May 4

Missing Vowel Songs


Here’s another great idea I picked up from Wyn Parry’s Spellbound workshop in Lérida.  Give students the lyrics of a song, but with all the vowels missing.  They should then try to recreate the lyrics and work out what song it is.  Here’s an easy one to get you started…

Y__’r_ h_t th_n y__’r_ c_ld

Y__’r_ y_s th_n y__’r_ n_

Y__’r_ _n th_n y__’r_ __t

Y__’r_ _p th_n y__’r_ d_wn

Y__’r_ wr_ng wh_n _t’s r_ght

Y__’r_ bl_ck wh_n _t’s wh_t_

W_ f_ght, w_ br__k _p

W_ k_ss, w_ m_k_ _p

June 17

Potentially noisy, but fun and constructive

Another great idea from an eslprintables colleague, Lana, who has posted a video of her students doing conversation practice with a twist.

All the students sit in a circle facing outwards and must try and have a conversation with their partner, who is sitting opposite (are you still sitting opposite someone if youre back to back?).

It‘s a great way for students to hone their listening skills, though could be slightly disruptive in a larger class!

June 10

Working with Listening Texts

My advanced adult group are feeling fairly demotivated at the moment. They say that they aren’t seeing any improvement and they don’t like the new book because there’s a lot of informal and colloquial vocabulary and the listening texts are quite difficult. So, I’ve been trying different activities to make using the CD less of a chore for them (though more work for me!).

Today, there was a listening which contained three short conversations based around the topic of describing places. First, I asked them to listen and see if they could work out the relationship between the speakers in each case. By doing this, I wasn’t asking for any strenuous vocabulary work and they didn’t have to paticularly focus on what was being said.

In the second activity, I had typed up the three dialogues and cut each sentence up. The students had to work in pairs to order the dialogues, then we listened again to check. This gave them an opportunity to see the text, (although it had gaps in preparation for the third exercise) and get a better understanding of what was being said.

Having now heard the conversations twice, I gave them a sheet with all three dialogues on, though each had words missing. We listened to the CD again and they had to fill in the gaps, compare with their partners, then listen a second time. After that, they read out the dialogues in pairs and we checked their answers and looked at vocabulary and pronunciation.

In all, it took about an hour and they felt much happier by the end of it.

May 29

I See Something Pink

I’ve just been told about a great website with songs for Young Learners. The main page gives the list of songs on each CD and an idea of what they could be used to teach/practise.
If you feel up to singing without the CD, you can click to listen to an extract and get an idea of the tune.
May 22

Using Translation in Songs

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a great fan of using music in the classroom and my students often request songs they would like to work with.

The other day, I had a request for Broken Strings by James Morrison and Nelly Furtado. I already had the song, so I found the lyrics on elyrics and then sat down to decide what activity to do with it…

Order the verses?
Find the extra word?
Correct the mistakes?

I felt that I’d done each of these activities to the death and wanted to try something new. But what?

Well, my little brain was fortunately not feeling so frazzled that morning and inspiration came to me! I decided to do a gap-fill, but one which students had to complete before they listened to the song. Rather than putting the words they needed to complete at the bottom of the page, I chose to put the translation of the word after the gap.

When my students first saw the dictionaries, there was a groan but they actually got quite into the activity and enjoyed being able to fill in some gaps without needing to look the word up. We also looked at synonyms of some words and a couple of oh-so-fun false friends which I’d thrown in as well!