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Happy New Year!

Japanese Sheep

Japanese Sheep

Happy New Year! All around the globe the new year is celebrated in different ways. Here in Japan people celebrate o-shogatsu, the new year, with many special traditions. One of the important traditions seen all over the country is the celebration of the new animal for the year. This year it is the year of the sheep. Perhaps you’re familiar with the Chinese calendar of twelve different animals.

At our first class this week, we’ll begin by wishing everyone a Happy New Year 2015, the year of the sheep. I wrote a simple song to teach the year and how to spell the word “sheep.” We had fun creating a recording for you at home with our son Christian.

It’s The Year 

lyrics by Kathleen Kampa Vilina, melody (For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow/ BINGO)

sung by Christian Vilina

Intro:

Baa, baa, black sheep,

Have you any wool?

Yes, sir, yes, sir.

Three bags full.

It’s the year of the sheep.

It’s the year of the sheep.

It’s the year of the sheep.

It’s 2015!

s-h-e-e-p, s-h-e-e-p, s-h-e-e-p,

It’s the year of the sheep.

1. Show students the picture of a sheep.

 Image courtesy of TCJ2020 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of TCJ2020 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When they sing the word “sheep” they can make a pose like a sheep or point to the picture. If you have lively students, they might enjoy skipping or galloping during this part of the song instead.

2. On the words, “It’s 2015,” students stop moving and make the numbers 2015 with their fingers. Very young students can stop and wave their arms in the air as if saying “Hooray!”

3. Write the letters for the word “sheep” on the board. Clap the rhythm below to accompany the letters. (slow, slow, quick quick, slow)

UnknownUnknown images-1Unknown

To make it more challenging, students can pat, stamp, or snap the rhythm. My students like to clap the first time they spell “sheep,” then they pat their legs, and finally they stamp their feet. If you have instruments in your classroom, you can play this part.

4. The song ends with “It’s the year of the sheep!” Students make the sheep pose, or point to the picture.

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You can also celebrate the New Year with our song, “Happy New Year!” I wrote it with our son Christian, and it is always a hit with our students. You can find it on Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays. The lyrics are easy for students to follow.

Students like to pat their legs, then clap their hands to the beat.

On the last Happy New Year, they turn around and wave their hands.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Hip hip hooray!

ms kampa 12-8

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Reading and Dancing Holiday Songs

DSC07486

It’s October and we’re busy singing and dancing to Halloween songs. My students love getting up and moving to a song! At this time of year, we’re marching like monsters, skipping like skeletons, waltzing like witches, and jumping like jack-o-lanterns. If you want to find more Halloween songs, you can find teaching notes for songs like “Marching Monsters” on earlier blogs on this site.

On this blog, however, I want to share a handout and flash cards made by my good friend Setsuko Toyama. Setsuko is a well-known teacher trainer and author in Japan. On her worksheet, students match the same initial sound of the words, an important skill in developing phonemic awareness. They also have fun playing with alliteration, words that begin with the same sound. Many American nursery rhymes feature alliteration.

Marching Monsters worksheet and flashcards

I like having my students do craft projects from time to time. While they’re busy creating their artwork, I play music to fit the holiday. Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays CD has several Halloween songs that children can easily sing along to for your Halloween parties.

Check out my Pinterest page for lots of Halloween craft activities.

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Do the Skeleton Dance!

Skeleton Dance

Skeleton Dance is definitely one of my students’ favorite songs! It teaches various body parts and directional movements. You can start your school day with it, use it during break time, dance it on a rainy day, move during a health unit, or dance it on Halloween. I have taught Skeleton Dance to students in kindergarten through upper elementary, and everyone enjoys it. I’ve also shared this song with teachers in America, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

You can watch some of my students here in Japan doing the Skeleton Dance, and read the lyrics below:

Here’s how you do the Skeleton Dance:

In this song, students will move four different body parts: shoulders, elbows, knees, and feet.
First, students move their shoulders to the beat.

1. Move your shoulders . . .
A. Skeleton, skeleton, skeleton dance,
Move your shoulders, do the skeleton dance.
Skeleton, skeleton, skeleton dance,
Move your shoulders, do the skeleton dance.

Next, students move their whole bodies to the front, to the back, and to the side. I usually start by moving only my arms, but my students love to jump in each direction.

B. To the front, to the back, to the side, side, side,
To the front, to the back, to the side, side, side,

Next, students move their shoulders up, down, and around. Each time they repeat the song, they will move a different body part in these directions.

C. Put your shoulders up. Put your shoulders down.
Move them up and down and all around.
Put your shoulders up. Put your shoulders down.
Move them up and down and all around.

