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5 Ways To Use Music

This post will look at some of the ways you can use music in the classroom. Music is a great way to introduce a theme, change the mood, teach vocabulary or even just inspire a class discussion.
Music can be a great way to tap into students’ interests.The following five ideas are a great way to use music to practice English in the classroom. They are simple to set up and great fun in class.

Music story
Choose about 15 words that appear in the song and write them on the board. Next, get the students to work in groups of 3 or 4. In their groups, students choose 5 words from the board and write a story including these words. The chosen words should be underlined. Next, students listen to the song. Everybody stands up at the beginning of the song and when they hear the words that they have chosen to use in their story, they sit down and stand back up again, repeating this until they have listened to all five words.
The class can then talk about their story and the meaning of the song etc.

Error correction
Each student is given a copy of the song which contains mistakes like wrong words. In pairs, students look for and highlight the mistakes. The students listen to the song again, check and correct.

Listen and correct
Split a song into parts A and B. Part A will contain the first, third and fifth etc lines of the song and part B will have the second, fourth etc lines. Split students A and B. Students have to listen and fill in the missing sentences. To check and correct, students go through the song in pairs.

Listen and order
Cut a song into strips. Divide either into separate verses or lines, depending on the length of the song. Get the class to organize themselves in a line in the order that they think the song goes. Class listen to the song and put themselves in the order as they hear the sentence. As an alternative to this, you could split the class into two groups, giving each group a copy of the song cut into strips. Split the whiteboard into four sections. Before listening, the two groups have to put the song into the order they think is correct. They listen again and correct. The team with the most correct win.

Finally another simple task which can be done is remove the verbs, adverbs, adjectives etc from the song. Students work in pairs or groups to brainstorm the missing words.

Click here for more ways to use music in the ESL classroom.

Brain Breaks

Brain breaks are a great way to re-energize tired students. They are very easy and simple, and there are hundreds of variations found on the web for free. They are great for breaking up class stages and keeping the class interested and focused.They are particularly popular with young learners and a great opportunity to practice Total Physical Response.

Here are a few that I use in class.

Figure of 8

Tell your students to do the following actions:

  • Draw a figure eight in the air with your writing hand. Repeat this five times.
  • Now do the same with the opposite hand.
  • Now try with both hands at the same time.
Elbow 8’s
  • As above try the same with your elbows.
Alphabet brain work out
  •  Have the alphabet written around the room with letters L, R or T under each letter.
  •  This can be done on cards or on an electronic whiteboard.
  •  You then say a word to do with your subject and read it a letter at a time.
  •  Students then have to look at the chart and move their arms or / and legs according to the letter next to the alphabet letter.
Total physical repsonse Brain breaks for the ESL class room. Alphabet brain work out chart

1. Read through A to Z and then Z to A getting students to move arms and legs as directed on the grid.

2. When starting with keywords read out keywords with few letters increasing to longer words and get
them to move arms and legs as directed on the grid. For example – car, science etc

You can vary the grid above with different actions to make the activity more physical and active. Another example of how you can change the task is shown below which involves clapping, jumping and hopping.

If you found this post interesting you may be interested in “creating curiosity in the classroom” and “boredom busters”