Whatever type of music you’re into, learning English with songs will help you improve your listening and speaking skills, vocabulary and pronunciation.
1. Choose a song that’s in English
It can be any song at all. A song that you like, that you’ve listened to several times before. Have you found it? Great! Now …
2. Listen to the song
Do you understand all of the lyrics?
Probably not! But don’t worry – people hardly ever understand every word of a song the first time they hear it. The words have to fit the rhythm of the music, so they are often difficult to understand.
3. Read the lyrics
Find the lyrics online. Many music streaming services have a setting where you can listen and read the lyrics at the same time.
Listen to the song again while you read. Now it starts to make a bit more sense!
Make a note of new or interesting words and phrases. You don’t have to look up every single word in the dictionary. Try to learn five to ten new words per song.
4. Notice pronunciation
You may notice some strange-looking words! Some words in songs are written as they are pronounced.
‘Wanna’, for example, is an informal spelling of ‘want to’.
What about ‘gonna’ and ‘gimme’? What are these informal spellings of?
As you listen, notice how phrases are pronounced. This really helps you understand people when they’re talking fast.
5. Listen again and join in
As you listen, start to join in with the easier parts. Sing as quietly or as loudly as you want!
The chorus – the part of the song that is repeated several times – will probably be what you can sing along to first.
6. Sing along
Listen to the song a few more times, and each time join in with a little bit more.
By now the song is really in your head! You’re really feeling the rhythm of the music and the lyrics.
Tomorrow, next week or whenever you feel like learning a new song, do the same thing again. But don’t forget to come back to the old songs, especially your favourites.
As parents, we are busy – especially in the morning! It can be difficult to establish a consistent calendar routine this time of day.
1. Keep it simple. Don’t try to achieve too many things with your calendar routine or you won’t be consistent. Start with the basics. If you need to, do your calendar routine the night before when things are calmer in the house.
2. Add your calendar routine to you child’s morning job chart. Check off the tasks on this chart each morning so you don’t forget any of them. This signals that the calendar routine is important and, if it is on the morning job chart, you will do it consistently. For more on morning routines, check out this post:
3. Start with a ‘days of the week’ song. See the videos below if you need more ideas. I’d like to give a shout out to Blanca Stingl, an amazing kindergarten teacher with a great calendar routine. I got many of these ideas from her. Give your child a pointer and allow him/her to point at the days of the week as you sing. When you introduce letter sounds, have your child look for the day of the week that starts with the ‘mmm’ sound (Monday).
4. Help your child select the number for the date. By doing this repetitively, your child will soon recognize numbers to 30.
5. Sing a ‘months of the year’ song. You may only want to do this a couple of times each month. If your child is getting bored or fidgety, keep your calendar routine shorter. Create a dance or let your child use the pointer for the months of the year to keep him/her moving.
6. Sing “What’s the weather like today?”. Then, look out the window and decide. Put up the appropriate weather label.
7. Finally, mention the season. You may want to read a book about ‘winter’ when the season changes. Discuss winter clothing, activities, and changes in the environment. You can do this each time a season changes. This can be a starting point for some great seasonal learning activities.
In this lesson plan, learners will be introduced to the Shakespeare play Twelfth Night through a short animated video. They will watch the video and complete comprehension activities, and then will be guided to think about and discuss the idea of ‘disguise’ from the play. Finally learners will develop their creative writing skills by imagining and writing about disguising themselves as someone for the day.
In this lesson plan, learners will be introduced to the Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet through a short animated video. They will watch the video and complete comprehension activities, and then will be guided to think about and discuss the idea of ‘family feuds’ from the play. Finally learners will develop their speaking skills by role playing a situation where two friends have done something mean to each other.
In this lesson plan, learners will be introduced to the Shakespeare play Much Ado About Nothing through a short animated video. They will watch the video and complete comprehension activities, and then will be guided to think about and discuss the idea of ‘deception’ from the play. Finally learners will develop their speaking and writing skills by surveying their classmates about the most important qualities in a friend.
