Get a large map of the world and have your students try to
guess where the music they are hearing came from (by the
way...use a wide variety of musical samples--not just from
England or America, and not just pop). When a student makes
a guess, let them know how far off he or she is; "It's very far
from there." or "It's close...go West" etc.

When the correct country has been found, get your student's
opinions of the music, have them tell you what kind of music it
is and how it makes them feel (happy, sad, nervous and so on).

This is a good warm up conversational activity. Without prelude, put on a nice piece of
instrumental music and give each student a blank piece of paper and tell them to draw
whatever comes to their mind. Let them go for a couple of minutes, until they have created a
good base for their drawings, then grab each paper and give it to another student. Tell them to
continue drawing on their new picture. Do this two or three times. With the music still playing,
take all of the pictures and lay them out on the floor. Have all of the students come to the
front and choose the drawing they like best. (With a large class, you can have them do this as a
group.) Then tell the students to tell the story of their picture.
My favorite piece to use is the untitled hidden track at the end of the 10,000 Maniacs disc
The Earth Pressed Flat, but any pretty instrumental would be appropiate.

I love to sing songs when I teach little kids vocabulary of body


parts. My favorite one is "One finger one thumb keep moving".
The song goes:
5555555--2--
"One finger one thumb keep mov--ing.
7777777--5--
One finger one thumb keep mov--ing.
........
2222222--771
One finger one thumb keep mov---ing. And we
..
2-17765---
all are happy to- day."

The best part of using this song is teachers can substitute


"finger" and "thumb" with any other body part words that
they are teaching. Kids have to point or show the body parts
that are named in the song, and they have to make a silly
movement with those parts while singing "... keep moving".(And
belive me, they LOVE to move!)
I found kids in my class all love this kind of vocabulary
pracitice. And actually, this song can make them connect the
pronunciation and the meaning very quickly because they are
learning not only with their ears and mouths but with their all
body parts. Moreover, the kids don't mind repeating the
words when they sing the song because it is much more fun
than doing dull repetitions. And they get to do some exercise
in their classroom which can really motivate their learning in
the following time.
It works wonderfully for me! Why not try it in your class?

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