Tuesday Tip: Using Popular Songs in Your Teaching

Queen band words were so right: “If you can’t beat them, join them.”

Of course, we are not on a battle with our students, but there is a constant need to get closer to their world and understand what interests them.

The closer we reach, the better we teach!

As an ESL teacher, I found the magic in teaching with popular music. Music makes our students dance, smile, and sing.

It transforms the lesson into joyful and exciting learning time.

It is true. There is a need for some preparations. But it worth every minute of them!

How can you do it?

1. Set goals and purposes for your lesson and decide what is the study material you need to teach.

2. Per your goals, think about how you can add songs and music.

Maybe at first, it will be a little hard, but when you will do it once, twice, the decision will be simpler.

3. Use lyric.com search engine to look for a title or a sentence from a song/songs. Be creative and open your mind for interesting results.

4. How you can add the songs to your lesson:

a. Warm up at the beginning of the lesson.

b. In the middle of the lesson, as a little break.

c. At the end of the lesson, as “end of lesson fun.”

d. You can use the “Just Dance” app songs and dances. There are so many opportunities.

e. You can use the fantastic “Go Noodle” songs and dances.

f. You can ask your students to think of a song that relates to your material (even as homework – very creative).

g. You can add songs to Kahoot or Quizizz and make your quiz more engaging.

5. How do you start?

Start with the first step and choose just one song. Think about how to add it to your lesson (use section 4 for suggestions).

Enjoy the lesson and in the second time, add more songs or think about a creative way to add it to your class.

I am sure that step after step, you will gain confidence and find more and more ways to implement the music in your teaching.

I will be happy to hear how you did!

Please comment on this post.

I must enclose such a creative way to add music, dancing, and fun to Math class:

Tuesday Tip: Charades Game in the Classroom

As I am always looking for creative ways to teach my pupils, I found the game of Charades so funny and exciting.

I start most of my classes with a game. I like that my pupils start the lesson fresh and enthusiastic.

Charades game defined in Cambridge Dictionary as: “a team game in which each member tries to communicate to the others a particular word or phrase that they have been given, by expressing each syllable or word using silent actions.”

You can use this game in any subject you choose for words, phrases, sentences, definitions, etc. The sky is the limit…

How do you do it?

1. Show the game of Charades from Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon so your pupils get familiar with the game:

The game is so funny and showing it before playing in the classroom, make the pupils feel as if they are on a TV show…

Choose which game you want to show them: click here.

I recommend showing a game or part of it every time you play.

2. Make a list in advance or use words generator for the game:

a. Recommended site for English learners: Words to use on paper: click here or online word generator: click here.

b. You can use Charades apps in your phones and also create your lists in them.

3. Divide the class into two teams and choose members to come “on stage” to present the word/sentence/phrase silently in pantomime:

Each pupil has 30 seconds to present his word.

The team that guesses it first gets the points.

So easy and exciting!

Enjoy your time with your pupils!

Back to the 80’s with #Gridpals

My hobby opened for me the door to the world

When I was 12 years old I decided to take a sewing course.

My story is not about the pants and shirts, but about the friends, I have had thanks for this hobby.

In those days, I had to travel to the big city of Tel Aviv in order to get a hold of the German magazine Burda.

This magazine was the bible of sewing patterns (and still today…).

One day I noticed that in the back of every magazine lay amazing secret: a list of children from all over the world, that had a wish to correspond by letters or postcards. I looked at the names that had such a different sound from our names and had their mysterious locations.

I decided to write my first letter to a girl in Austria. It took 1 month for the letter to arrive in Austria and after 3 months I got a letter back. I ran to the post office and read the letter breathlessly.

One of the best childhood Experience: having penpals around the world

I was so excited by this friendship with the Austrian girl that I decided to publish my own ad in Burda. I wrote the ad that I was looking for a penpal and waited ….

I did not realize how many responses I was supposed to get: for some months I received hundreds of letters from different countries, amazing children that wrote me why I should be their pen pal. I was so excited by the opportunity that came to my door.

So… for at least 6 years I had this hobby of writing to penpals: I loved reading how they live, what they like to do, what are their hobbies, how they are different and how alike.

One of my penpals even came to visit me in Israel.

Moreover, as English is not my first language, I learned so much English because I needed to express myself.

The 21st-century new term: #gridpals 

In the summer I started to use the amazing app: www.flipgrid.com.

With this app, you can make short videos of your pupils. The app is so handy and friendly.

It is designed for the citizens of the 21st century that were born with the iPhone in their hands….

I wanted my pupils to have the same amazing experience I had when I was in their age, let them feel the excitement of knowing children your age that live in other places around the world.

With the help of google+ community, I have found Ms. Stacy Hansen –  an amazing teacher from Iowa to correspond with her pupils.

Every pupil got a specific penpal and they started introducing themselves in videos they send every week.

You should have seen my pupils’ faces when they saw their new friends, Wow – that was such an exciting moment!

What are the benefits of #gridpals ?

So many… I can write some but I am sure you would think of more and more.

  • Curiosity – the key factor for 21st success. It is not about knowledge but about asking the right questions. I am sure that this project will increase your pupils’ curiosity.
  • Front stage to post their opinion and knowledge: every pupil will get the front stage to present himself. He will get a friend that doesn’t know anything about him so will not have any prejudice opinion. Your pupil will be able to express his thoughts freely. I am sure that alone will increase his self-esteem.
  • Honor and respect: knowing children that are not like you in manners of culture, religion, language.
  • Learning about far cultures: the project can be implemented during study unit in Geography, History, Social study and more. The intimate connection between the pupils let them study about the other side closely.
  • Improving a Second language: French/Spanish/English as Second language classes will be able to find their twin classes and practice the language with their twins.
  • Positive and Enjoyable experience: childhood is something you never forget. It designs your personality. Enjoyable moments of friendship will spice their childhood with happiness.
  • Practicing communication: let your pupils tell about themselves, how they introduce themselves. Great opportunity to teach sentence, grammar, and even storytelling.

How you create/join a #gripals project?

  1. YOU MUST SIGN UP to https://flipgrid.com/ today – it is totally free!
  2. Look for teachers in twitter: The amazing Bonnie McClelland has created the hashtag #gridpals.
  3. Read the post from Flipgrid that suggest how to find classes. You can fill the form and they will find a partner for you.
  4. Connected Classrooms Workshop Google+ community is a marvelous place to post a message for a class partner.

I wish you good luck ! and encourage you to give your pupils this amazing gift.