In this lesson plan, learners will be introduced to the Shakespeare play Macbeth through a short animated video. They will watch the video and complete comprehension activities, and then will be guided to think about and discuss the idea of ‘ambition’ from the play. Finally learners will develop their writing skills by thinking and writing about what job they would like to have when they grow up.
In this lesson plan, learners will be introduced to the Shakespeare play Hamlet through a short animated video. They will watch the video and complete comprehension activities, and then will be guided to think about and discuss the ideas of ‘revenge’ and ‘confusion’ from the play. Finally learners will develop their creative writing skills by planning and writing a ghost story.
In this lesson plan, learners will be introduced to the Shakespeare play A Midsummer Night’s Dream through a short animated video. They will complete comprehension activities and then think about and discuss the ideas of ‘dreams’ and ‘magic’ from the play, with the teacher’s guidance. Finally learners will develop their creative writing skills by imagining and writing about either a magical dream or a magic potion or spell.
Earth Day, which was established in 1970 in the US, is celebrated on 22nd April each year. It is a day to think about our planet and what we can do to keep it special; to think about saving water and energy, reducing pollution, recycling, protecting our animals, trees and plants, and generally getting kids interested in protecting their environment.
“Treat the Earth well. It was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. Kenyan proverb
Here are some quick ideas for celebrating Earth Day with your children:
Plant a tree
Go for a bike ride or a long walk (leave the car behind)
Hold a nature “scavenger hunt” (send the kids out into the garden or park in teams to collect – or spot – various items on a list you provide – we have some scavenger hunt printables you can use here!)
Print out some of our posters and place in strategic positions around the house. Talk about saving water when brushing teeth and saving energy by turning off the lights when you leave a room
Bake your favourite cookie or biscuit recipe and let the kids decorate with icing to look like the planet earth
Gather family and friends together and combine a picnic or other excursion with a litter clean-up
Set up a recycling centre in your home or school
Look through your shelves and find some books to give away via your local charity shop or library
If you ever feel anxious about speaking English, here are some tips to help.
Do you ever feel scared or worried about speaking English? Perhaps you get sweaty hands or your heart starts beating fast. Those are signs that you might be feeling anxious. People often feel anxious about speaking in front of classmates, speaking to native speakers, making mistakes and various other things.
Anxiety is very common, but if the worries stop you from speaking, then you might miss opportunities to practise your English. You also can’t get much feedback on your speaking from the teacher or other people. Other people miss out on the chance to hear your ideas as well.
It takes time to overcome anxiety about speaking English, but it can be done! Here are some tips.
1. Set yourself a goal
Start small. Set a goal that is a bit challenging but achievable and not too scary. For example:
Say ‘How are you?’ to a classmate or an English-speaking friend.
Ask the teacher one question in your next class.
And here are some more challenging goals.
Chat with somebody for a few minutes.
Speak in front of an audience.
Speak on the phone.
Remember, the goal is not to do these things perfectly, it’s just to do them! Search for opportunities, and if you achieve your goal, that’s great! Increase the difficulty of your goals over time.
2. Think positively
Tell yourself positive things: I can do it. I’ve got this. It will be OK! Whether you are a beginner or an advanced-level speaker, thinking negatively will limit what you do. Thinking positively will help you to do your best and improve.
3. Face your fears (gently)
If you feel anxious, you may want to avoid speaking. It might be easier to do something totally different, such as reading or grammar exercises. However, avoiding the issue can just make it grow bigger and scarier. Don’t wait – start speaking little by little. It will be OK!
4. Look for a good partner
Try to find someone who you feel comfortable speaking with, perhaps somebody who is patient and kind and keen to speak English too. If you can practise speaking regularly, it should help to reduce anxious feelings.
5. Plan what to do in case of problems
We often worry about having problems like these and not knowing how to deal with them.
What if I forget a word?
What if my mind goes blank?
What if I don’t understand what the other person is saying?
By planning what you will do and say if these situations occur, you may feel less anxious. If you forget a word, for example, prepare some phrases such as I can’t remember the word. What I mean is … and then try to describe the word. You could perhaps use synonyms (It’s similar to …) or antonyms (It’s the opposite of …). Or if somebody says something you don’t understand, you can say Sorry, I didn’t get that or Sorry, could you say that again? Write these phrases in your notebook and practise them.