Finally, students move their shoulders in their own way.

D. Shoulders dance . .ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch
Shoulders dance . .ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch

This dance is repeated with the following body parts.
Before I play the music, my students and I figure out how we’ll move up, down, and around using each of these body parts.

2. Move your elbows . . .
3. Move your knees . . .
4. Move your feet . . .

You can download this song from iTunes (Track #15) or CD Baby.

I hope that your students enjoy this as much as mine do.

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Build Creativity with Dancing Fingers!

illlustration by Shuli Ko

illlustration by Shuli Ko

 

Can you nurture creativity while building English language skills? Yes, you can!

An important part of creative thinking is to generate many possible solutions. This is easy to do with young learners. Here is a simple activity and chant that you can use to help develop creative and imaginative thinking with your young learners.

Introducing Vocabulary

1. Show students (or draw) a picture of a circle. Say, What is this? Can you make this shape with your fingers?

2. Point out the various ways that your students are making circles. For example:

Yuri is making a tiny circle using her thumb and pointer finger. Can you do that?

Daniel is using all of his fingers to make a circle. Let’s try that, too! We can make circles in many ways.

3. Say, Can you make your circle bigger?  Can you make a circle with a friend?

4. Repeat the three steps above using other shapes. I usually show shapes in the following order because some are a little easier to make than others.

circle

triangle

heart

rectangle (two long sides, and two short sides)

square (four equal sides)

star (five points)

Remember, it’s important to take time making these shapes with your students before putting them into the chant.

Teaching the Chant

Here’s the first verse of the chant.

My Fingers Dance by Kathleen Kampa Vilina ©2003

My fingers, fingers, fingers, fingers, fingers dance!

My fingers, fingers, fingers, fingers, fingers dance!

Make a circle. Take a picture. Click!

Make a circle. Take a picture. Click!

Now, let me break it down so that you know the movement for each part.

1. My fingers, fingers, fingers, fingers, fingers dance!

My fingers, fingers, fingers, fingers, fingers dance!

(For this part, students have fun wiggling or “dancing” their fingers.)

 2. Make a circle.

(Students make the shape with their fingers.)

3. Take a picture. Click!

(Students look through the shape at a classmate, and pretend to take a photo.)

(Repeat steps 2 and 3.)

(Students then substitute the other shapes in this chant.)

You can use any shape picture cards to teach the vocabulary. I used the picture cards from Magic Time 1, Unit Two, for my video. Feel free to add your own shape ideas, such as diamonds, ovals, etc.

Here’s a video I’ve prepared to show you how the chant is done. Just click here.  You can also find a studio version of this chant on iTunes by clicking here.

This chant is also on my new album Jump Jump Everyone, available on iTunes.  Physical CDs are also available.

Cover screen shot

Happy teaching, everyone!

Kathy

 

 

 

Hop Along Easter Bunny

 

These Easter Bunny ears are a fun way to celebrate! Here's Brooke having fun in Tokyo.

These Easter Bunny ears are a fun way to celebrate!
Here’s Brooke having fun in Tokyo.

Easter is just around the corner! Holidays give us an opportunity to teach students about culture. Our students will learn this song this week, and do the follow-up activity created by Setsuko Toyama. Perhaps your students would like to learn these activities too!

To teach my students about Easter, I usually bring some plastic Easter eggs, a basket, and a picture of the Easter Bunny. During a recent trip to Vietnam, I bought a rabbit puppet to use for this song. If you don’t have a puppet, you can use your fingers to create a bunny.

What can the Easter Bunny do? The Easter Bunny hops along. He tiptoes and hides colorful Easter eggs. Finally, he runs away. Perhaps your students will have some additional ideas of their own!

When I teach young learners, I like to use many different ways to introduce, practice, and review new language.  Sing this song in three different ways–first as a fingerplay, then moving around a circle, and finally, moving around the classroom.  I’ve made a simple video for you to help you learn it as a fingerplay.

For the fingerplay, if possible, sit on the floor with the students.  Stretch your legs out in front of you.  Make an Easter Bunny by raising two fingers.  Bounce your fingers up and down your legs as if you’re hopping.

Hop along Easter Bunny, hop along.

Hop along Easter Bunny, hop along.

Hop along Easter Bunny, Hop along Easter Bunny,

Hop along Easter Bunny, hop along.

Young children love surprises. Each time I sing one line, I quickly bring my fingers back to where I started.

On the longer line, continue hopping. My students find it funny when I bring my fingers over my head and along my arm.

On the second verse, pretend to tiptoe using your fingers.

Tiptoe Easter Bunny, tiptoe.

