Pumpkins and Jack-O-Lanterns

Pumpkin by hin255

Featured image courtesy of hin255/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

One of the “big ideas” we teach young learners is the concept of change. Babies grow up. Children can mark their height and see how they are changing. Little seeds planted in the ground in our little paper cups grow into plants. Small pumpkins grow into big pumpkins. Caterpillars turn into butterflies.

Halloween is filled with magical changes. Children put on costumes, and “change into” a princess, Spiderman, a witch, a ghost, or a character from their favorite Disney movie.

When we think of Halloween, we see the magical change of pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns.  When possible, I love to purchase a pumpkin for Halloween and teach children how to carve it into a jack-o-lantern.

In the classroom, it’s easy for students to use craft projects to show both a pumpkin and a jack-o-lantern. For a very simple art project, trace the outline of a pumpkin on orange construction paper. Students cut out the shape.  With colored pencils or crayons, they draw the ridges of the pumpkin on one side, and a face of a jack-o-lantern on the other.


For more pumpkin craft ideas, check out my Pinterest page with simple cooking and craft ideas.

Here’s a simple chant to teach the words “pumpkin” and “jack-o-lantern.”

Show the students the plain side and say “pumpkin.” Then turn it around and say “jack-o-lantern.”  Once students know these two words, put it into this simple chant:

Jack-o-Lantern Chant by Kathleen Kampa

Pumpkin, pumpkin, (turn picture around) jack-o-lantern
Pumpkin, pumpkin, (turn picture around) jack-o-lantern
Pumpkin, pumpkin, (turn picture around) jack-o-lantern
Happy Halloween!

To add more fun, make a small pumpkin/jack-o-lantern and a big one. Students see the change from small to big, and from pumpkin to jack-o-lantern.

Here’s a simple Halloween song that my students absolutely love!

My dear friend Setsuko Toyama has made a beautiful rebus worksheet to help your students read both sight words and pictures.

Pumpkin, Pumpkin Rebus Reading

Pumpkin, Pumpkin
(words adapted by Kathleen Kampa, music: traditional)

(Sit with students in a small circle. Sing quietly.)

Pumpkin, pumpkin, small and fat,
(With fingers, make the shape of a small pumpkin.)

Turn into a jack-o-lantern,
(Roll hands. Spread fingers out wide.)

Just like that!
(Tap two fingers on the palm of your hand as you say each word.)

(Sing the verse again!)

Spoken: Grow and grow and grow and grow
and grow and grow and grow and GROW!
(Slowly stand up while making a big pumpkin shape. If you’re standing in a circle with the students, make it bigger. Get louder! Crescendo!)

(Sing loudly.)

Pumpkin, pumpkin, big and fat,
(While standing, make the shape of a big pumpkin with your whole body.)

Turn into a jack-o-lantern,
(Turn around. Jump into a big shape.)

(Clap and stamp on each word.)

(Sing the verse again!)

Here is a simple recording of the song to let you hear the melody and rhythm.

For a professional version of this song and other Halloween songs I’ve written, click here.

Special Days and Holidays

I’d love to see your children singing and dancing to this song. I’d love to see their cute jack-o-lanterns. Share this idea with your friends. Tell me how you’ve used this with your students.


Reading and Dancing Holiday Songs


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.

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.

Hop Along Easter Bunny (Dance)

In my last post, I explained two ways to teach this song. Here’s a video of my students sharing this dance with you. You can find the lyrics in my blog post “Hop Along Easter Bunny.” If you like this music, check out my CD Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays, available on iTunes and CD Baby.


Special Days and Holidays

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

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

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!


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!


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!


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

Celebrate Halloween as Marching Monsters . . . Boo!

Happy Halloween by digitalart

(Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Do your students like to pretend to be different Halloween characters? Then “Marching Monsters” is a great new addition to your Halloween song repertoire! It encourages creativity and imagination, plus gives students great language practice with “alliteration.”

“Alliteration” happens when two or more words begin with the same sound. The phrase “marching monsters” has two words that begin with the sound /m/. Other phrases in the song include “skipping skeletons,” “waltzing witches,” and “jumping jack-o-lanterns.” Children love to sing these fun phrases while doing the actions throughout the song. They also learn the song quickly because of the repeated phrases.

Here is a simple recording of the song. A FUN professional version is available on iTunes here (just click on Track #11).

