In recent months I have used songs of various types for teaching pronunciation, parts of speech, vocabulary, grammar, and more.
Last week it was I've Never Been to Spain, by Three Dog Night, for practice with the present perfect tense and compound sentences.
On Thursday we listened to the song and discussed the use of the present perfect. Then on Monday, we listened again and I gave a writing assignment: Write your own "I've never been to..., but I ..." sentence, and go on to explain a little bit about it.
My example was, "I've never been to Denmark, but I like to play with Lego." I reminisced about my childhood Lego collection, the special chest of drawers my dad built to store it, and the endless hours I spent building castles and houses, people and cars. I told about how sorry I was that my parents sold the Lego when they sold their house. My own sons and their love for Lego came next, followed by a lesson learned: don't sell the Lego!
Some of my students are very well educated and literate, so they wrote at length. Others wrote 3 or 4 sentences. But all the compositions were superb, each one unique. One student has never been to India, but she loves Indian food; while one of the men has never been to Italy but loves Italian food and told the story of taking his girlfriend -- now his wife -- to an Italian restaurant on their first date.
All in all, it was a highly successful set of lessons based on a song from my youth.
Afterwards, however, I realized that I had missed a great opportunity:
I've never been to Finland, but I ride my bike in winter!