Tiptoe Easter Bunny, tiptoe.

Tiptoe Easter Bunny, Tiptoe Easter Bunny,

Tiptoe Easter Bunny, tiptoe.

On the third verse, pretend to pick up an egg and hide it beside you or behind you.

Hide the eggs Easter Bunny, hide the eggs.

Hide the eggs Easter Bunny, hide the eggs.

Hide the eggs Easter Bunny, Hide the eggs Easter Bunny,

Hide the eggs Easter Bunny, hide the eggs.

On the last verse, pretend to run away.

Run away Easter Bunny, run away.

Run away Easter Bunny, run away.

Run away Easter Bunny, Run away Easter Bunny,

Run away Easter Bunny, run away.

Now it’s time to stand up and magically turn all of your students into Easter Bunnies. Say, Put on your ears, your whiskers, your tails, and your great big feet!

Make a circle with your students.  Sing this transitional song to get ready.

Transitional Song: Let’s make a circle big and round (4X)

https://magictimekids.com/2013/09/23/transitional-songs-part-one/

Moving around a circle keeps everyone focused. Decide which way students will move around the circle, clockwise or counterclockwise.  Then students will:

1. hop like a bunny (They might use their hands to make bunny ears or a bunny tail.)

2. tiptoe quietly

3. pretend to hide eggs

4. run

Students like to stop and pose at the end of each verse,

Hop along Easter Bunny, hop along.

Hop along Easter Bunny, hop along.

Hop along Easter Bunny, Hop along Easter Bunny, hop along 

Hop along Easter Bunny, hop along (and pose!)

Finally, students can move around the classroom. My students enjoy having half of the class pretend to Easter Bunnies while the others are pretend to sleep. The Easter Bunnies dance the song by moving around the children.

Here’s a simple video of my students moving in a circle to this music.

For the studio version of this song, go to iTunes and click on Track #6 of Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays. Special Days and Holidays

 

Here’s a quiet follow-up activity created by Setsuko Toyama.  Students use critical thinking skills to figure out which egg has been chosen.

Easter Eggs

Secretly choose one egg. Give one hint at a time, such as It’s pink.  Students can guess, Is it number three?  Add another hint.  It has blue polka dots.  Students guess again. Is it number one?  

After modeling this activity for the class, have students work in small groups or partners. Make a copy for each student.

Have fun celebrating Easter!

 

 

 

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The Power of Scaffolding

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Imagine that language learning is a series of stairs that children climb to reach their goal of fluency. How would we want those stairs to look? Of course, we’d prefer that each step is not too difficult to climb, yet not too easy. If each step is just the right height, learning can be smooth and fun!

Language specialists talk about the process of “scaffolding” language, which means that we give our students the building blocks they need to climb the language stairway easily. For our young learners, here are three strategies that we use in Magic Time to ensure that language learning is successful.

Scaffolding Language in Three Steps

1. From Words to Phrases

In Magic Time, we introduce six new words at the beginning of a unit. These words relate to each other in a meaningful way, such as the following words from Magic Time 2:

penguin      lion      kangaroo      giraffe      gorilla      polar bear

After students have learned the above words through picture cards, movement activities, chants, and more, we introduce a phrase (which you can write on the board):

It’s a ____________.  

Students then “climb” up the next step of the stairway by placing the picture cards of the words they have learned above the blank line. Students then learn to say, “It’s a penguin,” “It’s a giraffe,” and so on.

Students are then taught a question to elicit this answer:

What is it?

Finally, students practice fluency of this question and answer through songs, movement, games, and much more.

2.  From Receptive to Productive

As students are introduced to the above words and phrases, there is a “receptive” phase when they simply need to hear the language. It is not necessary for students to repeat the words or phrases until they feel ready. Eventually, through the chants, songs, and activities in the Magic Time pages, students move smoothly from “receptive” to “productive” language, when they are actually speaking the words meaningfully.

3.  From Group to Individual

In the first stages of producing language, it is best to invite the students to speak together as a group. Magic Time does this by introducing chants and songs which produce the language in a fun way. Students chant and sing together as they move to the language. This encourages all students to participate, from confident students to shy students. Later, when activities are introduced using the target language, students begin to practice the language individually. Since they have had group practice, they are happy and able to do so.

Here is a good example of an activity from Magic Time 2 that builds individual language practice in a meaningful way. It is a craft activity that encourages creativity. It is then used to practice the language with a partner, which builds strong communication skills. Download this free Animal Picture Viewer taken from our Magic Time 2 Teacher’s Book.

