Monday, September 30, 2013

Writing a Formal Letter

Age: Teens & Adults
Focus: Modals for Obligation, Advice & Possibility / Subjunctives
Ultimate Goal: Writing a Letter

The activity below has been designed for the song "ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE" by Phil Collins. The focus here is the use of modals and subjunctives to write a formal letter. Students first engage into a conversation about  poverty, which is a serious and controversial issue. At this point, they must have already practiced on modals for advice, possibility and obligation. Subjunctives are also recommended here for more advanced students. After discussing about it, students are challenged to imagine what they would write on a letter addressed to the President. This task can be done in class, so you can monitor the use of the grammar structure and students can share their writing pieces with their peers.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Find 10 mistakes

Age: Teens & Adults
Focus: Vocabulary

The activity below has been designed for the song "I CAN'T LIE" by Maroon 5. Students go over the vocabulary presented (REJECTION, LOVE, LOSS, PAIN, PEACE OF MIND, GRIEF, GENEROSITY and FREEDOM) and discuss in what real-life situations we experience each one of them and why, which is an opportunity for sharing their own experience. Afterwards, they listen to the song and find 10 mistakes. In the end, they discuss about the impression the song made on them. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Target Audience

Teaching children songs is always fun because they will clap hands, dance around and sing along. Very few young learners will not be willing to participate. As for adult students, they will enjoy anything that provides them with opportunities to learn. They want to know the meaning of every word and what grammar point is being presented. They don't care much for singing, so focusing on grammar and vocabulary usually does the trick. Another positive aspect about adults is that they don't care whether the song is new or old, but whether they can learn something from it. Having song activities for teens, on the other hand, is an entirely different thing.  They don't care for learning, they just want to have some fun. They may also not respond well to old songs, so having a song list devised by them as a reference is advisable. They do respond well to challenging tasks or tasks that involve controversial issues, which will consequently lead to warm discussions.  


Feel free to adapt the song activities presented here to any other song of your choice. There are thousands of songs, therefore thousands of possibilities!

Song List

A good idea for Day 1, a day in which you take some time to get to know your students, is give each of them a sheet of paper, so they can write down their personal list of favorite songs/singers/bands. You can use the information collected for future reference in case you feel the need to design one specific song activity. 

Power Point Slides

The powerpoint slides provided here are optional, but they are very appealing and add value to the activity. Sometimes, due to time constraints or because it was a last minute decision, the teacher is not able to provide students with photocopies of the lyrics and the activities proposed. Depending on the activity the teacher selects, only the powerpoint presentation will be enough.


The song activities provided here have a powerpoint presentation, a student's sheet to be photocopied and given to students, a teacher's sheet with specific instructions for the teacher and a video from the Youtube. Although all the activities contain a video, some tasks only require the audio in order to be accomplished. 

Welcome Post

" Music is the universal language of mankind." 
(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

It´s no secret to us all that music is a powerful thing, more than that, it is a very effective learning tool. However, teachers resist using it in class because they think all they can do is FILL-IN-THE-BLANK activities, which tend to become boring after some time. Actually, song activities can go beyond that and that´s what this blog is about. Besides fill-in-the-blank activities, you will find a lot more.

Having in mind that music is such a powerful learning tool and after getting very positive feedback in the classroom during song activities I had designed, I came up with the idea of the blog with the collaboration of two dear friends and colleagues, Fernanda Barboza and Jorge Alexandre. During  the activities, students felt motivated and truly engaged. They also felt good about themselves for being able to understand and perform the tasks proposed. Song activities spice up classes and keep students attentive and participatory. So, let us give music a try, shall we?