Song of the week (How it works)

2018 EDIT: Since I wrote this post back in 2013, I have simplified my routine so it is more efficient and relies less on looking up words in the dictionary. Here is the updated routine.

“Chanson de la semaine” (song of the week) is a daily warm-up I use in my French classes, once they have a language foundation. The objective is to introduce my students to francophone songs (culture standard) while exposing them to authentic language (interpretive communication).

  • Day 1: students watch the video clip, and log the song in the song log. The song log allows them to look for the song on youtube or itunes later on, and also to record words or phrases they want to retain.
  • Day 2: while the song is playing, students look for vocabulary in the dictionary. I have underlined key words or phrases I want them to look for, i.e. relevant to our current focus, high frequency, or key to comprehending the song, I split them into groups, and then we all share. Finally I ask students to browse the song and make an educated guess on its theme(s).
  • Day 3: while the song is playing, students look for structures/ verbal phrases. I have bolded verbal phrases I want them to look at, tenses they would recognize as well as new tenses they might not be familiar with. I love it when later on in the year they scream “we have seen this in xyz song!”
  • Day 4: while the song is playing, students follow along with the lyrics. Some classes sing along and I hit a presentational standard! To me this is the most important day of the week, I tell my students to pay really close attention to the lyrics, as this is the day the song clicks. Even if they don’t understand the whole thing, they know enough to get what the song is about.
  • Day 5: while the song is playing (3 times), students do a cloze activity, then they spend a few minutes recording interesting phrases (interesting to them!) in their song log

Depending on the song, sometimes I toss some cultural questions in the mix.

Daily activities last between 5 and 15 minutes depending on the day/song.

I want to thank Corinne Hayes from Southwest schools, who shared this idea with me a few years ago. I have since refined it and made it my own.

Here is an example of song.

Looking for songs? Here is my (not very well updated) song collections for Novice and for Intermediate learners.


  1. I love your site and all of your ideas! For chanson de la semaine, I was wondering if you have the students enter the words of the song in the song log, or do you give them a sheet with the words on it, or what it is they put in the song log. Thanks!

    • Bonjour and thank you! In order to address your question, I have put an edit in the post so that you can see an example of song and song log! Let me know if you have any other questions 🙂

  2. Salut Cecile, je vais essayer ton concept! Bonne rentree! bises de Shelley (a

  3. Super! Je commence un nouveau cours pour des débutants cette semaine, c’est exactement ce dont j’avais besoin pour animer la méthode un peu… un peu gnan-gnan! J’aime beaucoup le découpage des étapes, vraiment pédagogique 🙂 Bravo! Laurence (Montclair State University and Caldwell University)

  4. I love this thread. French 4 is listening to Sara’h cover Adele’s “Hello” They are singing along already and it occurred to me that we may be able to discuss the backstory. What happened, why did they break up, whose fault, if you were the woman…, the man? Finally what’s necessary for a successful relationship? Interested to see how much mileage I can get out of one song!

    • Love this Carol! The very same thing happened in French 3 one year with “Tourner dans le vide” by Indila. We ended up imagining a back story.

  5. Thanks so much for sharing this! I love this concept but I’m a little confused. If you hand out the French lyrics sheet in order to work on the bold words and vocabulary throughout the week, don’t the students then have the answers to the Cloze activity on Friday? How do you deal with that? Maybe I’m just misunderstanding the order of events.

    • Kristy, thanks for your question. Since they get a second piece of paper on Friday, they cannot look at the one they worked on all week. Btw, I have changed my practice and need to update this blog post so THANK YOU for posting your comment!

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