40 ESL/EFL activities for exploiting songs and texts
The activities are divided into 3 categories according to when they should be done: before listening/reading, during listening/reading, and after listening/reading. Some of the activities are suitable for more than one stage but I have chosen the stage that is the most suitable for (in my opinion).
Activities to be done before listening/reading
Replace words with relevant drawings. Students have to identify the missing words before reading or listening to the text.
Students discuss or describe photographs related to the topic.
Students brainstorm ideas about the topic.
Jumble the words of the title of the text for the students to reconstruct it (for more advanced learners letters can be jumbled).
Students predict the content of the text by reading its title.
Pre-teach necessary vocabulary to help students understand the text.
Students brainstorm the vocabulary which might be associated to the topic.
Students predict possible vocabulary items which may appear in the text.
Students select or write songs to produce a class song book.
Activities to be done during listening/reading
Students read or listen to the text in order to identify stress, rhythm, intonation patterns etc.
Students answer multiple choice questions.
Design activities on the text that are similar to examination questions.
Students complete/create charts or diagrams about the text.
Omit words to produce a gapped text. Students have to reconstruct the text by choosing the correct words from a list. The activity can be more difficult if there are more words than students need.
Cut up and mix the sentences (or just the lines) of a text. Students have to order the sentences/lines.
Students listen to the song and take dictation.
Students read or listen to the text to confirm what was predicted in the “pre” stage.
Students identify deliberate mistakes (grammar, vocabulary, word order, punctuation etc.)
Students read a gapped text and fill in the blanks.
Students invent a title for each paragraph and a title for the whole text. This can be easily adapted for a song (title for each verse and title for the song).
Students read or listen to the text to extract information to write a summary.
Students read or listen to the text and put pictures in the correct order.
Students read the text and delete words to create a gap-fill task for other students.
Activities to be done after listening/reading
Students create their own multiple choice questions for others.
Students sing a song and record it. Play it again and improve on pronunciation.
Students write a dialogue between the characters.
Students write first and then speak about the topic.
Students write a letter to one of the characters in the text.
After the song / text is finished students predict what happened next.
Students write their own lyrics to the tune of the song.
Students invent essay titles related to the topic of the text and write one of the essays.
Students interview one of the characters.
Students write a summary of the text.
Use the text as a springboard to initiate discussions to develop student’s ideas about the topic.
Students perform the song.
Students identify the meaning of words as used in the text.
Students role-play the situation as described in the text.
Students design posters related to the topic (or to promote the song) which are then displayed.
Students write a reply to the author/singer.
Students re-write the text from another character’s point of view.