10 Songs to Teach Past Simple and Past Continuous Tense

Without music, life would be a mistake.
  Friedrich Nietzsche

These days I’m dealing with the tenses with all levels so I decided to group the songs according to the tenses. As I’m focused on Past Simple and past Continuous now, I’ve started from them.

When I prepare the lessons, I’ll also add them. 

Because you Loved me Celine Dion 

Jealous Guy John Lennon 

Hotel California The Eagles

Storyman Chris de Burgh

Fairy Tale Alexander Rybak

Seasons in the Sun Terry Jacks

Our Last Summer ABBA

No reply Beatles

Candle in the Wind Elton John

You were there Eric Clapton


Passive Voice, two activities using web

Pub Quiz on the Net

Target Language: Passive Voice, Simple Past Tense

Level: A1, A2

Materials: ( colourful) pen, paper, internet connection,

Team students according to the size of your class.

Give them categories as inventions, literature, discoveries, music, etc.

Tell them in teams they will search on the web and come up with 10 questions, such as who composed ‘four seasons’?

Tell them in turns they will ask their questions to the opponent team. The answers should be in passive voice. The winner is the team with more correct answers.

Then tell your students to create a poster with their questions and the correct answers. They can use ‘glogster’ for the class blog.

Pub Quiz on Wordle

Target Language: Passive Voice, Simple Past Tense

Level: A1, A2

Materials: pen&paper, internet connection

Wordle: Passive voice

Create a word poster with some inventions, discoveries, books and movie titles, songs, etc.

Team your students

Distribute the word poster

Tell them to search the web and find out who the inventors were.

The group who finds who the writers, directors, inventors, etc first becomes the winner.

Follow up:

Students can create posters for the inventions.

Using Quotations to Revise Grammar

Last week we revised modals with my year 12 students and after doing a lot of exercises, tests, etc ( they are studying for the university entrancre exam and they will take the language exam so they need to master the grammar and the skills as well) I realised they still got confused as most of the modals would be translated into Turkish as the same way. To make them focus on the meaning, I prepared some paraphrasing exercises and at the bottom of the page I decided to add a quotation to motivate studying and I started to search for a good one but found too many. Then I decided to prepare a gap fill exercise with these quotations omitting the modal verbs.

Finally in the class after doing the exercise we talked about some of the quotes, the ones they liked, etc. As a follow up I wanted them to choose one of them and reflect on it writing a 120-140 word article. I still didn’t get their articles and don’t know what I will recieve but the activity can be fun if your students like talking  and discussing together.


Another  activity I preparedwith quotes but haven’t used yet is

Find some quotes about any topic you want to discuss

Create a wordle

In groups ask your students to put the words into correct order to find out the quote.

Discuss them together

Ask them to write something on them

Tell them to create a poster using bighugelabs or another tool.

Can you guess the wordle?


Wordle: learning

Songs to teach grammar


I guess you all know that I love using songs in lessons. This week I’ll teach giving advice, talking about regrets. The target language is the modals for that.

I decided to start with a song. When I prepare I will also share but after I tweeted ‘Dear PLN, can u suggest me a song 4 teach giving advice or criticism, can’t remember any., looking for though, pls RT’. My PLN came up with lots of great ideas. In order not to lose them I creaded a google spread sheet and I’m adding it here too.

If you used a song in the class for any grammar topic, can you please add it to the spread sheet.


And here I’m adding some of my bookmarks:
A document from ELTCommunity.com: http://www.eltcommunity.com/elt/docs/DOC-1044

Teaching grammar through songs and rhymes: http://www2.vobs.at/ludescher/Grammar/teaching_grammar_through_songs_a.htm

You can find more song related posts on this blog here. here, here, here

Old techniques die hard

Wordle: Approaches 4 teaching FL

I think most of you will agree with me that drilling can be boring and it is very old-fashioned. It is mechanical and it doesn’t promote any critical and creative thinking.

However, don’t you ever think  they work with certain classes, students. I couldn’t catch yesterday’s eltchat but as I followed from the tweets, it was  about whether to use the traditional methods or not.

Through years we’ve had many methods, some were the improved versions of the formers, some were completely new and some others, given brand new names, were similar to the ones that we discussed they became old-fashioned.

Do you throw the old books from your bookshelves to the dusbin when you buy the new ones? or do you always want to get rid of the old clothes when you do your spring cleaning? I still keep some although they won’t fit me anymore (but I have a daughter and fashion is something that repeats itself and vintage is always popular)

Personally I don’t want to be a teacher who encourages memorizing, drilling and mechanical work. Yet I belive there are times that we need them.

I have a group of year 10 students. Most of them have been learning English since kindergarten but they still can not write a proper paragraph. They have problems with the English structures. They think in the language they know and try to say the thing they want to say as in Turkish. Some of them solved their problems but others because of many other reasons still have problems. And these some of them are sometimes lazy to revise at home so we only have the class to make them learn.

When you try the new approaches and try to neglect the classic grammar teaching methods some students will complain that they don’t learn anything. Last week while I was trying to make my year 7 students to speak, one of them asked me ‘What are we going to learn today, teacher?. I said ‘we will just talk’. I recalled similar conversations. I believe PPP can still be used with teenagers and up to pre-intermediate level. Students will understand how the structure can be used when the teacher sets the scene, drills and lead them to guided production. However, it may be boring and useless for adults and higher levels. Whereas the other old techniques and approaches will work well with higher levels.

Unfortunately our students are used to learning things in analytic ways. Because still for some teachers the best student is the one who keeps a neat notebook, does homework regularly, sits at the desk and responds to the tasks the teacher has assigned. These students are trained to learn this way. We have to change the methods the other teachers use in order to have more flexible approaches in our efl classrooms. But I think this is another discussion topic.

Anyway,I also believe Dogme is  a great challenge. I can’t call myself a dogmeist but there are times I do things which will lead me to dogme in near future. Yet, I have some questions in my mind. Can every teacher become a dogme teacher? I think it is not a question of being NEST or NNEST.

Don’t you think being ecclectic is a good way and will allow the teacher to be more flexible?

This post has just been editted for Marisa’s  Blog Challenge: Tradition Revisited & Revamped