Singing songs in class is an excellent way to improve fluency, stress and intonation in a way that allows shyer students to participate fully. It can also be a fun way to introduce new vocabulary and practice grammatical structures. The learning potential of the songs you teach your students is incredibly powerful, so these songs should be chosen carefully (I studied French at school for 3 years, and the only thing I learnt was 'bonjour monsieur' - which no one in France could understand when I said it, the ability to count up to ten, and the words to the song 'Frere Jacques'!). In my opinion, the exercise below makes an excellent end of term activity.
Here's an example of how to use songs to sing:
Download and print the pictures and sounds for the song - this activity can be done in groups.
Old McDonald had a farm - pics
Old McDonald had a farm - sounds
Download the MP3 version of the song from the following site http://www.thanksmuch.com/kids/old-macdonald-had-a-farm-mp3.html
After download, the song can be copied to a cd-rom in a form which can be played on any cd player (I use the Nero program).
Before the class starts, check that the verson on cd you have plays! :-)
Print out enough copies of the pictures for each group and cut out the sounds which go with each picture. I have printed out the pictures and sounds on cardboard and covered them in sticky back plastic so that the same exercise can be reused.
If necessary, put your students in groups of 2 or 3.
I usually start with "Did you know that English animals also speak a different language? - What sound does and English dog make?" (answer = 'woof, woof')
Distribute one copy of the omd01 pictures to each group. For lower levels, elicit the names of the animals (don't forget that 'sheep' is an irregular plural noun - 1 sheep, 2 sheep, 3 sheep), higher levels learn the names of the young animals on the worksheet (calf, chick, lamb, piglet & duckling).
Then distribute one copy of the pictures along with the one group of the five cut up sounds to each group. Students match the sounds to the pictures, and practise the sounds..
Ask students to write a page heading "Songs to sing" in their notebooks. "Drill "Old McDonald had a farm", write it on the board under the word "Chorus" and ask the students to copy it. Drill "E, I, E, I, O" (I prefer to use the alphabet letters rather than the onomatopoeic form of these sounds, as these letters sometimes give my Brazilian students difficulty) and students write it on a new line. Do the same with:
And on that farm he had some cows, E, I, E, I, O.
With a 'moo', 'moo' here and a 'moo', 'moo' there, here a 'moo', there a 'moo', everywhere a 'moo', 'moo'. (Chorus)
(use a different colour for the animals and sounds so that the substitution in the song is easier).
2. chickens - cluck
3. sheep - baa
4. pigs = (an) oink
5. ducks - quack
Play the first two verses of the song (with you singing!!!), so that your students can see how the substitution works, then play the song right the way through with everyone singing!
NOTE! IN SOME CULTURES, PIGS ARE SEEN AS UNCLEAN ANIMALS, SO BE CAREFUL THAT NONE OF YOUR STUDENTS ARE OFFENDED BY THE REFERENCE TO THEM IN THIS SONG.