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
  • 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.
  • 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.

***  September 2016  ***

  • New page: Grammar + Songs. I’ve been bringing songs into my classroom my whole career, but it’s only recently that I began using songs to teach grammar.  Now I pair grammar topics with songs whenever I can. family treeOn this new page, you’ll find activities, worksheets, and songs to pair with specific grammar topics. For example, the song “I Will Remember You” is paired with an activity that gives students practice forming sentences in the simple past while imagining how their descendants will remember them. 9/7/16
  • Lyrics cloze exercise for the song “Baby, I’m Yours.” The exercise targets the many adverb clauses beginning with the word until. If you use Azar’s Understanding and Using English Grammar, this song would work well with Chapter 17. The exercise is for levels high intermediate and advanced. Please see Activity #1: Targeted Cloze. Scroll to the end for the worksheet. 9/5/16
  • The Beatles’ song “Can’t Buy Me Love.” Added under the theme “Living Simply.” This song uses the simple future tense (will + a verb in the simple form) to make promises (I’ll buy you a diamond ringI’ll give you all I’ve got to give, etc.). For a lyrics cloze exercise focusing on this construction, please see Activity #1: Targeted Cloze. Scroll to the end for the worksheet. 9/4/16
  • Lyrics cloze exercise for the song “Because You Loved Me.” If you’re looking for a song with lots of verbs in the simple past, it doesn’t get much better than this one. It has 19 past-tense verbs, 5 regular and 14 irregular. (The irregular verbs are: was, were, brought, could, found, gave, had, held, let, lost, made, said, saw, and stood.) Please see Activity #1: Targeted Cloze for a chart of the past-tense verbs and a lyrics cloze exercise targeting them. Scroll to the end of the page for the exercise. The verbs are repeated throughout the song, so students will write the past-tense forms a total of 66 times. 9/1/16

***  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

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.