35 more Hebrew covers of English songs that are available on iTunes

February 2, 2015

As a follow-up to my post about 20 Hebrew covers of English songs that are available on iTunes, I am adding 35 more songs to the list—based on my own discovery of new songs and iTunes’ expanding library.

These cover songs can provide a unique and motivating element to the Hebrew language classroom in English-speaking cultures, since these songs represent a bridge between the home and target languages and cultures. Through these songs learners can explore familiar melodies, discuss translation choices and the backgrounds behind Israeli translators, and how culture affected these cover versions.

As in my previous post on the topic, I have used the spelling found on iTunes so the songs are easier to find (some songs are found in Hebrew and others in transliteration)—although these spellings may be incomplete or incorrect.  I use the word “cover” freely, since the list below includes some Hebrew cover songs that carry both the same melody and a close translation, and others that just borrow the melody from the original song.

Note that this selection is based on my interests, and there is always more to discover (for example, some of these albums contain other cover songs as well):

1) Zichronot by Shlomit Aharon & Sasi Keshet, on the album Ladies & Gentleman

  • Cover of “Memory” (often called Memories) by Elaine Page on the musical Cats

2) Hakochav Shel Machoz Goosh Dan by Ehud Banai, on the Album Tip Tipa

  • Cover of “Star of the County Down” by Van Morrison and the Chieftains

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Storing and Retrieving Student Language Speaking

September 23, 2013

On the internet today, there are countless methods to record audio and then share it. These methods all vary more or less in their purposes and strengths. This blog post will review a few tools that look promising for the second language (L2) classroom, based on three different sharing purposes:

  1. Students → Teachers
  2. Students → Students
  3. Teachers → Students

These purposes will be referred to in the rest of this post as purpose #1, purpose #2, and purpose #3. Here are a few of the audio sharing tools online:


Briefly, this tool enables visitors to leave voicemails on a site, blog, Facebook, etc. Thus SpeakPipe would especially work well for purpose #1, in which a language teacher can set up a class website and let students leave voice messages in the target language. Less commonly, teachers or fellow students could also leave L2 comments for students on their blogs or Facebook accounts (purposes #2 and #3). The downside to SpeakPipe is that it is only free for a maximum of 20 messages a month of only 90 seconds each.

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Finding Online Games for Foreign Language Learning

September 22, 2013

Any Google search shows that there is a plethora of online games out there, all the way from sophisticated Massive Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) to very basic games like concentration. Many of these games are not primarily intended for education. If teachers plan and implement them carefully though, these games can motivate students and help them learn perhaps without even realizing it.

One area within education that is growing in scholarship about the use of games is foreign language education. There is still much to be done in this area, but there are a range of initiatives and projects to analyze games for their educational potential and place them into curriculum. One example is the Games2Teach project at the University of Arizona, which is a project of UA’s Title VI Language Resource Center, the Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language, and Literacy (CERCLL). This site analyzes a number of games and is highly recommended.

This blog post will examine a few different online games that are available in languages in addition to English. The list of such games is too long to do justice to here, but I will focus on games that are available in Hebrew or other Less Commonly Taught Languages. Here are a few:

1. eRepublik

Screen shot 2013-09-21 at 8.12.00 PM

ERepublik is currently available in 30 languages, including Hebrew. In this MMOG, you can do a number of things: Fight battles against other countries to protect your country or expand its borders, build a company and control economics, run within politics, and even run a newspaper. You do this by first choosing a country to live in. This game has some graphics, but it is largely text-based. Thus it can be helpful for developing reading, and domain-specific vocabulary for military, politics, business, etc. You can also chat with fellow players, which can give you encounters with native speakers. This game is free.

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Creating Foreign Language Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Stories

September 22, 2013

Gamebooks, sometimes informally called Choose You Own Adventure (CYOA) stories due to the popular series, allow readers to interact with stories by letting them guide the storyline through their choices. For example, you could be reading about an alien who is getting away onto his spaceship. From here, you could decide to either pursue the alien or let him escape. Either choice has its own set of consequences, and can alter the rest of the story line.

These stories are often considered motivating, and can lead readers to read a story multiple times to explore different possible storylines and endings. Traditionally, writing these stories and printing them could be complicated; luckily, several web tools have made this process a lot easier. Some of these tools include ChooseYourStory, CYOCYOA, inklewriter, and Twine. Each of these tools has its own pros and cons.

One idea for language learning is to design gamebooks in your students’ target language. There could be several reasons for this, such as to teach targeted vocabulary, illustrate culture, promote extensive reading, etc. If you chose to, you could follow up with students to make sure they completed the story by having them give a summary of it. You could also have them read the story again while making different choices, and then report the impact that their choices had on the outcome. Just as an example regarding culture, you could have a story about meeting natives from the target country. In one main version of the story, the student could be rude or less than sensitive to the natives; in the other version the student could be understanding and interculturally competent. These two main storylines could then be used to illustrate the effects of your actions during study abroad.

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Displaying Foreign Language Songs and Lyrics Together

September 21, 2013

One possible way to learn more of a foreign language or culture is to listen to songs in that target language. Some language teachers play songs in classrooms with accompanying lyrics; this is also a great idea for personal language study. This blog post will present one tool for setting lyrics to display with music, for those who use iTunes. This tool, called Cover Version, is a plug-in for iTunes that can display song lyrics during song play using the iTunes visualizer. Here is a screenshot of the tool in action (you can click on the image to enlarge it):

Screen shot 2013-09-21 at 10.47.21 AM

This is a song in Hebrew that I own in iTunes, and this tool allows me to play the song and view the lyrics simultaneously (note that this picture is customized to my settings—you can also display the cover art with the lyrics, change the font, etc). I will go over the steps required to use this plug-in:

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Using Clickers in Language Classrooms

September 21, 2013

File:Icon-hand-on-Clicker.jpgA clicker, which has been called many things in research literature (including a Learning Response System or LRS), is a handheld device with numbered and/or lettered buttons; this clicker or LRS allows people to answer multiple-choice polls and have their choice transmitted and presented on a computer screen. This technology has been popularized by game shows, including the “ask the audience” lifeline on Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

Although this tool has been around for several decades, it has only recently been used in the classroom. Generally these clickers have been used in large lecture settings, in an attempt to encourage participation and interest within such a large setting.

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Twenty Hebrew covers of English songs that are available on iTunes

December 20, 2011

There are only a limited number of English songs that have been covered in Hebrew. Many of these can be found on YouTube, but a smaller number are available on iTunes if you are willing to poke around and figure out what transliteration they decided to use for each performer and song.

These cover songs can be useful for English-speakers, since learners can identify with the melodies already and may feel motivated in their studies to hear the occasional familiar tune. Sometimes it is easier to understand and pick up on the Hebrew if you are familiar with the lyrics too. Many of the cover songs are classics from “oldie” artists like the Beatles or Simon and Garfunkel, although occasionally you can find more recent ones.

I have used the spelling found on iTunes so the songs are easier to find, which may be incomplete or incorrect—but just search for them as I have written them in this list. I have only presented some of the better-known songs. I use the word “cover” freely, since the list below includes some Hebrew cover songs that carry both the same melody and a close translation, and others that just borrow the melody of the original song:

1. Ladod Moshe by Chava Alberstein, on the album 100 Shirim Rishonim, Pt. 1

  • Cover of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” by Traditional

2. Sinderela (Bus Stop) by Rock 4, on the album Reshet Parparim

  • Cover of “Bus Stop” by The Hollies

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