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Need help choosing songs to help teach english


BluesWithoutBlame

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I'm an American living in Norway. I have a neighbor from Sri Lanka. He has asked my to try and help out his daughters to learn better english, conversational english.

 

Not being a teacher, I need all the help I can get. I was thinking that somewhere in our lessons I would teach them some songs. That always seemed easier for me when learning spanish, norwegian, etc.

 

Thing is, they are young (and I gravitate to old blues...definitely not appropriate) and I think it shouldn't be too hard, too many verses at least for the first few songs I teach them.

 

So, any good ideas here? I think songs that are too childish (like "Mary had a little lamb" or "itsy bitsy spider" ) aren't right either. They ought to be grown-up songs, just not too complex, and not too many big words.

 

Cm'on folks...give me a hand...any great suggestions?

 

 

Thanks!

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Check out my original music at

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"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice,

but not in practice."

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English is not my first language, so I can relate to your problem.

First thing that comes to mind: what about a few simple old songs from the Beatles or the Abba repertoire? Their lyrics are simple, without big or foul words and, especially in the case of Abba, have a joyous feeling that a child can surely enjoy.

Plus, Abba is from Scandinavia too... ;)

Korg PA3X Pro 76 and Kronos 61, Roland G-70, Integra 7 and BK7-m, Casio PX-5S, Fender Stratocaster with Fralin pickups, Fender Stratocaster with Kinman pickups, 1965 Gibson SG Standard
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Bluesape, SIT UP STRAIGHT...and STOP goofing around here. Be Seeerrrious! Or else you'll get detention.

 

WHY can't you be more like Dreamer there, who is attentive, and gives good suggestions?

 

Hey...maybe I CAN be a teacher :)

 

Seriously, bluesape, I am NOT going to be teaching them to sing words like "groovy" so 60's rock is probably not the best alternative. I can just picture their father telling me "oh..gee...thanks, you've really helped my daughters, if only THE HIPPIES WERE IN CHARGE AND IT WAS THE 60's AGAIN!! right in the nose.

 

Beatles or Abba are good suggestions.

 

And STOP slouching!

====================================================

Check out my original music at

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/jacker

 

"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice,

but not in practice."

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Abba and the Beatles sound like the ticket. I was about to suggest some folky stuff too: that has the advantage that the words tend to be clearer.

 

There's also some Oz band called The Wiggles that do (apparently) some really good stuff for kids and have been a big success since day #1. Maybe Philemec knows more about them, I can't turn the sound up at work.

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Originally posted by Kramer Ferrington III.:

I was about to suggest some folky stuff too: that has the advantage that the words tend to be clearer.

My mind went straight to CSN and/or Y. I dont know if the 3 piece harmonies would add or subtract to the goal though?

When i get big i'm gonn'a get an electric guitar...

When i get real big...

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I reckon if they are planning to visit the U.S. and hang out with the kids here, you'd better use rap music. It's like they have their own language. I can't understand a damned thing (which is probably good).

"And so I definitely, when I have a daughter, I have a lot of good advice for her."

~Paris Hilton

 

BWAAAHAAAHAAHAAA!!!

 

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I`ve been through quite a lot of this in Japan.

One thing is, it`s not just simple words you`re after but having them sung at a reasonable pace to hear what`s going on. Most rap is totally out, you`ll spend all day explaining slang that isn`t useful for a young student. One teacher I worked with not only played the Beatles but had a Ricky bass and amp set up in class, he played along with the songs. Cool way to practice at work eh?

 

Anyway here`s some suggested titles/artists:

 

Rhythm is gonna get you-Miami Sound Machine

 

lots of songs by The Carpenters-Top of the World is popular here.

 

What a wonderful world

 

Fly-Sugar Ray

 

Fleetwood Mac has some good ones-You Make Loving Fun, for ex.

 

Hey Mickey-the babe group B`witched did a more synthy remake of that one, your student may like it more.

 

There`s others but that`s what I can think of right offhand, should be a start anyway.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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BTW, www.pitara.com has many short stories written from an Indian/Hindi point of view. I use them currently although I`m not sure how much my student is absorbing the cultural angle. For grammar stuff try www.bogglesworld.com (U.K. based) or www.edhelper.com

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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A good kids song that is folksy and easy to sing is "Puff The Magic Dragon". Some people say that the song is about drug use (pot specifically) but I don't.

 

It's has the bonus that it's also an easy song to play and sounds good on an acoustic (not so good on an electric).

Born on the Bayou

 

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what`s wrong with `everybody must get stoned`?

 

Anyway, once you have some songs compiled, you probably know that it`s always good to know in advance what you are going to teach from a particular song. Don`t just play anything. For example if you want to teach verb + ing, you could use Rod Stewart`s `I Am Sailing` then have some pattern practice to go with it. Have the students do an action and then say, `I am reading/drinking/walking, etc.` then they can use `you are` the same way.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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Originally posted by BluesWithoutBlame:

Bluesape, SIT UP STRAIGHT...and STOP goofing around here. Be Seeerrrious! Or else you'll get detention.

 

WHY can't you be more like Dreamer there, who is attentive, and gives good suggestions?

 

Hey...maybe I CAN be a teacher :)

 

Seriously, bluesape, I am NOT going to be teaching them to sing words like "groovy" so 60's rock is probably not the best alternative. I can just picture their father telling me "oh..gee...thanks, you've really helped my daughters, if only THE HIPPIES WERE IN CHARGE AND IT WAS THE 60's AGAIN!! right in the nose.

 

Beatles or Abba are good suggestions.

 

And STOP slouching!

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(looks at floor and passes bong)

 

http://www.websmileys.com/sm/aliens/spacecraft.gif

Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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Guys, just wanted to give a big THANK YOU! for all the great suggestions.

 

I'm mulling them all over, and there are some really good ideas there, as well as some that shared some good advice.

 

This is like sailing into unknown terriroty, I think the main thing I have to do is gauge where they now are with english, at what level, and then go from there, playing "store" or playacting situations, etc. and including learning some of the songs mentioned here.

 

But really, you folk have all been a great help to me here!

 

Slight other problem (not a biggie but...) I have now been almost exclusively speaking norwegian for 13 years...my friends all mention I have an accent now when I speak english, though I think they are just ribbing me a little...it probably is there a little. When I am in the US, it goes away after a while (I think), but here I'll probably have it every time I teach them, since I will not have been around native speakers for a while.

 

Ah well, I'll do the best I can.

 

Thanks for all the thoughtful and helpful ideas!

====================================================

Check out my original music at

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/jacker

 

"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice,

but not in practice."

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