Spice up your ESL lessons with songs

/ A1, A2, B1, B2, Grammar training, Lesson tips, Listening training, Teachers, Vocabulary training

November 2020 – Songs in ESL lessons are an evergreen possibility to lead into a new topic or introduce a new grammatical structure, they can be an excellent exercise to wind down a lesson and even in between two exercises (filler), they are good for making students relax, teach grammar and/or vocabulary through listening or just prepare for the next task. In this post, I would like to show you some interactive worksheets to do while listening to some great classics and also some newer hits – with embedded YouTube videos.

Level A1:

Elvis Presley: Are You Lonesome Tonight?
(Fill in the missing simple past forms, then complete the questions with one auxiliary verb)

Van Morrison: When the leaves come falling down
(10 gaps to fill with words related to the autumn/fall)

Michael Bublé: Put your Head on my Shoulder
(Body parts and verbs related to them)


Roy Orbison: Pretty woman (Fill in 10 given verbs)
The Bangles: Eternal Flame (Reorganize the lines)
Boyzone: No Matter What (Choose the missing personal pronounce)
Doris Day: Dream a Little Dream of Me (10 missing verbs related to feelings)
Frank Sinatra: The way you look tonight (Fill in the missing adjectives)
The Cure: Friday I’m in Love (Pick the right day)

Level A2:

QUEEN: Miracle
(Tick the items you hear in the song, then complete 5 phrases/sentences with one missing word)

John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band: Imagine
(Decide if you see the same words as the ones you hear)

Micheal Bublé: For once in my life
(10 simple verbs in different tenses: simple present, simple past, simple future, present perfect, used to)

QUEEN: We are the Champions
(Complete the song with the missing present perfect and past participle forms, then use 10 Phrasal Verbs/idioms from the song in gapped sentences)

Van Morrison: I’ll never be free
(Fill in the missing prepositions)

Adele: Turning Tables
(reorder the verses and complete future/first conditional sentences)


Nicole Kidman: One Day I’ll Fly Away (Decide if the highlighted word is verb or a noun here)
Neil Young: Oh, lonesome me (Answer to questions and complete the lyrics with the expressions from these questions)

Level B1:

Shania Twain: Ka-Ching!
(Fill in 10 nouns related to ‘money’, the missing words are not given)
You can use this set of QUIZLET questions when teaching this topic.

QUEEN: Somebody to love
(10 words changed in the lyrics, find them and type in the correct words)

Celine Dion: River Deep – Mountain High
(Three tasks for the same song: complete missing verb forms, missing comparative forms and match sentence halves)

Sting: Englishman in New York
(Reconstruct 10 scrambled words)

Van Morrison: Precious Time
(Complete the rhyming endings)


Eric Clapton: Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out (Fill in simple past forms and 6 idiomatic expressions, Topic: Money and Friendship)
Christina Aguilera: The Right Man (12 prepositions, like upon, through, down, behind, etc., removed from the lyrics)
Led Zeppelin: Going to California (Match 10 idiomatic expressions to their meanings)

Level B1+:

Michael Jackson: Smile
(Phrasal Verbs and words describing feelings)

Ed Sheeran: Perfect
(Fill in the missing idiomatic expressions)
pdf version to print

Sting: When we dance
(will/won’t or would what you hear? – mind: the song also shows ‘incorrect’ first and second conditional uses)


Anastacia: Left Outside Alone (Complete the end of the lines with one missing word – rhyme building)
Eric Clapton: Running on Faith (Complete the lyrics with 10 verbs in different tenses and conditional forms)
Guns’n Roses: November Rain (Decide which article is missing: a/an, the or ‘zero article)

Level B2:

Sting: Russians (Topic: The Cold War, 10 words/expressions changed)

George Michael: Kissing a fool (Speculation about the past, idiomatic expressions)

Sia: Chandelier (Colloquial English: gonna, gotta, ’cause, etc.)


Mary J. Blige & U2: One (Recognize idiomatic expressions and match them to their meanings)
Sting: It’s probably me (Choose an adequate interpretation for each verse)

You just can’t get enough? Then check out these materials:

Two interactive song worksheets leading into intriguing topics about gender roles and bad mood or the evil in human beings. Great for teen classes.



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