Songs to Teach English: Connecting Videos, Narratives and Songs Creatively


This song-based activity lesson plan for English language teaching features the songs ‘Clementine’ by Halsey,Your Lightby the Big Moon and ‘South of the Borderby Ed Sheeran feat Camila Cabello  & Cardi B, and their official music videos. Students talk about music videos and do a matching exercise with videos and song extracts, write a short narrative based on the videos and choose a theme song, read the lyrics of a song, watch music videos and make comparisons.

Language level: B1 and above
Learner type: All ages
Skills: speaking, reading, listening and writing
Topic: Music Videos and comparisons
Language: Vocabulary related to music videos, songs, expressing opinions and making comparisons
Materials: Youtube/ Vimeo videos, and mp3 files
Duration: 1 hour - 1h 30 min
Downloadable materialsinstructions.pdf; videos.mp4 Song extracts mp3; QR codes Lyrics.pdf 

PART 1 – Warm-up  + Video Match

Step 1

Ask your students to think about their favorite music video. Why do they like it? What are the characteristics of a good music video? Have students share their answers as a class. Write some ideas on the board. 

Step 2.

Video matchTell your students they are going to work with videos and song extracts. Tell them to imagine they are video editors and their task is to choose 3 different songs for three videos. This part is to be done individually. You can use this nice presentation made with  (OBS. if you have no access to the Internet in your classes, you can use the individual mp3 and mp4 files in the downloadable materials section).

Step 3.

Explaining their choicesIn pairs, students share their choices and their reasons. After some time, have the pairs share their differences.

PART 2 – Video Narrative + Song Theme

Step 4.

Divide the class into trios. Now, students are going to write a short narrative which connects the three videos, in any order they want. They must also choose one of the three song extracts to be the theme song of their narrative. Give them 10 – 15 min to do that.

In the video below, you can see this step in action with my Cambridge English First Prep Students:

 Step 5. 

LyricsAfter the time’s up, project the qr codes with the complete lyrics of each of the three song extracts, so that the students can access the lyrics to their theme songs. (link in downloadable materials)

Tell them, they are now going to read the lyrics of their theme song, and based on their short narratives, they are going to choose 1 verse or one line from the lyrics that matches their narrative.

Step 6.

The trios present and explain their narratives to class saying which song they chose as the theme song and also the verse they think matches it. After the first presentation, have another group which chose the same song to present next.

Step 7.

After all groups have presented their narratives, if you still have some time left, go on to part 3. If not, assign it for homework.

PART 3  – Music Videos + Comparisons

Step 8.

Play the music videos of the three song extracts. As students watch them, they must answer the following questions:

  1. Is the official music video of your theme song similar to your narrative in any way? Explain. If the music video is different, in which way? Explain.
  2. What did you think of the other music videos? Do you think that their images could match your story in any way? If so, how?

After you play each video, give them some time to discuss the questions.

When all the videos have been played, have students share their answers and have a class discussion




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That’s it for this week! I hope this activity is helpful and enjoyable! 



Happy teaching!  🙂

The Song Activity Factory presents:

Innovative, Practical and Useful Ideas for ELT Professionals Who Believe in the Power of Songs to Teach English!


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