When we begin a new English class with a group of young learners, we want to guide them toward the following goals from the very beginning:
1. We want students to get to know everyone’s names.
2. We want students to develop the confidence to respond independently.
3. We want students to respond as a group.
4. We want students to become comfortable with singing in class.
Fortunately, we can achieve all of these goals by beginning each class with a melody roll call. It’s so catchy, students will learn it by the second week and expect it by the third. It requires the simplest of melodies: Sol – Mi – Sol – Mi and Sol – Mi – Do
Teacher: Where is Mariko? (Sol – Mi – Sol – Mi)
Mariko: Here I am! (Sol – Mi – Sol – Mi)
If a student is absent, then the entire class chimes in!
Teacher: Where is Kenta? (Sol – Mi – Sol – Mi)
Class: I don’t know! (Sol – Mi – Do)
Our students love beginning each class with this activity. It also demonstrates the power of music in supporting pronunciation — within one month every student is articulating the words (including the contraction don’t) with native precision. Try it tomorrow, even if your class has been together for a while!