Here are the lyrics, plus notes on how to teach it!

Marching Monsters

Words and music by Kathleen Kampa and Charles Vilina

copyright © 2013 by Kathleen Kampa

1. Marching monsters!  Happy Halloween!  Boo!

Marching monsters!  Happy Halloween!  Boo!

Marching monsters,

Turn around and stop! (hold)

Marching monsters!  Happy Halloween!  Boo!

2. Skipping skeletons!  Happy Halloween!  Boo! . . .

3. Waltzing witches!  Happy Halloween!  Boo! . . . .

4. Jumping jack-o-lanterns!  Happy Halloween!  Boo! . . . .

Students can move around a circle or freely around the classroom.

1. On Marching Monsters, students march around, pretending to be monsters. On Turn around and stop, students turn around and make a pose. They hold until the music begins again.

2. On Skipping Skeletons, students skip around, moving their arms like a skeleton. For very young learners, children can gallop, or they can slide sideways.

3. On Waltzing Witches, students dance in one place. If you’re in a circle, face the center. Students sway from side to side moving their arms.

4. On Jumping Jack-o-lanterns, students jump in one place, making the shape of a jack-o-lantern.

Enjoy this wonderful song and dance activity with your students!

Once again, you can find the professional version of this song on

Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays, available on iTunes.

Happy Teaching!

Kathy and Chuck

Let’s Pretend for Halloween–Time for Witches, Black Cats, and More!


Brooke and Shannon

My nieces like to dress up as black cats for Halloween.

I love Halloween! It’s a time of year when students can enjoy expressing their ideas. They’re encouraged to use their imaginations and can pretend to be many different characters.

How can your students use their imaginations?

First, you can encourage students to create movements like Halloween characters. For example, students can make a pose while sitting. Then, they can do movements around a circle. Finally, you can let them move freely around an open space. For shy students, demonstrate some simple ideas. Soon they’ll be creating their own ideas.

Students can also use their imaginations with costumes or props. With a scarf, a student can turn into a prince or princess, ride a witch’s broomstick, or become a spooky ghost. Pieces of fabric can be used over and over again and made into various costumes. Show students photos of children dressed up to go trick-or-treating. Although many companies sell fancy costumes, I have fond memories of creating costumes from things we had around the house.

Here’s a Halloween song I wrote entitled “I’m A Witch.” It prompts students to imagine that they’re different Halloween characters. To teach this song, sit with students in front of you.

(Use the transitional song:  Come and sit in front of me . . .)

Show students images of each of the characters in the song — a witch on a broomstick, a ghost floating in the air, a bat flying in the air, an owl sitting in a tree, and a black cat creeping. Using visuals is important — especially for students learning English. This is an important first step in learning the vocabulary in the song.

Here’s a simple version of the song. (A more professional version is available below.) You can listen to the song while showing students these pictures.

Here are the lyrics if you want to sing along.

I’m A Witch

Words by Kathleen Kampa and Charles Vilina

copyright © 2013 by Kathleen Kampa

Music: Skip to my Lou

(Available on iTunes on Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays — see Track #10)

Spoken: Let’s be witches and fly on our broomsticks.

Hee! Hee! Hee! I’m a witch!

Hee! Hee! Hee! I’m a witch!

Hee! Hee! Hee! I’m a witch!

Happy Halloween!

Spoken: Let’s be ghosts and float gently through the air.

Boo! Boo! I’m a ghost! (3X) Happy Halloween!

Spoken: Let’s be bats and fly through the night sky.

Eeek! Eeek! I’m a bat! (3X) Happy Halloween!

Spoken: Let’s be owls and turn our heads from side to side.

Whoo! Whooo! I’m an owl! (3X) Happy Halloween!

Spoken: Let’s be black cats. Put on your whiskers and sneak around.

Meow! Meow! I’m a black cat! (3X) Happy Halloween!

Now students can stand in a circle, move around the circle, or move freely around the classroom. Hold up pictures of each character. Before playing the music, I like to practice movements for each of the characters. You may want to share your own ideas. Just remember that if you demonstrate the movement first, your students are more likely to copy your ideas.

Here are some suggestions:

Witch: Students pretend to fly on broomsticks by holding their hands in front of their bodies and galloping.

Ghost: Students move their arms smoothly up and down, while walking in curvy pathways around the room.

