All teachers of English Language Learners know that encouraging speaking is always a “tough nut to crack.” I’ve written a lot about how I try to do it in the classroom, and how I’ve used technology to help with it.

Those tech resources and strategies have included using Instagram videos, narrated Fotobabbles to promote speaking and metcognition, iPhone apps for creating audio puppet shows, and videos for sister classes around the world.

Having students sing is a staple for ELL teachers and students, too (see The Best Music Websites For Learning English). I’ve just tried an experiment with music and tech that I think I’ll be making a regular part of my class routine now.

One of my classes is a combined Beginning and Intermediate English Language Learner one. This past week, the Beginners learned “You Are So Beautiful” (the number one song, in my humble opinion, out there for ELLs). It’s part of our unit on description words. They then performed it for the Intermediate ELLs, agreed to let me record it with my iPhone, and I uploaded it to SoundCloud and posted the recording on our class blog.

Here it is for your enjoyment:

My Beginning students developed new vocabulary, had fun, practiced listening, speaking and reading, and performed for an authentic audience. And are very motivated to do it again! What more can I ask from a lesson?

It was easy to record on my iPhone and upload to SoundCloud.

Unfortunately, its iPhone app eliminated the recording function. However, another app, Audio Copy, is set up to record and provides an easy feature to upload to SoundCloud.

I’m sure plenty of other teachers have done this before, but it was a first — though not the last– for me!