Animal Viewer 2

The directions are simple. Students color and cut out the picture strips and tape them together. They can even add additional strips with their own pictures of animals they know. They then cut along the dotted lines in the viewer, then pull the strips through it. Finally, students act out the conversation with a partner as follows:

Student A (with a picture of a kangaroo in the viewer):  What is it?

Student B (pointing):  It’s a kangaroo.

Students can take turns asking and answering questions. This activity can be continued at home, with the student and parents interacting.

____________________________

Scaffolding is an effective approach to language learning. As students climb the stairs of learning, they are able to use more words and phrases, combining them and creating new opportunities for communication.

We hope you enjoy this activity with your students. Be sure to let us know about your successes!

Happy Teaching!

Kathy and Chuck

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Be My Valentine!

Be My Valentine cover art by Shuli Ko

Be My Valentine cover art by Shuli Ko

Valentine’s Day is on February 14th, just a short time away! To celebrate the occasion, I wrote a song that my young learners love to sing and move to. It’s entitled “Be My Valentine.” This song helps children learn the shape and sound of the letter “V.”

Children also explore how to make the shape of a heart with their hands, their arms, or with a partner.

The easiest way to demonstrate how to use this song is to view a video I created with my two nieces, Brooke and Shannon.

Just click HERE to see the video!

To hear and buy the studio version of the song, just click HERE on iTunes for the single, or HERE for the album (Track #4).

I hope that you and your children enjoying singing and moving to this song together, either at home or in the classroom!

Sending warm Valentine wishes,

Kathy and Chuck

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Let’s Celebrate the New Year!

%22Happy New Year 2014 Card46%22 by gubgib

“Happy New Year 2014 Card46” image courtesy of gubgib / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s already January 3rd, yet here in Japan, New Year’s celebrations continue. O-shogatsu (New Year’s) begins on the night of Dec. 31st and continues for three days. Tonight we’ll be enjoying o-sechi ryori, traditional New Year’s foods, with our Japanese friends. Starting on Monday, I’ll be back in the classroom with my students. Here are two songs I’ve written to teach my students about New Year’s celebrations. The first song was written with my son Christian when he was in elementary school. He and Chuck are singing it for you!

Happy New Year

Words and music by Christian Vilina and Kathleen Kampa

copyright © 2013 by Kathleen Kampa

Happy New Year!  Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Hip hip hooray!

My students love to keep a “steady beat” by patting their legs, then clapping their hands.  Think “pat-clap-pat-clap.” Do this for the first three lines.

We like to do something special on the last line.

On Happy New Year!  my students like to wave their hands above their heads. More advanced students like to turn around quickly!

On Hip hip hooray! students roll their hands and jump once in place.

To hear the studio version of this song, go to iTunes, and click on Track #3.

________________________________________________

And now for our second New Year’s song! . . .

In the Chinese or lunar calendar, this is the Year of the Horse. Here in Japan, we already began celebrating the Year of the Horse on January 1st.

In this song, students learn the name of the animal, how to spell the animal name, and how to say “2014.”

It’s The Year

Words by Kathleen Kampa

copyright © 2013 by Kathleen Kampa

Medley of songs based on French song “Marlbrough s’en va-t-en guerre” (For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow) and BINGO

It’s the year of the horse,

It’s the year of the horse,

It’s the year of the horse,

It’s 2014.

H–o–r-s-e, h–o–r-s-e, h–o–r-s-e,

It’s the year of the horse!

1. Display the image of the horse. There are twelve animals in the lunar calendar. What do your students know about horses? Can they make a pose like a horse? Can they gallop like a horse? What other movements do horses do?

If you have a small space, have students create a pose when they sing the word “horse.” If you have a larger space, students may enjoy galloping in a circle while singing “It’s the year of the horse.”

2. Write the number 2014 on the board. My students like to make these numbers with their fingers. Try this:

Hold up two fingers for “two,” then move two fingers in a circle to say “thousand.” For fourteen, students hold up one finger on their left hand, and four fingers on their right.

When you sing the song, students stop in place and do the finger movements on “It’s 2014!” Students can even wave their hands in the air!

3. Now your students are ready to spell. Write the word horse on the board. Use lower case letters. Say the letters with your students.

Then clap the rhythm while saying the letters.

You can encourage your students to make different sounds for this rhythm by patting their legs, stamping their feet, or snapping their fingers. You can even add simple instruments.

4. Finish the song with a horse pose on “It’s the year of the horse!”

We hope you enjoy these New Year songs with your students!

Happy Teaching!

Kathy and Chuck

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It’s Christmas Time!

