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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; 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.

*** February 2019 ***

Songs for Valentine’s Day. You might want to bring one of these songs with a love/romance theme into your classroom. All have minimal-prep lesson plans. 2/11/19

As Long As You Love Me” (high beginning and up)
Something Just Like This” (high beginning and up)
*NEW*Ring of Fire” (high beginning and up) This lesson plan includes the story behind the song.
Make You Feel My Love” (intermediate and up)
*NEW*You’re Beautiful” (low intermediate and up) This lesson plan includes the story behind the song.

*** January 2019 ***

Grammar Worksheets, Present Progressive Tense. My beginning-level class is studying the present progressive tense, so I searched “songs with present progressive tense.” I found “Tom’s Diner,” which is loaded with present-progressive verbs. The 45-min. lesson we did in my class, for levels beginning and up, is on the Grammar & Songs page. The lesson includes two reproducible activities. 1/23/19

Lesson Plan. The climate in most of my students’ home countries is sunny and warm all year; the climate where they live now can be cold and cloudy at this time of year. So in the winter, I try to work in a lesson about the sadness some people feel in winter and the importance of getting outside in natural light. I use the Beatles song “Here Comes the Sun” as a starting point for the lesson. Included in the Lesson Plan is a link to an audio recording of the story behind the song and an audio recording of a follow-up story about a Guatemalan man having trouble adjusting to a New York winter. 1/6/19

Online Audio Recordings. Audio recordings of all the stories in True Stories Behind the Songs (a beginning reading textbook) and More True Stories Behind the Songs (a high-beginning reading textbook) are now online–no access code, password, or registration required. Go to the Pearson catalog site and, at the top of the page, click on “Stories Behind Songs Audio.” Lessons based on these newly available recordings to follow. 1/2/19

Lesson Plan. At the start of a new year, many people think about changes they’d like to make. The Kelly Clarkson song “Breakaway” and her personal story are good starting points for a class discussion on making changes. In the Lesson Plan, you’ll find several ideas for introducing and structuring the discussion. 1/2/19

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.