January 2011 archive

News

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Well, During February I’ll blog at ELT Blogathon on the Teaching English website as evab2001. I know how important is IATEFL for English teachers and I know very well that the online community should also be blamed for evoking enthusiasm among fellow teachers. I also want to be there with my PLN so I’ll try my best for that.

 However, I also believe that the emphasis on this event shouldn’t only be winning. The main emphasis should be on the number of participants and their habit forming process.  I love this challenge as it will encourage some teachers to blog, share and collaborate. It will give a chance to some teachers to make their vocies heard and I’m pretty sure some will marvel at themselves when they discover how much they have already got to share but they only needed some external force to make them realise it.

I will also try to update this blog and send something for this one but I’m planning to write something new for the blogathon as often as possible.

And I have one more news, actually 2 more, to share. I just found out that our wiki project became 5th on edublogs award and this blog came 14th and I know I’m not the winner but I really loved the result. Thanks 🙂

A Poetry Lesson

  Glitter Text custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more - ImageChef.com

1. Choose a poem to read with your students.

2. Write the title on the board and ask students to predict what the poem is about.

3. Divide the class in groups.

4. Give each group a copy of a word cloud you prepared previously.

5. Ask students to write a poem using the words from the word clouds.

6. Compare the poems of each group. (You may want to ask each group read the poems in their groups and mark them according to a criteria you prepared)

7. Distribute the original poem and see the similarities and differences.

8. Discuss the poem

9. Ask students to write their feelings about the poem.

Follow up:

  • Students can create glogs for their poems.
  • Students in groups can draw the picture of the poem.
  • Students in groups can prepare a wall display with their poems and the original one and the word cloud and drawings.

Alternative: You can do the same activity with a song.

More Go and Open the door poems here and the poem is also here

Using Songs by Anna Musielak

Part of the series From my PLN

pic1
Music is everywhere, it surrounds us from the moment we are born – well even before that;) My father is a music lover so my earliest childhood memories revolve around singing, dancing and „making” my own music. I loved to record songs or my covers of rhymes;) I never had a  great voice but I was very passionate about singing (and listening to music). I was a very lively child and my mum said that when I listened to music those where the few moments I was”calmer” and let her work a bit;)

song2

I started learning English when I was quite young – my parents were my first teachers. And how did they do it? Through songs of course. Old Macdonald, Hokey Pokey, ABC and many more…When I was a teenager my father played The Beatles or The Rolling Stones to me, asking whether I can pick up and understand some words (he does it till this day, sometimes with very complicated lyrics;)). That is why, as a person who cannot imagine life without music and never leaves home without an Ipod, I think it is important to use songs in the ELT classroom. If we are passionate about something  – we should share it with our learners. I try to pass my love to music onto my daughter as well – she is four and loves singing:) And that is how I teach her English – through songs and chants:)

On my lessons I like to use songs that are not very well known because then the response seems to be „fresher” somehow . I mix the less common songs with the classic ones and I think that lessons with more than one song work best. Here is a lesson plan for young adults using three songs.

 

Level: FCE/CAE

The aim of this lesson was to talk about various types of love and relationship, as well as to focus on grammatical expressions talking about regrets and the past (wish/regret/modals in the past/would)

Apart from listening, grammar and vocabulary skills were also practised and the lesson continued with a writing project.

On this lesson I used three songs – each about a different kind of love such as motherly love, unrequited love or lost love. We started the lesson by looking at the word cloud made up of keywords from those three songs. Students were supposed to predict the content and discuss the themes in pairs or groups.

 

At that point students were presented with the lyrics of the first song – and here I decided to gap the text. They skimmed it and asked about words that were new. They tried to predict what music genre it was and who was singing this song. Later on, they listened and filled the gaps. After completing the task in groups, they checked their predictions and discussed the type of relationship/love presented. They decided what keywords conveyed the meaning and discussed the grammatical structures talking about the past and regrets.

