York Show&Tell 1st June 2013

I was one of the people who volunteered to present a quick slot at Suzi Bewell’s Show&Tell event in York today.

I shared a few ideas for using song in the classroom, and here are some links to the things I mentioned.

  • Firstly, there’s the ‘Adapting Familiar Tunes’, where we sang the time in German to the tune of Eastenders.
  • Then I referred to LyricsGap, a site where there are ready-made exercises in several languages, but where you can also customise your own based on the lyrics.


  • For Germanists, there’s this great website where a guy called Alex creates videos of popular songs which he’s translated into German. One of my current favourites is Preisschild, a version of Jessie J’s Price Tag. You can find some activities to go with the video on this site.
  • I also referred to a post I wrote having seen Greg Horton speak at Language World earlier this year. Greg had some more excellent ideas for using song – take a look and feel free to get in touch if you want more of an explanation.

#lw2013 Language World 2013: Greg Horton – Motivational Ideas with Song

I was actually at Language World with work this year, but I was able to sneak off and take advantage of a fun and highly useful session given by Greg Horton.

Firstly, it was a delight to be in a session dominated by German for once ūüôā – although most of these ideas would also work with other languages.

Greg made some excellent suggestions as to how music can play a part in language learning, so here are a few of his ideas:

Obviously, some artists have already recorded songs in German, and can be used for scene-setting, a classroom treat, or a means of showing that not all popular music has to be in English.  Examples which Greg gave were: Peter Gabriel, Kraftwerk, and Nena. And of course, David Bowie.

But here are some other ideas which Greg suggested:

  • Pupils choose any tune they currently like, and sing a question in TL. ¬†Their partner answers, also using the same tune.
  • Ich bin dein Gummib√§r – use to practise masculine adjective endings “Ich bin dein kleiner, gr√ľner, s√ľsser …. Gummib√§r”
  • Da Da Da¬†– give simple opinions in four syllables: “Ich liebe gr√ľn, ich hasse gelb, aha” and sing their own version. ¬†Can also look at how “liebe” becomes shortened to “lieb'”, and so can gain an extra syllable.
  • Sing personal pronouns to karaoke version of “We Will Rock You” – (Ich, du, er ,sie, wir, ihr, Sie, sie).
  • In a similar vein, sing the verb¬†“sein” to the theme of Mission Impossible¬†(actions and movement around the classroom make this very lively and memorable!)
  • Use the song Jeden Tag bin ich bei Facebook drin to reinforce the phrase “gef√§llt mir”.

  • Pupils can make their own lyrics to express what their mobile phone means to them using the chorus from Mein neues Handy.
  • Timeline Dancing: pupils work in pairs and must ‘waltz’. One partner says a sentence – if it’s in present tense, step sideways; past tense, step back; future tense, step forward. If it also includes an opinion, twirl! This can be scaffolded by having some phrases visible on the board if necessary.

*Gratuitous David Bowie video*

German links – as suggested by Year 10

As we’re investigating New Media (or whatever the GCSE theme likes to call itself), I set Year 10 some homework which involved them using either Facebook, YouTube or a search engine of their choice. ¬†If you’d like to see the actual task which I set, it’s here.

In brief, most of them decided to find things on YouTube, the links to which I have added to my wiki, so they can have a look and comment over the Easter holidays.

I still couldn’t entice all of them to do their homework, but those that did came up with some interesting things (and some not so interesting, to be honest) and at least it did get them searching for things beyond what they would normally look for.

Here’s the link to the wiki page, if you’d like to have a look at what they found.

And here’s my favourite of their finds so far:

Nur ein Wort

I came across this song by the German group Wir Sind Helden at the weekend.

Not only is it a catchy tune, but I liked the fact that the band members hold up some of the words, which brings additional opportunities for work in class.

The full lyrics are here, and the worksheet I used for gap fill is here.  Hope you like it!