Friday, 28 May 2021

ELT Songs to get your students singing, dancing and speaking


I often dread looking at 'made for ELT' songs and music (I actually have a degree in music and studied jazz performance), but I was recently nicely surprised to see what ELT Songs have been doing on their site. They really seem to have got the knack of  approaching and creating songs for younger learners well and with obviously very high production values.

If you check out the ELT Songs site you can find 58 units (with an additional 68 new units coming later this year). Each consisting of 6 videos per unit all of which are 100% aligned to the Cambridge Young Learners curriculum (starters, movers and flyers). The videos are great and really tap into the current K-Pop style with songs and synchronised dance moves and even UK sign language integrated in to help students understand the words while they sing and dance along and enjoy learning.

The lesson videos from each unit cover conversation practice, pronunciation, vocabulary rap and grammar tutorials as well as karaoke where students can just sing along. The videos are hosted on Vimeo, so they are all high quality, can have closed captions on or off, and you aren't going to be surprised by any unsuitable ads.
As well as the videos they provide teachers with downloadable lesson plans, worksheets, and flashcards. You can see a nice example here in the 'Downloads' section underneath the video panel:
As well as the core offer they have a great resources section that has videos with tips and advice from some of the best young learner materials writers in ELT publishing. These include:

The blog is also another great resource and it has lots of materials, and activities around a wide range of topics.
I love this posting about International Women's Day and ideas for helping make students aware of issues around gender equality and download able lesson plan. This can be a difficult but really important issue to address with younger learners and they handle this in a really positive way.
Not all the materials are free but there is a free trial that runs until the end of July, so that's lots of time to try things out and maybe even convince your school to make the purchase so that you get access to additional features like student tracking, fluency and pronunciation activities, Google Classroom integration and some free training.
If your school isn't interested then individual teacher pricing is under $4 a month and that can save you a LOT of planning and preparation time so that seems like really great value for anyone who is teaching young learners.

Overall ELT Songs is a really great resource with lots of really great speaking and listening activities for kids. I hope you and your students really enjoy it.
More Teacher Resources
You can find links to many more resources like this and activities for the digital classroom in my e-books at:
To sign up for my free newsletter and get a free copy of Digital Tools for Teachers go to:
Check Out My Books:
Nik Peachey  

Saturday, 13 February 2021

Create Video Word Clouds with Quillionz Skimthru

 If you’ve read my QuickShout blog before then you probably already know a little about Quillionz and their awesome AI based app that analyses text and creates comprehension questions in minutes. Well now they have a new tool for us to enjoy.

Quillionz Skimthru is a word cloud creation tool with a difference. It actually analyses the closed captions from videos and creates word clouds that play in parallel to the video.

This is really simple to use, just register on the Quillionz Skimthru site, then copy the link from your video and paste it into the interface field.

Next add a title and select a domain for the video based on the type of content.

Then just click on proceed. Wait a few minutes and the word cloud will appear beside the video.

To skim through this video quickly, drag the dot on the progress bar of the Skimthru panel or video for a minute or more and release it.

I really like this combination of word cloud and video, and it seems like a nice bridge to helping students understand the content, without going all the way to subtitles.

If you make copies of the word clouds you can use them in a number of ways.
  • You can pre-teach vocabulary from the word cloud.
  • You can get students to predict content based on the word cloud.
  • You can use the word clouds to prompt students' memory of the videos and help them to remember the content.
  • Students can use the words from the word cloud to write summary statements about the video.

Here’s an example I created from a short animated poem 'The Peace of Wild Things'.

There are lots of useful videos on The Kids Should See This that you can use with students. They are very content rich and most have closed captions.

Quillionz Skimthru has some limitations:

  • It only works with YouTube videos at present
  • The videos need to have closed captions
  • The quality of the word cloud depends on the quality of the captions (mistakes in the captions cause mistakes in the word cloud)

Quillionz Skimthru is an early release of a new tool, and it will be interesting to see how the company develops this.
It would be great to have a bit more control over which and how many words appear in the cloud and also when and how often it changes, but even without these features it’s a really useful tool for supporting students understanding of video content.

I hope you use and enjoy it with your students.

More Teacher Resources
You can find links to many more resources like this and activities for the digital classroom in my e-books at:
To sign up for my free newsletter and get a free copy of Digital Tools for Teachers go to:
Check Out My Books:
Nik Peachey