Lesson Plans

  • Do you want to bring a hit song into your classroom–but are not sure how to use the song as a teaching tool? On this site, you’ll find lesson plan ideas in two categories: Recent Hits and Classic Hits. Clicking on a song title below will take you to the lesson plan. (For a complete list of hundreds of classroom-friendly songs by theme, please see the List of Songs.)
  • Not sure what kinds of music your students like? Get a quick snapshot of their musical preferences and experiences with the One-Question Interview, an interactive, low-prep activity.
  • Interested in seeing how the ideas below work in a real-life classroom? I taught a “Songs” class to Mexican university students in the U.S. for an intensive 4-week program. (My class met for an hour once a week and was the “fun” class!) In the Teaching Blog at the bottom of this page, I share what I did in each class and how it went.
  • Updates on Facebook: This site now has a companion Facebook page, where I’ll post notifications of newly added lesson plans.

Lesson Plans for Recent Hits (2015-Present)

Another Day of Sun
“Be Alright”
Can’t Stop the Feeling
The Castle on the Hill
Don’t Shut Me Down
Fight Song
I Don’t Care
Lost Boy
Love Yourself
One Call Away
See You Again
7 Years
Something Just Like This
Stressed Out 
When We Were Young
You’re Beautiful

Lesson Plans for Classic Hits (1960-2014)

A Change Is Gonna Come
As Long As You Love Me

Both Sides Now
Don’t Stop Believin
Here Comes the Sun
I Will Remember You
I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free
Make You Feel My Love
Ring of Fire
She’s Leaving Home
The Sound of Sunshine
Tom’s Diner
True Colors
Wichita Lineman
Wonderful World

Teaching Blog (4-week intensive course “Learning English with Songs” / 4 one-hour class periods)

Class 1 

  • I started the class with the One-Question Interview on Music. The activity worked great as an ice-breaker on many levels. It turned out that the students, who’d just arrived the day before, didn’t know one another, so this gave them a chance to get acquainted. It also gave me a quick snapshot of both their proficiency in English (high-beginning to low-intermediate) and their musical tastes. I was relieved to learn from the one-question interview that the song I’d chosen for the first day—“Can’t Stop the Feeling”—was one of my students’ favorite songs in English.
  • The students listened to the song “Can’t Stop the Feeling” while reading the lyrics. (I assured them that it wasn’t important to understand every word.)
  • Picking up on the singer’s repeated use of the word got as meaning have, I spun off a lesson on the colloquial expressions I’ve got it and I’ve got ‘em. First we practiced with pictures I’d distributed (Who has the lamp? I’ve got it. Who has the towels? I’ve got ‘em.) Then students completed the interactive worksheet. (You’ll find the lyrics and the worksheet on the Lesson Plans page.)
  • We listened to the song again but this time sang along with verses 2 and 6.
  • We watched the music video. When the credits rolled at the end of the video, the students applauded the performers—a nice way to end Class 1.

Class 2