A2 · B1 · Learning English with songs · Listening

David Bowie – The Man Who Sold the World

Here’s a song written by David Bowie back in the 70s that became very famous again when Nirvana performed their fantastic cover. It wasn’t an easy task for me to decide which version to use; because I love both of them, but since very few people know that Bowie wrote it, I eventually decided to use this one. The aim of this activity is to become familiar with the relative pronoun ‘who’ and to practise simple past verbs. There are two versions, one with the verbs in brackets and the second one without the verbs.

A2 · B1 · B2 · Learning English with songs

Don’t Give Up Too Soon

Probably the most devastating problem in modern society is loneliness, which is even worse for the elderly. John Lewis Christmas advert aims to raise awareness of this situation. Hopefully, this touching ad will not only tug at people’s heartstrings, but will also make people understand how much we need each other, especially now in a year so full of isolation and anxiety.

John Lewis 2020 Christmas Advert Alternative by NimbusBeds.co.uk | Stop Loneliness at Xmas
B1 · B2 · Learning English with songs

Audioslave Be Yourself

Audioslave image from Mondo Sonoro

The aim of this song is to practise verbs after ‘someone’ as students often make mistakes with these forms.

The uplifting and optimistic lyrics in this song explore the bittersweet issues of life, perceived and experienced very differently by each individual, and where after all, nothing more can be done rather than accept whatever happens, and take it in our stride.

Someone finds salvation in everyone
Another only pain

It’s a great song although, it chokes me up a bit when I come to thinking about how Chris Cornell ended his life. Anyway, enjoy! wauwauwauwuawuawuawuawuawuawuawuawuawauwauwauwau…

B1 · B2 · Learning English with songs · Listening

David Bowie – Heroes

Another incredible song by David Bowie (Did he ever do anything that was not worth while?). This song is for revising vocabulary from different topics dealt with in intermediate levels. It’s also a great way to hear a good sample of ‘will’ for future use as the song deals with a posssible future situation, where two people are engaged, probably in being themselves, against all the odds. I hope you enjoy the activity.

This activity is also a homage to my brave students that come to classes despite having to almost freeze to death due to that classes must be held with all the windows open and that there will always be a risk of catching this virus that threatens to change our lives in such a drastic way.

A1 · A2 · Learning English with songs

Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

In no other way could I have started creating and uploading blog entries for this year, other than placing this beautiful cover by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole and his soothing ukele. It’s a song of hope, to which we all relate to during these times of troubles and worries due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But it’s even more than a song of hope. It’s a conviction, that somewhere, there is a better and more beautiful place where humans will find comfort and their problems will melt away like lemon drops. I really hope that some day soon, we find that hidden rainbow.

For this post I’ve set two listening activities where beginners can fill in the gaps with the words they hear. The first button is for verbs and the second button is the same song, but this time filling in the gaps with missing nouns.

C1 · Learning English with songs · Listening

Muse – Uprising

Muse image from Wikipedia

I love this song! Gives one such a feeling of power and recharges batteries. Maybe you like it as much as I do, so you might enjoy doing this listening activity and at the same time, finding out the meaning of some idioms and synonyms. First do the pre-listening activity and after you can do the sentence completion.

A1 · A2 · Learning English with songs · Listening

Cliff Richard & The Shadows – Summer Holiday

This is a good song for the present continuous and vocabulary related to holidays and having a good time. The first activity is a jumbled sentence listening and the second activity is a sentence completion. Levels A1/A2
A1 · A2 · B1 · Learning English with songs

Learning English with songs Lemon Tree

I was looking for a song with the present continous and I found this one, and it looks perfect for our isolation. and perfect for the present continous. The animation is really cute and you can see the lyrics and sing along like in a karaoke :D.

I really hope it cheers you up!

Song by Fools Garden.

TM Animations
B1 · B2 · Learning English with songs · Listening · phonetics

Learning English pronunciation with songs: I’ll Keep you Safe

A great way to learn English is watching a film, but the thing is, how many of us have the time to watch films these days? I mean, I can hardly remember the last time I was able to relax on my settee with this intention, let alone watching one in a foreign language!

Definitely, present-day duties just don’t seem to understand our needs, do they? So, unless we can plug vocabulary, stress patterns and pronunciation into our brains just like those guys did in The Matrix, we’ll need a backup plan.

Why not try listening to music? It’s easy and fun. You can do this, working, cooking, driving, walking the dog, writing or whatever (as long as it doesn’t make you get up and start dancing). Music can also teach us structures that we need to get our tongues around, and a great number of songs have really catchy tunes that we’ll enjoy trying to understand and even learn.

Here I’ve exploited the soundtrack from the movie Up by Disney. The song is I’ll Keep you Safe by Sleeping at last. It´s a wonderful song along with a beautiful video (watch out! It could make you quite emotional! ) and although the title is great for dealing with ‘will’ used for promises, here  I’ve exploited it to practise some of the English sounds and to help students become more familiar with phonetic symbols. If you haven’t  seen anything about phonetics yet, you may want to brush up a bit on them before doing the activity (you’ll find plenty of introductory activities if you click on the menu Phonetics and English sounds).

Anyway, hope you enjoy the lesson.

PS If you don’t see me around much lately, it’s just that I’m SO STRESSSSSSSSSSSSSEDDDD OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUT!!!!!!!!!!!

Click for the activity