Songs and the English language




1. reflect upon the importance of songs in learning a foreign language
2. work on the language of songs
3. reflect upon idioms, both in English and in their own language, and make them realize how much of culture is involved in them


- groups of 4 students: each of a different nationality. (please write the names of your students in the wiki: (a new page should be created the page already exists (Ale)). Then we can group them at random personally I don't agree on this: I prefer to choose the students because not all of them are in a position to work this way. (Ale)

- I think they could use the mailbox and forum in twinspace for communication. Using the wiki will mean using another tool (aren’t there too many? What do you think about it?

- Tasks: create 2 worksheets to work on a song. One could be choosing a song among the list given ( for practising a grammar point) (see enclosed sheet here the acitivites already exist: I'd like my students to create new ones. They could choose a song which is in the charts in all countries (Ale)). The other could be on a song they choose and prepare a worksheet to practise vocabulary, or questions on the meaning of the song? I think they could do both the activities on the same song: first from a grammar point of view and then on content and discussion (Ale)I also think that all tasks should be done with the same song, we did similar activities with Pink Floyd's "High Hopes", were practising vocabulary and made a discussion. (Edita)//Tanya says:" I don't fully understand what 'create 2 worksheets' mean. I have already done this activity with my three classes - they worked in groups, chose a song, developed activities, gave a presentation, created exercises for the class to work on. If I get it right, the purpose is both to create activities around a song(e.g. gap-filling, grammar review, discussion, etc), and to trial this activity - I am strongly in favor of this trialing the activities in class, and then sharing the outcomes, revising, reflecting. If we decide to do this, then the groups need to suggest steps to be followed in the lesson. Bt the end of this phase we would have compiled a list of songs with activities for classroom use, which should contain 'teacher's notes' about the procedure(the 'teachers' are the students who will be 'teaching' their peers. I have begun to upload some of our work in the blog, will continue to do it(we have some technical problems)."

- They then can publish the worksheets in the international blog or maybe twinspace and then the rest of the students can do them and comment them on the blog. I suggest publishing them in the wiki - we can do it ourselves - and then comment on the blog (Ale)In my opinion, commenting in an international blog is easier.(Edita)
- Schedule: from 17th Nov till Xmas break (we end on the 19th Dec here in Spain) for the worksheets to be published and then in January for doing and commenting them?

- I’m enclosing:

• list of songs with grammar point (you can add some more)
• SONG: Fix You sung by Coldplay (Practice: Simple Present)
• SONG: Things I'll Never Say sung by Avril Lavigne (Practice: Simple present & present continuous)
• SONG: Tubthumper sung by Chumbawumba (Practice: simple present)
• SONG: In The Ghetto sung by Elvis Presley (Practice: simple present & present continuous)
• SONG: No More I Love Yous sung by Annie Lennox
• SONG: Goodbye My Lover sung by James Blunt
• SONG: We Are The Champions sung by Queen (Practice: Present Perfect)
• STORY for beginners by Carl Boarder entitled Mr. Hungry (Practice: Simple Past)
• GAPPED TEXT: Story by Ben Whitmarsh entitled Driven To… (Practice: Simple Past (active/passive), Past Continuous, Past Perfect)
• FIND SOMEONE WHO…. : (Practice: Present Perfect x2)
• SONG: I Don't Want To Talk About It sung by Rod Stewart
• SONG: Lemar
• SONG: With A Little Help From My Friends sung by The Beatles
• SONG: Do You Want To Know A Secret sung by The Beatles
• SONG: Things We Said Today sung by The Beatles
• SONG: With A Little Help From My Friends sung by The Beatles

• how to prepare a worksheet about a song (for students)

• worksheets to work on different language points.

For practising listening skills:


A) Leave out words in blank. Students listen and fill in with the right word.
- words at random
- last words in the line (rhyme)
- verbs

B) Change a word for another which sounds similar. Students have to identify the incorrect words and change with the actual ones.

C) Write extra words. Students have to identify them and cross them out.

D) Order the lines in each stanza.

Make sure that YOU understand the words you want the others to understand!
Choose ballads or slow songs which are easier to follow.
Choose songs with not many complicated words.
Remember students should have time to listen and write! Not too many blanks…

For practising grammar:


A) decide on a grammar point to work on: i.e. leave out all the verbs in the past simple tense, or the possessive adjectives…

B) Find instances in the song about a certain grammar point: ie. Find an instance of a verb used as subject…

For practising vocabulary:


A) focus on vocabulary related to a topic: ie. Clothes, health…

B) find words in the song which match the definitions

For oral practise:

A) choose a song which deals with a topic and ask questions about it: i.e. child abuse…

Please, add your ideas and suggestions in the wiki. I’ve got many more songs. I love using them in the classroom, and so do my students. I have been using them for years so I’ve piled up quite a lot! But I’m sure you have some too. Mine are only to be used as samples of how to create a worksheet.


analyse how many English words related to music are common in your language. Find out also in articles from magazines or papers and make a billboard
Are pop/rock songs a good way to learn English. Why?/why not?
- rhythm: tune stays in your mind (easy to remember) /repetitions
- colloquial/natural English
- …
Explain own experiences.
Find out a song in English which has helped you learn some aspects of the English grammar/vocabulary (collocations, phrases, idioms…) and prepare a worksheet with some activities for your partners to work on


We can ask them to prepare a list of songs, then choose the ones that are common to the groups, so that students can work together. They could use a new page, to write down their ideas. Anybody can edit the page and enrich it. We could have as many groups as the songs they have in common. We will of course prepare some worksheets for them to use as a guide in their work.
I have prepared one. You can click on the "files" button below and have a look.


2) Songs and the English language:
Another group of students from each country develops this strand of the project. The students will:
a) share personal experiences with learning English through song. They will publish these personal stories, and the other students can comment or add theirs too.
b) make up a glossary of English words related to music and/or common music terms (translated into each language – optional)
(e.g. tune, rhythm, beat), common abbreviations/colloquialisms, idioms, catch phrases
c) publish links to sites related to songs as a means of learning English(articles, forums)
d) work out handouts for an interactive way of doing songs in the English language classroom( a lesson plan with prodecure/activities)
e) make a list of their commonly agreed 10 top songs for learning English

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