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Geoff Watson I wanted to use this assignment to
I wanted to use this assignment to compile a list of practical classroom activities that are used in conjunction with songs.
The sources where I have found these teaching ideas are;
Dave's ESL Caf'www.eslcafe.com Isabel's ESL Sitewww.isabelperez.com
The most common exercise derived from the lyrics of a song was a 'Fill in the Blank' activity. E.g.
Every Breath you take by the Police
Every breath you .......... Every move you ........ Every bond you break Every step you ........... I´ll be watching you Every single day Every word .................. Every game ..................... Every night you .......... I´ll be .................... Oh can´t you ......... You belong to ........ How my poor heart aches With every step you take Every ................. Every vow you break Every smile you fake Every claim you stake Since you´ve gone I´ve been lost without a trace I dream at night I can only see your ........... I look around but it´s you I can´t replace I feel so cold and I long for your embrace I keep crying baby .............. Every move you ........ Every step you ........... I´ll be watching you
This teacher has chosen to use words that are involved with the rhyming scheme of the lyrics. This song also provides an excellent list of simple verbs, even though the context in which the verbs are being used is quite complex. Depending on the lyrics of the song, instructors can select from any of the different parts of speech or grammar to fit the level of their students as well as the content of their lesson.
The teacher has also used the words from this song to create a phonetics activity. E.g.
In which of the following words is the letter (a) pronounced differently than the others' 1) take, make, watching, aches, fake,
2) trace, replace, stake, baby, can't, embrace
Which (e) sound is different'
1) see, step, me, dream, belong
The number of words pronounced with a long (a) sound in this song is 14! That is a significant amount of receptive or expressive practice accomplished by playing and singing the song just once.
For a second example, I wanted to show the work of this teacher, who created several exercises from this song.
The Logical Song by Supertramp.
When I was young It seemed that life was so wonderful A miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical And all the birds in the trees Well they'd be singing so happily Oh joyfully, oh playfully watching me But then they sent me away To teach me how to be sensible Logical, oh responsible ,practical And they showed me a world Where I could be so dependable Oh clinical, oh intellectual, cynical There are times when all the worlds asleep The questions run too deep For such a simple man Won't you please, please tell me what we've learned I know it sounds absurd But please tell me who I am Now watch what you say Or they'll be calling you a radical A liberal, oh fanatical, criminal Oh won't you sign up your name We'd like to feel you're Acceptable, respectable, oh presentable, a vegetable!
At night when all the worlds asleep The questions run too deep For such a simple man Won't you please, please tell me what we´ve learned I know it sounds absurd But please tell me who I am, who I am ,who I am. The first exercise involves the students reading the words from the song that have been written out with Phonemic Symbols
/´sens'bl/________________ /rIs´pekt'bl/ ______________ /rI s: ´p o n s' b l /________________ /p r I : ´ze nt ' b l / ________________ /d I : p e n d ' bl / ________________ /v ed Z t ' b l / ________________ /' k´ s e p t ' b l / ________________
The second exercise asks the student to match the words with their definition. '''''''''''.: someone you can be sure that they will always act consistently or sensibly. '''''''''''.: a person who is able to do good decisions and judgments based on reason '''''''''''.: Someone who is approved of by society and considered to be morally correct '''''''''''.: A very sick or disabled person '''''''''''.: someone who is good enough '''''''''''.: people who behave properly and sensibly '''''''''''.: Someone who looks tidy or attractive
For a third activity the teacher has asked the students to sort the list of words that can be used as adjectives, from the song, into negative or positive groups (+ive) dependable, sensible, respectable, acceptable, responsible (- ive) fanatical, radical, criminal, clinical, cynical Other examples of creating exercises from the lyrics included.
a) Scrambling the sentences. b) Substituting words with invented ones. c) Mixing the lyrics from two different songs together. d) Asking the students to take a few words from the lyrics to make a different sentence. e) Creating a bingo board that the students can fill in as they listen to a song. f) Put scrambled words from a line back in order, and then listen to check if it was done correctly. g) Put the lines of the chorus in order, and then listen to check if it was done correctly. h) To write questions that can be answered by each line and ask the students to listen for the answers. i) To play partial lines of a song and ask the students to predict the missing rhyming words
Many of the teachers reported that they used songs to illicit topics for discussion, to highlight emotions and feelings, to inspire creative writing. Others spoke of how they use the lyrics of songs to provide the class with examples of idiomatic and slang speech. One teacher has used the idea of having the students write appropriate dedications to individuals for songs that they know. The teacher linked a matching exercise with this and also invited the students to phone an English radio station to request the song and dedication! Another example was shared by a teacher who chooses songs that pertain to certain historic events.
E.g. U2´s "Pride." for Martin Luther King Jr.´s birthday.
Teachers also recommended songs with lyrics that were entertaining to physically act out.
E.g. 'Hello Goodbye.' by the Beatles, 'Stop in the Name of Love.' by Dianna Ross and the Supremes and 'Bye, Bye, Bye.' from NSYNC
Finally, I wanted to include another example of an active session involving the use of a song:
The teacher places 10-15 words from a song and writes them individually onto big strips of paper or cardboard. The words are read out a placed up randomly on the board with blue tack. The students stand up and form two lines or teams that are facing the board. The task for the first person in line is to listen for those words and grab them off the board when they hear them before their competitor does. The rest of the team can help by calling out the word if they hear it. When a word is successfully grabbed, the winner returns to the end of their team's line and brings their competitor with them.
The examples above show just how valuable a learning assist songs can be to the classroom. By their very nature they promote practice and repetition. They are comprised of so many of the components that make up language and are specially suited to provide any number of examples of usage. They are powerful motivators for participation. Songs illicit emotions and can communicate sophisticated concepts in a clear and accessible way.