Sunday, January 5, 2014

"Rapping" our way to new vocabulary

Jason R. Levine is a very motivated and accomplished teacher, who uses rap music to teach English. I really love the energy and all the work he does.
This particular song is teaching new vocabulary for exams like TOEFL, SAT, GRE etc, which is particularly difficult to memorize.

Since I have a lot of TOEFL, CPE and ECPE students this year, I got really enthusiastic with this song!!
How will I use it?

  • Play the video to my students and have them write down as many words they can.
  • Have students explain the words (if they are not familiar with the vocabulary try to guess, having in mind the explanations given in the song)
  • Give them some synonyms and ask students to find the words while listening to the song again
For example:
  1. agree,comply:
  2. ease, help:
  3. move, pull to another spot:
  4. provoke:
  5. raise one's spirits:
  6. intensify:
  7. distribute:
  8. mourn, grieve:
  9. waste away:
  10. cloud, fog:
  • Students can use online dictionaries or thesaurus to find the definitions or synonyms of the vocabulary (like wordreference or
  • As homework, they could write sentences with the vocabulary given 
  • A more difficult task is choose 10 words and have the students include them in a story


Kevin Stein said...

Hi Theodora,

So glad to have found your blog. What a great collection of posts. I'm really thrilled to find this one. I also have to do a lot of TOEIC prep and find it hard to get students excited to study vocabulary, especially as so many of these low frequency words feel particularly test-only-ish.

Looking forward to reading many more of your posts in 2014.

Kevin (@kevchanwow)

Theodora Pap said...

I just love using songs with my students. They learn in a fun way and don't complain about the vocabulary load!