2001 - issue 11/01
Welcome to the November Newsletter
This month we're thinking about lively-ing
up, getting on down & generally grooving along in our
classes with some music & song - ideas for using them
in class, an article & useful links for both you &
There are a couple of books to help you with ideas on using
songs in class & you can buy these through the site's
books page. Please keep coming through the site to buy books
from Amazon as it is one of the ways we can keep this Newsletter
& the Tips free of charge. If the book you want isn't
on the list, search for it though the search box at the bottom
of the books page - if you eventually buy we'll get a few
pennies, at no extra cost to you.
As you can see from the PS - internet-related
section we tend to waste more & more of our time playing
& viewing on the net. 'A rest is as good as a good surf!'
You know what it's like - you sit down to write your lesson
plan or do that two-week timetable, just check to see if there
is any e-mail, follow up a couple of links you've heard about,
back to check the e-mail from which you get a great link about
exercising goldfish which keeps you fascinated for an hour
or two - & then it's probably time for bed! Tomorrow's
another surfing day. If you come across anything bizarre,
fun or just interesting then send us the link. Almost forgot
- oops! - the same for any teaching links that you think others
would find useful.
1. THEME - music &
2. THE SITE - lesson plans
4. E-MAIL COURSES
7. WEEKLY TEACHING TIPS
8. TRAINING COURSES
9. PS - Internet/computer-related
1. THEME - music & song
Whenever teachers talk about using a song
in class, soon after gap fill activities are mentioned. Students
are asked to listen to a song & complete the lyrics. I've
never been sure why this is the case as most tasks in coursebooks
that accompany dialogues & monologues don't have gap fill
exercises. It seems to be that the need to understand everything
means that songs & gap fills go together. It doesn't have
to be the case. Below are a few ideas for using music &
song, in no particular order.
- Music vocab: musician, musical, song, sing,
play, tune, rhythm, composer, lyrics, music, notes, key, beat,
different genres: blues, rock, reggae etc., band, group, vocalist,
singer, choir, backing singers, guitarist, drummer, bassist,
top ten, charts, cd, single, mini-disc, MP3, player, album,
solo album, cover, hi fi, cassette recorder, recording session,
studio, concert, recital, gig, on the road, roadie, groupie,
fans, stars, live, record company, label, jukebox, music to
my ears, musical chairs.
- Background music is a good idea when doing
roleplays & discussions as it gives the shy std something
to hide behind. I wouldn't put it on during a silent reading
activity as it can be very distractive for some. What kind
of background music? Soothing classical music never fails.
If it is music the stds really like you run the risk of them
concentrating on the music rather than the lesson. I would
certainly make a point of making sure the lyrics were in English.
In Suggestopedia music is used while dialogues are being read
out. The first 'active' concert uses music from early &
classical romantic periods such as Beethoven, Mozart &
Hadyn as it is dramatic & therefore emotionally engaging.
The second 'pseudo-passive' concert uses Baroque music such
as Vivaldi, Telemann or Corelli as this is supposed to be
less personal & provides a background of order & regularity
which is better for the presentation.
- Music taste questionnaires - stds write their own &
fill it in & feed back on the classes' tastes in music.
- Play a selection of different genres -
stds identify & discuss which they like.
- With the selection of genres, stds match
moods to the different excerpts.
- Using a song is a really nice way of starting
a theme off.
- Reading & writing music reviews - stds
could bring in own music for the others to listen to who then
write the review.
- Music discussions: give out discussion
points - e.g. 'Music with offensive lyrics should be banned.'
'Downloading music from the internet is not illegal.'
- For the very young learner music &
songs are a must. Lots of language can be learned by repetition
& a good store of songs is essential. Get to the EFL Playhouse
- Provide the language to talk about music.
Eg. the language of like/dislikes - 'a great sound', 'love
the bass line', 'it doesn't do much for me', 'when I hear
this I think of....' etc.
- Music & the past - 'which songs encapsulate
each period when you were growing up?' Take in examples from
your development & get the stds to bring their own in.
- Play music & stds think of a film type
that might 'go' with that music & then a scene that would
be suitable, & then they write the script for that scene,
& then practise acting it out, & finally act it out
in front of the class with the music in the background.
- Listen & tick 'emotion adjectives'
that the song evokes & then students compare & give
- Listen & unjumble the verse order.
And the list goes on so we'll stop there
& point you towards
Sarn Rich's article on how to use pop music in the classroom.
