Exploiting songs with textivate

This blog post looks at some of the sorts of activities that you can do with textivate to exploit a song. The song itself can be embedded as a video, or as audio, or students can access it in a separate browser tab or window.

1. Tiles

This is shown in the image at the top of this post and involves dragging the tiles of text so that they are in the correct order. This works particularly well if the number of lines in the song matches the number of tiles on the screen, as in the example in the image above. If this is the case, simply ensure that any link to the activity is set to "split by sentence" (or ask students to navigate to the page and select this option). If this isn't the case, it isn't a problem, but selecting "split by sentence" ensures that the text is broken by either full stops or line breaks, which makes it clearer in my opinion.

>> Try this activity!!

2. Multi-choice

Students listen and choose the next line from the 3, 4 or 5 options presented to them. Again, select "split by sentence" to show each line as a separate option. (Otherwise the whole song will simply by divided up according to the number of words.)

>> Try this activity!!

3. Million

Similar to multi-choice, above, but the text is always split into 13 sections (the first of which is displayed at the beginning). Using "split by sentence" will mean that the text will be split up according to line breaks or full stops, and then some of these will be combined to make 13 sections in total.

>> Try this activity!!

4. Gap-fill / cloze

A random gap-fill is automatically generated based on the text of your song. It is random because the gaps displayed are different each time the screen is shown. Which means that no 2 students will have the same gaps on their screens. You can choose to show or hide the word list, and also whether or not the answers are automatically checked. The link below includes the word list, and auto-check is on:

>> Try the random gap-fill activity!!

Teachers can also create a user-defined gap-fill using a button on the textivate home page. With the user-defined gap-fill, the same gaps are shown each time the page loads. All students will have the same exercise. See the example below, which, again, includes the word list and has auto-check switched on:

>> Try the user-defined gap-fill activity!!

5. Space

Students need to click into the text to separate words that are stuck together (and to add punctuation, such as the ¿ at the beginning of the text in the image above). You can choose how many words are affected. In the image above and the example below, 1 in 3 words are affected.

>> Try this activity!!

6. Next word

Students listen and click the text items in the correct order. Each time 10 options are shown. This activity splits the text into 1, 2 or 3 word chunks. The image above and example below use 3 word chunks.

>> Try this activity!!

7. Jumble

A jumbled words activity, where each line of the song is presented as a jumble of words. Students click the words to put them in order.

>> Try this activity!!


The following activities are variations on a sort of dictation activity, with varying levels of support...

8. No vowels

All of the vowels have been removed from the text. Students listen and fill them in.

>> Try this activity!!

9. No consonants

All of the consonants have been removed. Students listen and fill them in.

>> Try this activity!!

10. 50:50

50% of all letters from the song have been removed. With 50:50 you also have the option to select how many words are affected. In the image above and the example below all words are affected.

>> Try this activity!!

11. Anagrams

In the image above (and the example below) 1 in 3 words have been removed from the song. Students click the blanked out words to see an anagram of that particular word. They click the letters in order to complete the word. (You can set the number of words affected, from 1 in 5 to all words.)

>> Try this activity!!

12. Initials

Only the initial letter is shown for each word in the song. Students listen and fill it in. Can also be done without filling it in, where students simply test themselves to see if they can remember the lyrics. In the image above (and the example below) all words are affected, but this can be set to affect as few as 1 in 5 words.

>> Try this activity!!

13. No letters

This activity removes all letters, leaving only word shapes. In the image above and the example below, half of the words have been removed, but this can be set to affect from 1 in 5 words to all words.

>> Try this activity!!

Parallel texts?

Add a parallel English text with a more or less literal translation in English, line by line, and you have all sorts of other options which reinforce the meaning of the lyrics. You can't show the embedded video and parallel text at the same time, but you could easily have the video open in a different tab. All of these activities then become sort of scaffolded translation activities, with varying levels of support. You can do them with or without the audio (do them without if the students are already familiar with the song and have done some of the activities above).

14. Tiles translation

>> Try tiles translation!!

15. Multi-choice translation

>> Try multi-choice translation!!

16. Million translation

>> Try million translation!!

17. Cloze translation

>> Try random cloze translation!!

>> Try user-defined cloze translation!!

18. Space translation

>> Try space translation!!

19. Next word translation

>> Try next word translation!!

20. Jumble translation

>> Try jumble translation!!

21. No vowels translation

>> Try no vowels translation!!

22. No consonants translation

>> Try no consonants translation!!

23. 50:50 translation

>> Try 50:50 translation!!

24. Anagrams translation

>> Try anagrams translation!!

25. Initials translation

>> Try initials translation!!

26. No letters translation

>> Try no letters translation!!