“Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought.” E. Y. Harburg
Song Activity Factory came to life mainly to help English language teaching professionals who feel that music in the form of songs surely has a fitting place in the ELT classroom. However, trying to find a ready-made song activity that features neither an ‘ancient’ song nor the most boring – and dreaded by students – type of exercise: gap filling, is time-consuming and mostly fruitless.
The song-based activities and lesson plans you find at Song activity Factory aim to motivate and engage students in a creative and fun way. In this post, you will see 5 ideas plus examples of song-based activities you can use to make your students speak more.
1. Use related quotes, song titles or opinions
Sometimes, the best way to get students talking is to fire them up with either some controversial quotes, good song titles that give way to multiple interpretations, or even some extracts from the lyrics that are sure to catch their interest.
2. Use related images or music video stills
A good picture is worth a thousand words, as they say, and in this case, it can be the reason for precious words coming from your students! A carefully chosen picture that has a connection to the theme of the song you are going to use, can serve as a great speaking motivator. Good music videos are scarce, but every now and then, a good one comes out whose story and images fit like a glove to get your students creating stories and speaking a lot in the process.
3. Challenge them as a team
Students love the opportunity to interact with each other. Having them work in teams with a song is sure to break the ice and the routine.
4. Make them move
Every opportunity you give your students to be able to move in class is sure to bring energy to everyone involved! Movement instantly brings energy to anything you want to do, and the more energy they have, the easier it is to get them to speak.
5. Pair them wisely
Pair work has the magical effect of making students more confident when it is time to share their ideas with the whole class. This can be much more effective if you pair shy students with other shy students. This works much better than pairing a talkative student with a shy one who will happily let the other monopolize the conversation. Additionally, pairing shy students together will force them to say something. It is worth trying, you may be surprised with the results!
These are just a few ideas that could be adapted in a way that is sure to turn those English teaching moments into enjoyable, motivating and fun experiences for your students, no matter where in the world you teach!
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