There are lots of ideas & materials.
The materials attached to the article are
a hefty download so please be patient.
And do check out:
'Music & Song' by T.Murphey (OUP)
'Musical Openings' by D.Cranmer & C.Laroy (Longman)
You can get these
through the site.
Here are some music & song-related links:
ELT music-related sites
'This page is dedicated to all teachers of
second or other languages who like to use music-- and especially
popular songs -- to enliven, enhance, and invigorate their
classes.' There's also a free downloadable zip file of 200+
song activities (164kb).
The EFL Playhouse - a resource for teachers
of younger learners. Lots of songs.
Ernie's EFL Song Activities
Lots to read & hear from the BBC World
Other general music sites:
And the Rolling Stone newsletters, daily
The New Musical Express from the UK.
Get on board.
And for jazz, enough said.
Roots World - listening to the planet.
Huge reference encyclopaedia of all genres
If you listen to music on your PC, this is
a site for you.
There's so much good free music on the net
- two sites to bookmark.
Download the free Jukebox to play all your
MP3s through - one of the best - excellent.
Palavista - digital music metacrawler.
You've got the CD but not the cover. Now
'The most comprehensive daily music newsletter
covers all genres from rock to hip-hop, classical to jazz
and more. Features headlines, news summaries and links to
full stories. Get up-to-the-minute music news each and every
If you need them, get the lyrics & save yourself a lot
The Lyrics Ring is a chain of web sites containing
lyrics to all kinds of songs and music styles. You can skip
from web site to web site, looking for the words of that special
song you've been looking for forever.
Back to the index
2. THE SITE
The new lesson plans on the site include the following:
There's another lesson from Gerard Eley.
one contains a presentation and give controlled practice of
'could I + inf' and 'could you + inf' for polite requests.
Connected to the theme
there's a listening lesson about gossip. Marvin Gaye's 'I
heard it through the grapevine' is used & there is a rumour
There are some new articles on the site this
the News in Class' by Katie Riley & there's also an
accompanying lesson plan.
Letters for Everyone: Ideas of why and how to bring formal
letters into every classroom in fun, interactive ways' by
And, as mentioned above, Sarn
Rich's article on how to use pop music in the classroom.
If you've given a course or seminar or have
a lesson plan & would like to give it a public airing
then do send it to:
ADVERTISING - If you are interested in advertising
on the site or the Weekly Teaching Tip & this Monthly
Newsletter then please get in touch at:
Back to the index
Connected to this month's theme, a great
piece of material to have at hand for your teenage groups
is the recent top 20 music singles charts. Hand out a copy
to each group of three or four stds & get them chatting
at the beginning of a lesson
- do they agree that e.g. Michael Jackson's single should
be at no. 1.
- who would they vote for no. 1 - explain
why - the language of comparison & persuasion.
- design their own top 5, from the top 20
they have in front of them - persuade another group that their
list makes more sense.
- describe songs to each other that not yet
- discuss why certain songs have descended
in the list.
- can they remember any of the words to any
in the top 5?
A local chart is better but if you need an international/US-based
one the address below takes you to Billboard's Hot 100 - should
keep them chatting for a while!
You must have a favourite warmer! Dig it
out & send it in & we'll publish it here & put
it in the warmer list on the site.
4. E-MAIL COURSES
Maximise your time by getting started on
a quality personalised teacher development course.
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5. LINKS FOR TEACHING
"For external use only. For off-road
use only. For office use only. For recreational use only.
Do not disturb. Freshest if eaten before date on carton. Hand
wash only, tumble dry on low heat. If a rash, redness, irritation,
or swelling develops, discontinue use. If condition persists,
consult your physician. If defects are discovered, do not
attempt to fix them yourself, but return to an authorized
service center. If ingested, do not induce vomiting, if symptoms
persist, consult a doctor. Keep away from open flames and
avoid inhaling fumes. Keep away from sunlight, pets, and small
children. Keep cool; process promptly. Limit one-per-family
please. No alcohol, dogs or horses. No anchovies unless otherwise
specified. No animals were harmed in the production of these
documents. No money down...." The Ultimate Legal Disclaimer
from David Burrows. You're on the theme of shopping/complaints
- get your students to sort it all out - there's more on the
A site for mainstream education - 'Scholastic
Inc., the global children's publishing and media company's
corporate mission, which is supported through all of its divisions,
is to instill the love of reading and learning for lifelong
pleasure in all children. Recognizing that literacy is the
cornerstone of a child's intellectual, personal and cultural
growth, Scholastic, for more than 80 years, has created quality
products and services that educate, entertain and motivate
children and are designed to help enlarge their understanding
of the world around them.'
