Hitting the Right Note:
Extending the Theme of Your Song – Practice Activity #3

2013_Heyer_SandraSandra Heyer

One way to extend the lessons in True Stories Behind the Songs and More True Stories Behind the Songs is to follow up each song with an activity based on the theme of the unit. Each month I’ll share a song-based activity that has worked well with my beginning and high-beginning students. This month, let’s look at some examples of song choices and personalizing the theme of a song with an activity called Draw-Write-Share.

Many popular songs have themes that are universal: love, resilience, friendship, and family, to name just a few. So it’s easy to see how a song can set the stage for a meaningful class discussion. What is perhaps not so easy is finding a way to structure the discussion for beginning students. A speaking activity that gives your students the opportunity to plan—in contrast to a spontaneous discussion–is generally better suited to the beginning level; it makes it more likely that every student will speak. (In The Art of Teaching Speaking Ken Folse makes a strong case for incorporating a “planning phase” into discussions at every level to ensure more successful student output.) One of my favorite discussion activities for beginners, Draw-Write-Share, has a two-part planning phase. Continue reading