One traditional way to use songs in class is to print out the lyrics, white out some words and have students fill them in when they listen. Make sure to choose words which are clear. Listen to the song yourself without reading along with the lyrics and see if the words stick out enough for learners to hear and identify them.
For a different, more interactive and competitive activity, I choose 10-15 words from a song and write them on big strips of paper, six or eight per normal-sized page. I elicit by giving the meaning or an example first, and when the students say the correct word I stick it up on the whiteboard with blue tac or tape.
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The students stand up and form two lines or teams facing the board. Their task is to listen for those words and grab them off the board when they hear them. But only the first person in each line can grab…the team can help by calling out the word if they hear it, but only the first two “competitors” can grab the word.
So, the song starts, the student from team A grabs the word. Both that person and his/her “opponent” go to the ends of their respective lines and the next two people step up.
It is fun for everyone, including me, and it really motivates people to listen. Relatively serious adults smile, get competitive and some even start to sing along. The song I’ve done this with the most is “If I Had A Million Dollars” — Barenaked Ladies — and the song I’ve enjoyed the most was John Lennon’s “Imagine” done with a group in Chicago consisting of students from Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and France.