'TESL-EJ began as the brainchild of a group
of scholars who saw the need for a freely-distributed academic
journal. It has grown to become an internationally- recognized
source of ESL and EFL information for people in scores of
'What are Brain Binders? Each page linked
below contains one puzzle with a finished picture. The goal
is to fold the puzzle into a shape with a solid color on each
side. Simply print, cut out, and fold to match the finished
picture...it sounds easy until you try it!' Get them explaining
to each other how they do it.
A really nice children's site - designed
for native English youngsters but there's no reason why your
students won't get loads out of the site. The 'What if..?'
sections provide lots of excellent different subjects for
- even if you don't have the excuse of teaching
younger learners or have children of your own, get
along & check it out!
Lots of listening material with suggested
pre, while & post tasks from Randall's ESL Cyber Listening
Lab. If not to use in your own classes, certainly worth passing
on to your students.
Back to the index
If you're looking for teachers don't forget
to check out the CVs on the
Private Turkish school near the city of Bursa
looking for qualified native speaker teachers. The school
offers a salary of $1000 dollars a month with free accommodation.
If interested contact TimVincent on firstname.lastname@example.org
can post CVs on the site & employers can post job adverts
- both are free services at the moment.
7. WEEKLY TEACHING TIPS
As always, free
weekly practical teaching tips by e-mail. Sign up!
Back to the index
Train in Spain - Courses running in the near
future at the British Language Centre in Madrid:
CAMBRIDGE CERTIFICATE IN ELT - CELTA
Part-time twelve-week course, January >>
Full-time four-week courses, January, February.
CAMBRIDGE DIPLOMA IN ELT - DELTA
Six month part-time course: January >>
Reasonably priced accommodation can be arranged
for the duration of all courses.
You can see brief descriptions of all of
the current courses on the BLC web site http://www.cospa.es/blc/TED/ttframe.htm
The postal address of Teacher Education at the British Language
Centre is Calle Bravo Murillo 377, 2, 28020 Madrid, Spain.
The phone number is (00 34) 733 07 39 & the fax number
is (00 34) 91 314 5009.
The e-mail address is email@example.com
Back to the index
9. PS - Internet/computer-related links
"The Ongoing Story of an Egg and His
Favorite Pair of Pants" A sublime comic strip.
And this search engine looks into the message
boards for what you want.
We mentioned the last page of the Internet so while ago. It's
still there if you want to see it:
Now you can turn off the internet here. http://www.turnofftheinternet.com/
After you have closed it down, Ctrl-W will
close it down!
'IconTown is not just another website offering
icons for download - it's an international project where each
structure you see is a contribution from people who love making
icons. Join the community and become a citizen in this village
And then get along to the Pseudoroom for a look at a lovely
site. There are icons & fonts to download.
If you've got a web site & you want to
change the cursor of your visitors, here's the place to do
it - choose the cursor & get the code.
Is this what the net is really for? I never
did like them anyway.
'Tiny versions of classic games for your
sneaky worktime pleasure.'
Fancy yourself as an IT ninja - test your
ninja skills on this entertaining problem.
Get rid of those pent up irritations with
CutieQuake 'The Ultimate Flash Shooter! Fast, violent and
now more challenging, but still just as sick ...hmm, we like.
Kneel before General Zod! You basically have two choices -
kneel before him and swear eternal loyalty to Zod or die by
his hands for your defiance and treachery.
If you choose option 1, you will be saved. You will continue
on with the rest of your life as his slave, forever. Keep
in mind how much honor there is in devoting your life to serving
your rightful leader, General Zod. Much honor indeed.
If you choose option 2, he will crush you with his bare hands.
A most unsettling fate for you. He will also kill any small
"pets" such as "puppies" that you have
Not too much of a choice really.
Joel Veitch presents a 'rathergood.com' flash
movie 'Tales of the Blode - Episode 3 - Marmot Mayhem'.
Spaced Penguin - catapult Kevin back to his
Loads of entertaining lego games.
Then you can download the seriously addictive
Macigame - like Tetrus but better.
Joseph Palmer's step-by-step guide to making
his paper planes.
While you're here, .......................
- for Spanish speakers.
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