 

The be good Tanyas  

Momsong

You said to yourself that we did not love you
All of the years didn’t mean nothing
You told yourself we would not forgive you
Mistakes that you made would keep us separated

Comin’ home hard day done
Comin’ home hard day done

Don’t you know it’s your laugh we laugh that
pulls us through
And the strength and the love that we carry
We got it from you

 

With the second song the task was similar but the lyrics were jumbled.  Again the students familiarized themselves with the text and tried to predict the music genre and main theme.

Lee DeWyze

 “A Song About Love”


I used to make you cry,
but I haven’t smiled since you left.
Can you undo ‘Goodbye’,
its a word I wish I cud forget.
U told me you love me and to try to move on.
But its hard to get up when you fall,
so I wrote a song about love but its nothing at all.

It was you who took the blame,
even though we both knew who was wrong.
Yeah I’m calling out your name,
every time I’m singing this song.
Coz its over, yeah its over
U told me you love me but its time to move on.
its hard to get up when you fall,
so I wrote a song about love but its nothing at all.

Coz its over, yeah its over
U told me you love me and to try to move on.
its hard to get up when you fall,
so I wrote a song about love
and its sad cuz it won’t be enough.
so I wrote a song about love but its nothing at all.

And last but not least,  it was time for the third song, this time in full version. Students read the text to get the main idea. The vocabulary was checked and students were asked to search for keywords presenting the main idea. After that they listened to the song.

 

 Eric Clapton

“Layla”

What’ll you do when you get lonely
And nobody’s waiting by your side?
You’ve been running and hiding much too long.
You know it’s just your foolish pride.

Layla, you’ve got me on my knees.
Layla, I’m begging, darling please.
Layla, darling won’t you ease my worried mind.

I tried to give you consolation
When your old man had let you down.
Like a fool, I fell in love with you,
Turned my whole world upside down.

Let’s make the best of the situation
Before I finally go insane.
Please don’t say we’ll never find a way
And tell me all my love’s in vain.

 After listening students were presented with two images and had to decide which one suited best to the last song. They had to justify and defend their opinion, of course.

song3

  song4

After listening to all three songs it was time for comparison and contrast. We started with the themes and various types of love moving on to more analytical tasks, such as vocabulary and grammar comparison (how many different tenses were used, how did the author express regrets and wishes etc).

We decided together how the songs could be made shorter – which words could be reduced without changing the meaning and how to expand them by adding more nouns, adjectives or verbs.

As homework students were asked to change the format of chosen texts e.g. turn them into a newspaper article or a screenplay.

The lesson continued with lots of follow up projects and students themselves found songs dealing with chosen topics they wanted to discuss and analyze:)

The reduction/expansion and media transferred ideas are inspired by Alan Maley’s procedures

AnnaMusielak

Anna Musielak is a a teacher and teacher trainer from Poland. She is  also a drama  and literature enthusiast. If you want to follow her on twitter,  she is @AnnaMusielak

I’d like to thank Ania for this wonderful contribution to the song lessons and this blog. I’m glad I had the chance to attend her workshop at TESOL France and admired her enthusiasm for teaching.

Thanks Ania, being part of my PLN…

Lemon Tree; An activity for tomorow’s class

 

I was reading Vicky Saumell’s Eltchat summary on Teaching English through songs in the digital age (part 3 of 4): Specific songs and their uses, I came across with the suggestion of Lemon Tree by Fool’s Garden and I realised how versatile can this one song be. You can use the song

1. to review preposition:

 prepare a gap-fill exercise just omiting the prepositions

2. to practise present continuous tense:

  •  prepare a gap-fill omiting the verbs
  • prepare a handout with images of these verbs and ask students to fill in the gaps with them.
  • after listening to the song, divide the students into groups and tell each group to draw one scene from the song. ( you can watch the animation later and they can compare their drawings with it)
  • Display the pictures on the walls and ask students to write what is happening in each scene
  • Make a movie clip with the drwaings

3. to revise adjectives:

  • prepare a gap-fill omitting the adjectives from the song
  • After listening to the song, tell them to rewrite the song with the opposites making all the necessary changes to make the song meaningful. It will be a brand new song.
  • Find a tune for your song and sing.

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