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; many with links to recommended YouTube videos
  • Song-based activities
  • Lesson plan ideas for songs in two categories: Recent Hits and Classic Hits
  • A Grammar + Songs page with worksheets and songs to pair with specific grammar topics
  • 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.

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.

Getting Updates:

  • Updates on Facebook: This site has a companion Facebook page, where I’ll post notifications of newly added songs, activities, and lesson plans.
  • Following this blog on WordPress: Many of you are now following this blog on WordPress, which means you will get email for every post. You’ll probably get clusters of individual emails because newly added material is usually posted on several different pages. The quickest way to see exactly what’s new is to check here on the Home Page or on the Recently Added page. New songs, activities, and lesson plans are also posted on Facebook.

*** June 2018 ***

Story + YouTube Video. James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke with Paul McCartney, posted on YouTube just a few days ago, has quickly gone viral. Here’s a possible lesson plan to go with a 3-minute segment of that video, for levels beginning and up:
1. Read the story behind the song “Let It Be.”
2. Find the lyrics to the song on the Internet and distribute them to students. Listen to the song while reading the lyrics.
3. Watch the segment of the video from minute 4:50 to 7:35.

Song + Grammar Worksheet. Singer Meghan Trainor says her song “No Excuses” is about respect.  “I don’t disrespect you—don’t you disrespect me,” she sings. The line “You must have confused me with someone else” is repeated many times. The worksheet on the Grammar + Songs page targets the construction “must have + past participle” to describe past actions that almost certainly happened. For levels high intermediate and advanced.

*** May 2018 ***

Song + Writing / Discussion Activity. Millions heard the song “Stand By Me” when it was sung at the Royal Wedding on 5/19. The discussion activity asks students to write about someone who stands/stood by them and then share their writing with classmates. This was a powerful lesson in my class. For levels beginning and up. On the Class Discussion on a Song’s Theme page.

Song + Grammar Worksheet. In the song “Meant to Be,” a man asks a woman to ride with him in his car—to relax and put her feet up on the “dash” (the dashboard). She is reluctant because she wants to know where they’re going—that is, where their relationship is going. In the end, they both decide to take the ride, singing “If it’s meant to be, it’ll be.”

The song repeats the contraction it’ll many times. On the Grammar + Songs page, you’ll find a worksheet that targets the contractions I’ll and it’ll. Students use the two contractions when writing about their dream vacation. For levels beginning and up.

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.