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Like many teachers of the English language (ELL, ESL, EFL), I like to enrich my lessons with popular songs. On this site, you’ll find:

  • A list of over 200 classroom-friendly songs, organized by theme
  • Song-based activities
  • Lesson plan ideas for songs in two categories: Recent Hits and Classic Hits
  • Stories behind the songs, written at the beginning and high-beginning levels and reproducible for classroom use. These stories are available only on this site and are not in the textbooks listed below. Some stories have audio recordings and pre-reading animated drawings.
  • Updates on Facebook: This site now has a companion Facebook page, where I’ll post notifications of newly added songs, activities, and lesson plans.

The songs and activities coordinate with the lessons in True Stories Behind the Songs (a beginning reading textbook) and More True Stories Behind the Songs (a high-beginning reading textbook), but they would work with other materials and curricula as well.

***  New in August 2016  ***

  • The song “My Girl,” added to the List of Songs page under the theme “Being in Love.” While listening to musicians sing this 1965 song on a street in France last spring, two things struck me: that “My Girl” has held up really well over the years, and that the lyrics are appropriate for English language learners. Later I realized that the song has another quality: It repeats the phrase I’ve got. For an interactive worksheet that gives students practice saying I’ve got it and I’ve got ’em, please see Activity #4: Building a Lesson Around a Repeated Phrase. Scroll to the end of the page for the exercise. 8/22/16
  • A reproducible exercise that gives students practice pronouncing “I’ve got to” as “I gotta” in informal spoken English. Accompany the worksheet with the song “You Gotta Be” (Des’ree, 1994), which repeats the title phrase 37 times. Please see Activity #4: Building a Lesson Around a Repeated Phrase. Scroll to the end of the page for the exercise. If you use Azar and Hagen’s Basic English Grammar, this song + activity would be a nice follow-up to the exercises on have to and has to beginning on p. 388 in the Fourth Edition. 8/15/16

***  New in July 2016  ***

  • The song “Lost Boy” (Ruth B.). Added on the List of Songs page under the theme “Friendship.” (The songwriter says her song is about being lonely and needing a friend.) The song is appropriate for all classrooms, as is the official video. You’ll find lesson plan ideas on the Lesson Plans page. The lesson plans include the story behind the song (the songwriter is a Canadian college student who shared the song line by line on the Internet as she wrote it), as well as a chart of the 14 simple past tense verbs in the song.  7/25/16
  • The song “Can’t Stop the Feeling” (Justin Timberlake). This song is the #1 pop song in the U.S. and many other countries. Added on the List of Songs page under the theme “Happiness.” It is appropriate for most classrooms, but previewing the lyrics is advised. You’ll find annotated lyrics and lesson plan ideas on the Lesson Plans page. 7/5/16
  • I have completed reformatting the downloadable worksheets so that the the font is larger. You should not get any “file not found” messages on this site. If you do, I’d appreciate your sending me an e-mail to me at songs@ticon.net. 7/5/16

To see the complete list of additions to this site, click on “Recently Added” on the navigation bar.

Do you have a suggestion for improving this site? A song or activity you’d like to share? Please e-mail me, Sandra Heyer, at songs@ticon.net. This is my personal e-mail address. Your address will not be shared, and you will not get ads or promotions of any kind.