Bat: Students pull their elbows in to create small wings. They move quickly around the room. My students also like to pretend they’re sleeping bats by folding their arms in and creating an upside-down pose.

Owl: Students stand in one place with their arms down. They turn their heads from side to side.

Black Cat: Students pretend to have whiskers, paws, and a tail. They sneak around with tiptoeing movements. I remind them to be “kind cats.”

Whenever students are moving in your classroom, check to make sure that everything is safe. Push chair legs in, and move things out of the way.

Now play the music! My students love moving freely about the room while they hear the cues. I remind them to stop after each character, and listen for the new cues. I hope that your students have as much fun as mine do with this song!

The professional version of “I’m a Witch” is available on iTunes and CDBaby. Just click on the title below:

 Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays (Click on Track #10)

Happy Halloween and Happy Teaching!

Kathy and Chuck

Enjoy Trick or Treating in your Classroom with “Trick or Treat”

%22Halloween Ghost%22 by digitalart

%22Halloween Word%22 by nuchylee

Left image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net. Right image courtesy of nuchylee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Are your students getting ready for Halloween? Mine are!  This song was inspired by the book “Where’s the Halloween Treat?” by Harriet Ziefert and Richard Brown (Putnam Juvenile).  As you read the book to students, you can see children dressed in different costumes going trick-or-treating.

If you don’t have this wonderful book, you can hang pictures of Halloween friends around the classroom.  In this song, we chose a ghost, a witch, a monster, a skeleton, and a black cat.

1) Have students sit in front of you. Ask students, What do you see?  as they look around the classroom.  They may be able to name some of the Halloween vocabulary words.

2) Point to one word, such as ghost.  Say, I see a ghost.

Continue with the other Halloween friends in the same way.

3) Now teach the phrase Trick or Treat.  You might explain the tradition of children going from house to house and getting treats from neighbors.  When children ring the doorbell, they always say, Trick or Treat!  We do this because It’s Halloween!

 4)  Students can sit as they sing the following song. Here’s a simple version of it. This is an original melody that’s easy to sing.

This song has also been recorded professionally and is available on iTunes on

Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays.  (click on the title, then on Track #8)

 -Pat your legs on the chorus, Trick or treat . . . .

-When you hear It’s Halloween put your arms up like you’re saying Hooray!

-When you hear each of the characters (such as I see a ghost), point to each one in the classroom, or in your book.

-When you hear Oooooh, wave your arms in a spooky way.

Here are the lyrics:

Trick or Treat

Words and music by Kathleen Kampa and Charles Vilina

copyright © 2013 by Kathleen Kampa


Trick or treat! ch-ch-ch  Trick or treat! ch-ch-ch

It’s Halloween!  Say “Trick or treat!”  ch-ch-ch

Trick or treat! ch-ch-ch  Trick or treat! ch-ch-ch

It’s Halloween!  Say “Trick or treat!”   ch-ch-ch


I see a ghost!

I see a ghost!


Sing again with Halloween characters: witch, monster, skeleton, black cat

5)  Now your students are ready to stand up and move to the song!

Make a circle.  Practice a movement standing in one spot for each Halloween friend.

Here are some suggestions; however, using your own imagination is even better!  Your students will certainly have some interesting ideas!

For the ghost, you might move your arms like you’re floating.

For the witch, you might pretend to make some witch’s brew or cast a spell.

For the monster, you might make scary arms and stomp in place.

For the skeleton, you can move your elbows up and down.

For the black cat, you can creep in place.

On the chorus, Trick or Treat . . . march around the circle.

On It’s Halloween, put your arms up in the air as you continue marching.

On each of the verses (such as I see a ghost), stop in one place and turn into that character.

On Oooh, do spooky arm movements.  You might even want to turn around.

Then begin marching again around the circle.

6) Later, have your students draw their favorite Halloween friends and post them around the classroom.

My students really love this song because it’s a lot of fun.  As a teacher, though, I like to make sure my lessons cover valuable concepts.

This teaches young learners:

a.  simple phrases, especially for EFL / EAL students –

It’s Halloween!  Trick or Treat!  I see a ____.

b.  how to control their movements, by moving around the circle and stopping in one place

c.  movements, such as marching, that go from one place to another

d.  how to express their own ideas and inspire their creativity

e.  patterns (chorus / verse pattern)

We hope that your students enjoy singing and dancing throughout the month of October.  Happy teaching!