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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

 

 

 

27

How Can You Build English Throughout a Lesson? Use Transitional Songs, Part One

DotIn any children’s class, many activities are needed to keep students happy and motivated throughout the lesson.  Transitional songs are a perfect way to signal to children that one activity is ending and another is beginning.  A good transitional song also has other benefits:

  1. It supports the natural rhythm and intonation of the phrase or sentence you are using.
  2. The melody is quickly learned and recognized by students, so they move into action as soon as they hear it.
  3. In most cases, children can be encouraged to sing along, building group cohesion as well as productive language skills.
  4. Transitional songs soon become part of a classroom routine, giving students a sense of structure and making them feel secure during the lesson.

Today, for Part One, we present three transitional songs that help to make activities smooth and enjoyable for students. The lyrics for each of the transitional songs are included below with a simple recording.  A professional recording is now available on “Jump Jump Everyone.”

1.  Let’s Make a Circle

Many language activities work well with students seated (or standing) in a circle.  This transitional song quickly motivates children into forming a circle in the classroom.

Let’s Make a Circle  (copyright © 2012 by Kathleen Kampa and Charles Vilina)

(melody:  Skip to My Lou)

Let’s make a circle big and round.

Let’s make a circle big and round.

Let’s make a circle big and round.

Everybody please sit down. (or Let’s make a circle big and round to remain standing)

2.  Come and Sit in Front of Me

This transitional song works well when you want students to sit as a group in front of you, perhaps for a storytelling session.

Come and Sit in Front of Me  (copyright © 2012 by Kathleen Kampa and Charles Vilina)

(melody:  Muffin Man)

Come and sit in front of me,

In front of me, in front of me,

Come and sit in front of me,

In front of me.

3.  Cards, Please!

Many activities involve the use of picture cards for language support. After the activity is over, this transitional song gets the picture cards back to you quickly and efficiently.

The song is sung as a dialogue between the teacher and students.  The word cards can also be changed to any other item that needs to be collected (papers, crayons, etc.)

Cards, Please!  (copyright © 2012 by Kathleen Kampa and Charles Vilina)

(melody:  Skip to My Lou)

T: Cards please.   Ss: Here you are.

T: Cards please.   Ss: Here you are.

T: Cards please.   Ss: Here you are.

All: Thank you very much!

You can sing these transitional songs in your classroom.  The songs are also professionally recorded here on “Jump Jump Everyone.”  Check out the link on iTunes .

Mimi CD cover 2015-10-12 at 1.04.43 AM

This album has lots of movement songs which are important for young learners growth and development.  Contact Englishbooks.jp or me (magictimekids@gmail.com) to order CDs.