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

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!

April 17

How To Trick Teens Into Thinking You’re Cool

The first time I ever felt old I was 22 years old..sad really, isn’t it? I was supervising an IT class in an East London school and one of the students was looking for information on Google.

“How d’ya spell Kanye West, miss?”

Well, having no idea as to what or who Kanye West was, I gave him a puzzled look, said, “I’m afraid I don’t know” and quickly walked away, feeling rather embarrassed and positively ancient.

Most teens love music and it’s a great resource for teachers to use in the EFL classroom. I try to use songs regularly with my teenage classes (gapfills, lines with extra words, ordering activities) and invite them to request the songs they want to hear. There are still times when they name a singer or group which is met with the same puzzled look I gave that boy five years ago, but I like to think I’m a little more up-to-date now than I was back then…