%22Christmas Gingerbreads%22 by nuchylee

“Christmas Gingerbreads” image courtesy of nuchylee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Christmas Day is not far away! Here is a song I wrote that my students love to sing and move to. My dear friend and Oxford co-author Setsuko Toyama from Niigata, Japan, created this wonderful activity sheet and picture cards to go with it. Just click below and print them!

It’s Christmas Time-Song by K. Kampa, Handout by S. Toyama

The steps to the activity are as follows:

1.  Teach the six new words using the picture cards. Create a gesture for each word.

2.  As a critical thinking activity, place the pictures for hear, smell, and see in a column on the left side of the board. Place the pictures for gingerbread, jingle bells, and Christmas tree in a column on the right side. Point to the hear card as you ask students, “What can you hear?” When students answer, “jingle bells,” draw a line from hear to jingle bells. Continue in the same way with the other words. In addition, you may ask questions such as, “Can you smell a Christmas tree? Can you see jingle bells?” and so on.

3.  Hand out a copy of the activity sheet to each student. Play the song. As students listen, they point to the lyrics with illustrations (known as a rebus).

4.  Play the song again, with students standing in a circle or at their desks. On each verse, pantomime the movement with your students. For a performance, you could have different groups perform each of the verses. On the chorus, students turn around slowly on “Christmas, Christmas.” On “Time to celebrate” students clap their hands three times. On “We can hardly wait,” students hug themselves, then reach their hands up high!

We hope you enjoy this wonderful Christmas song and activity!

It’s Christmas Time

Words by Kathleen Kampa, copyright © 2013 by Kathleen Kampa

(music adapted from The Muffin Man)

 1. Do you hear the jingle bells,

the jingle bells, the jingle bells?

Do you hear the jingle bells?

It’s Christmas time!

 Chorus:

Christmas! Christmas! Time to celebrate!  XX

Christmas! Christmas!  We can hardly wait.

 2. Do you see the Christmas tree,

the Christmas tree, the Christmas tree?

Do you see the Christmas tree?

It’s Christmas time!

 Chorus:

Christmas! Christmas! Time to celebrate!  XX

Christmas! Christmas!  We can hardly wait.

 3. Do you smell the gingerbread,

The gingerbread, the gingerbread?

Do you smell the gingerbread?

It’s Christmas time!

 Chorus:

Christmas! Christmas! Time to celebrate!  XX

Christmas! Christmas!  We can hardly wait.

 4. We feel joy and happiness,

happiness, happiness,

We feel joy and happiness,

It’s Christmas time!

For the studio version of my song, go to iTunes and click on Track #13 of Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays. (Just click on iTunes above or the album cover below.)

ms kampa 12-8

Happy Teaching, and have a very Merry Christmas!

Kathy Kampa

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Celebrate Thanksgiving Day with “The Turkey Dance!”

%22Image courtesy of Tom Curtis : FreeDigitalPhotos.net%22Image courtesy of Tom Curtis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Autumn is a beautiful season. It’s also the time of the harvest, when farmers gather the food they’ve grown. In many countries, there are harvest festivals or special “Thanksgiving” days during which people give thanks for what they have. In the United States, many people celebrate with their families, and often enjoy a dinner together that includes roast turkey.

This song is a wonderful way to celebrate Thanksgiving Day in your home or school. It’s called The Turkey Dance, and as you can imagine, it gives children a chance to dance like . . . . turkeys!!

Here are the lyrics, which go to the tune of “Turkey in the Straw.”

The Turkey Dance

Words by Kathleen Kampa and Charles Vilina, music adapted from Turkey in the Straw

copyright © 2013 by Kathleen Kampa

Spoken: It’s Thanksgiving Day.  Let’s move like turkeys.

First, Move your elbows!

Move your elbows, do the Turkey dance

Move your elbows, do the Turkey dance

Stamp your feet and shout “Hooray!”

Gobble. Gobble. It’s Thanksgiving Day.

2. Now move your hips. . .

Move your hips, do the Turkey dance

Move your hips, do the Turkey dance

Stamp your feet and shout “Hooray!”

Gobble. Gobble. It’s Thanksgiving Day.

3. Now move your knees. . . .

4. Now move your head . . . .

5. Now move your whole body!

Teacher’s Notes:

In this dance, students are pretending to be turkeys.

1.  Make turkey wings by moving your elbows.

2.  Make a tail by putting your hands behind your back, and moving your hips.

3.  Move your knees like you’re strutting.

4.  Move your head forward and back.

5.  Choose your favorite movements, or make some new ones.  Dance!

Here’s a simple version of Kathy’s song on piano.

For a wonderful “hoedown” professional version that children LOVE to dance to, listen to The Turkey Dance on iTunes!

Have a wonderful day!

Kathy and Chuck

ms kampa 12-8