Communication is never 100 per cent smooth, not even for native speakers. Overcoming such problems is a very normal part of speaking.
6. Accept problems and mistakes
Learning a language is not easy, and you will definitely have problems and make mistakes along the way. Everybody does! But making a mistake can teach you a lot and help you to improve your skills. Remember that good speakers are not people who speak perfectly all the time. Instead, good speakers can solve communication problems when they occur.
7. Note your progress
Over days and weeks, experiment with different ways to reduce and cope with anxiety, and keep notes of what works for you and what doesn’t. Note down your speaking goals too and tick them as you achieve them, so that you can see your progress and build up positive experiences of speaking.
8. Reward yourself
If you try hard and make progress but your reward is just to do more practice, it might not be very motivating. So, reward yourself with something nice like eating a chocolate, buying a new notebook, taking time off to relax or whatever makes you feel good. Reward yourself when you achieve a goal, overcome a problem, learn something important or do something challenging.
Learn about William Shakespeare, the world’s most famous playwright, and enjoy our colouring pages and printable activities, puzzles and worksheets.
Shakespeare Week is a national celebration of all things Shakespeare and a great excuse to read or watch plays (or poetry), discover some of the words that Shakespeare introduced to the English language, and learn about the man! Get involved from 20th to 26th March 2023. Or why not celebrate Shakespeare Day on his birthday, 23rd April?
Who Was William Shakespeare?
William Shakespeare (1564–1616) was an English playwright, actor and poet, and is widely regarded as the greatest English writer of all time. His plays have been translated into more than 100 languages and continue to be performed around the world to this day. He also introduced nearly 3,000 words to the English language. Find out more about this talented man who continues to influence our lives over 400 years after his death.
The original Globe Theatre
Although William’s exact birth date is uncertain, it is traditionally celebrated on 23rd April – the same date that he died, aged 52.
There are so many famous quotes from Shakespeare. Here are just a few of them:
“All that glitters is not gold.”
“If music be the food of love, play on.”
“To be, or not to be: that is the question.”
“To thine own self be true.”
“A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
A Short Biography of William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was born 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. His father John was a leather merchant while his mother Mary was the daughter of wealthy farmer. William had two older sisters and three younger brothers.
William went to the local grammar school where he studied history, Greek and Latin. At 18, he married Anne Hathaway (aged 26) and the couple went on to have three children together – Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. Sadly their son Hamnet died, aged 11.
After the twins were born, William went to London to work as an actor, leaving the family behind. He joined an acting group called Lord Chamberlain’s Men. William also wrote plays for the group, which became very popular. Some of these early plays include The Taming of the Shrew, Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. William wrote different types of plays – comedies (funny), tragedies (sad) and histories (about real people’s lives). Women weren’t allowed to act at the time, so men or young boys played the female roles!
Lord Chamberlain’s Men performed at a theatre built on land owned by Giles Allen. Although the group owned the theatre, when the land’s lease expired in 1597, Giles refused to let them perform and wanted to tear the theatre down. When negotiations failed, some of the actors devised a plan to dismantle the theatre and move it across the River Thames. They built a new theatre called the Globe, which could accommodate up to 3,000 people and became very popular. At the time, many people couldn’t read or write, so the Globe Theatre hung a flag outside to show what type of play was being performed – a comedy (white flag), a tragedy (black or dark flag), or a history (red flag).
In 1603, when James I became king, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men changed their name to the King’s Men and King James became the group’s patron. Many people think that some of William’s best plays were written during these years, many of them tragedies such as Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth. William wrote nearly 40 plays as well as poetry, and poems called sonnets. His work combined with his property and land investments made him very wealthy. He bought a large house in Stratford-upon-Avon for his family, where he retired, aged 49.
In 1613, the Globe Theatre burned down when the thatched roof caught fire during a performance of Henry VIII. It was rebuilt the following year with a tiled roof, but was later demolished during the Puritan era (when all theatres were closed) to make room for housing. Some 350 years later, a modern version was built, opening in 1997 on the banks of the River Thames.
