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Teaching Ideas with Songs

The Magic of Song in the Classroom

Why try out some of these teaching ideas for using song in the classroom?

Even the informal use of song can can tap into the magic of music.

This quote from an article in the Oxford University Press Blog lays out some of these benefits ...

Songs create a positive atmosphere.
Just as we take great care in decorating our classrooms to make them warm and conducive to learning, we should think about how we are decorating our classrooms with audio. Learning a foreign language can be stressful for anyone, especially young learners. Fun, simple English songs playing as students enter the classroom help create a welcoming environment.

Songs help to balance energy levels.
Some children come to class bouncing off the walls, while others are quite reserved. Starting class with an active song allows the higher energy students to “get the wiggles out” and the lower energy students to pep up a little.

Songs are very effective in signaling transitions.
Students often get confused, and subsequently tune out, during transitions from one activity to another. Verbal directions alone can be difficult to understand, especially when a student was focusing on different activity. Using songs to signal changes helps students understand what is going on (and helps save the teacher’s voice, too!). Try using different songs to signal when it is time to start class, time to clean up, time to make a circle, time to take out your coursebook, etc.

Songs allow everyone to participate.
These days, some students come to our classes having learned English from birth, while others in the same class may be learning English for the first time. Singing is an activity that children of all levels can enjoy equally. Students with low English levels will be able to follow along with gestures and dances as they gradually learn the language in the song. More advanced students can also enjoy singing and dancing while improving their rhythm, intonation, and pronunciation, even if they already know all the words.

Songs allow for quick review.
It can sometimes be difficult to provide as much review as we’d like for our students. Songs are a fun, easy way to quickly re-introduce language from earlier lessons.

Songs are ‘sticky’.
When you teach with songs, you be assured those songs will bounce around your students heads long after the class is over. The same can’t be said for most other teaching tools.

A classroom full of songs is a warm classroom where students are getting lots of quality English input in a fun and easy-to-understand way. Are you using songs enough in your classes? What are some of your favorite ways to use songs in the classroom?

Songs for Teaching.... Everything Else 

Teaching Ideas for Integrated Learning

Take advantage of the many benefits of music while teaching skills in other subject areas. 

Let's start with tunes we know.

​Well-known children's songs can be used to teach drama, math, science, language, creative writing and thinking skills. They can be a great resource for teaching ESL. With a little creativity many songs also make excellent scripts for stage, puppet plays or even dances!

Feel free to download the file to keep for future use.

What Teaching Ideas are Inside?

The teaching ideas presented in this collection just scratch the surface of possibilities and are meant to spark your own creativity. There are no grade levels suggested for each activity since many can be used across a range of grades for K to 8. Even some activitiies that appear to be for younger students may spark an idea for your older students!

Spice it up!      A little change-up can grab attention. 

Glance through the list below and look at the samples to find out what's inside the eBooklet.

1. Little White Duck
          - Language Learning, Who, What, Where

3. Five Little Ducks
          - Arithmetic, ESL Vocabulary, Creative Thinking, Art

4. Apples and Bananas
          - Language (Vowel Sounds)

5. Over in the Meadow
          - Science, Research, Creative Writing, Drama

9. Eensy Weensy Spider (Itsy BitsySpider)
          - Science Research, Creative Writing

10. Bingo
          - Spelling, Rhythm practice, Get to Know activity

11. Skip to My Loo
          - Physical Education, Classroom Exercise Break

12. Be Kind to Your Web-footed Friends
          - Science (Classification,Adaptions, Habitat), Research, Creative Writing

 13. Alouette
          - French Review Game

15. Down By the Bay
          - Social Studies, History, Science

16. On the Farm
          - Social Studies, Creative Writing, Multiplication Review

18. Frog Went A-courtin’
          - Drama, Character Study, Creative Writing, Stage Play

20. Dry Bones
          - Dance, Black Light Stage Presentation

22. Grandfather’s Clock
          - Math, Science, Creative Thinking

23. A-Tisket A-tasket
          - Traditional Circle Game, Music- jazz/swing/history - Study of Ella Fitzgerald, Drama, Creative writing

28. London Bridge is Falling Down
          - History, research, Presentation

Feel free to download the file of teaching Ideas.

Sample Play Scripts and Skits to
Teach Something Else?

  • Goldilocks and the Triangular Bears - Memory Tool
  • A Sticky Problem - The Invention of the Band-Aid
  • Little Red Rap - Campy Fractured Fairy Tale

Visit Scruffy Plume's Resource Page to Download Scripts

Looking for More Teaching Ideas?

Take a look at 

The Dramatic Classroom

Ideas for Integrating Drama into all subject areas.

Terrific Short Scripts for Puppets

Aesop's Fables

Fables are short and easy to retell using puppets.

Aesop Encore

Easy version for ESL or more challenging Advanced Vocabulary