William died in 1616, but his legacy lives on. In fact, many of his words and phrases have become part of our everyday lives. Have you ever talked about ‘being in a pickle’ (being in trouble), going on a ‘wild goose chase’ (a search for something that isn’t there), having a ‘heart of gold’ (being kind) or trying to ‘break the ice’ (to strike up conversation with a stranger)? Then you are using the words and phrases of this great playwright!
The feast of Passover, one of the most important Jewish festivals, will next be celebrated by Jews all around the world from 5th to 13th April 2023. Known as Pesach in Hebrew, Passover has been celebrated since about 1300 BC, and families coming together, from great distances if necessary, to celebrate together. The celebration last for seven or eight days depending on where you live.
The Story of Passover
The Book of Exodus in the Old Testament of the Bible tells the story of Passover. The people of Israel had been slaves in Egypt for over years. Although God promised he would release them from slavery, it seemed that the Pharaoh (the king of Egypt) had other ideas! When Moses was a very old man, he and his brother Aaron visited Pharaoh and demanded, in the name of God, that he let their people go. Pharaoh refused, claiming that he did not recognise God. Moses warned him that God would send ten plagues to Egypt to show his power.
First came the Plague of Blood. The River Nile was essential for Egyptian life, so when God turned the water of the River Nile, and all the water of Egypt, into blood, the fish and crops died and the Egyptian people suffered terribly.
Second came the Plague of Frogs: Can you imagine if everything was covered in frogs? It sounds funny but I expect it wasn’t very nice! We have a Plague of Frogs colouring page, below.
After the frogs, came the the third plague, the Plague of Lice. Everything and everyone was covered in creepy crawly itchy lice.
Fourth came the Plague of Flies. Flies swarmed into Egypt in huge numbers and got everywhere!
After the flies came the fifth plague, the Plague on Livestock. All of Egypt’s animals – horses, donkeys, camels, cows, sheep and goats – died. Egyptians began to be very hungry.
Next God sent a Plague of Boils. Boils are very painful infected spots, and the people of Egypt and all their livestock were covered with them.
Can you imagine things getting worse? After the boils came the seventh plague, the Plague of Hail, with a huge hailstorm which flattened down any surviving crops. The hail stones were so big that they killed people and animals!
Eighth came the Plague of Locusts. Locusts swarmed into Egypt and munched up any crops which were still standing, leaving nothing behind them.
After that, for the ninth plague, the people of Egypt were terrified by the Plague of Darkness. The sun disappeared and for three full days Egypt went dark.
All these plagues affected only the Egyptians. God protected Moses’ people and the Israelites were unaffected. Pharaoh, however, still refused to budge, so God sent his final, terrible plague:
The Tenth Plague – the Plague on the First-born. God told Moses that one of his angels would go from house to house and kill every Egyptian first-born son! To save Israelite children from the same fate, Moses should tell his people to follow some very specific instructions: to kill a lamb and use its blood to make a mark on their doors, then to roast and eat the lamb with bitter herbs and unleavened (flat) bread, while dressed for a journey.
Sure enough, at midnight the angel went through Egypt and every first born son was struck down, including Pharaoh’s son. The Israelite households were passed over (which is where the name of this holiday comes from). The people of Egypt were terrified and called on Pharaoh to banish the people of Israel right away, which he did. In fact, the Israelites left in such a hurry that there wasn’t time for their bread dough to rise, which is why no risen (leavened) bread is eaten during Passover now. Moses led the people out of Egypt.
There is so much inspiration to be gained from learning about Famous People of the past and present – what they achieved and how – particularly when you can put them into the context of their time. Here we take a look at famous women from all walks of life, cultures and careers, and learn about their remarkable achievements.
I just love your site and have used it so much with my family and also with classes at my school. Kim
Can I just say the site is amazing! Nicky
Your selection of what’s available and the fact that you have SO many categories and just about any day imaginable, is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Some of our students are special ed and there are so many things I’ve seen that they are capable of doing. I know the teachers are going to be thrilled to see your website. Marge
I love what u do here always so many good ideas and activities for all age groups. Wendy