Secrets to Teaching Songs in Young Learner English classes

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If you teach young learners, you probably use chants and songs in your class. But how do you teach them to use them most effectively?

Each song we use has different challenges and is magical in its own unique way. Your challenge is to find that unique magic and share it with your students.

Do you know the secrets to teaching songs to young learners? You'll find helpful tips here.

I’m sharing an example from my online Zoom class with English students in Japan to help you see what we did with songs. Today we’ll look at the first song in this video called She Has a Shirt, from Magic Time 2.

Let’s talk about the parts of the lesson that lead up to the first song in this video. Magic Time, Unit 6 lesson takes place in a jungle where everyone has packed their clothing for the trip. In a Magic Time lesson, students first learn the six new vocabulary words (shirt, skirt, cap, dress, jacket, sweater). I like to introduce this vocabulary by making it magical, such as using a suitcase to hide the clothing items or the picture cards. The students are surprised to see them. In the textbook, students search for the vocabulary items in the double-page spread and practice the words in a chant. In the final listening activity, I invite students to predict which number will be said. They say, “I think number one is ________,” and put their eraser on that picture in their book. Then they write the number. This continues until all six numbers have been called. This activity pushes output from an early stage. The kids love it! We play additional games, too.

In the next lesson, students add the grammar paradigm: She/ He has a _________. When I’m in a classroom with the students, I make a rebus sentence using the grammar paradigm and the picture cards.

Now that the students have practiced the vocabulary and grammar, they’re ready to sing the song. Make sure that you listen to the song before you teach it. The first time my students listen to the song, they’re looking at the images in their book. The second time we add movements. You can see the students pointing to their clothing, too. They really love the silly monkey part.

The children really loved this song. It helped them use the vocabulary naturally. What makes this work?

First of all, the language was gently scaffolded. Students had an achievable step. This is called the Zone of Proximal Development.

Next, the language was taught in a variety of ways. On the right, you can see the “Multiple Intelligences Pizza.” This theory was developed by Dr. Howard Gardner and adapted for the classroom by Dr. Thomas Armstrong. Some teachers have used this theory to look at students’ talents. I use it, however, for planning varied ways to teach my lesson. In our lesson, students looked at pictures (individually and in context), followed patterns, explored musical songs and chants, and moved their bodies. They learned alone and played games with their classmates. Learning like this provides repetition that is varied and engaging. When you use MI (Multiple Intelligences) strategies, you create variety in your lessons. 

Remember: Repetition, Repetition, VARIATION.

Last of all, making learning a positive experience is a very important aspect of learning. To nurture students’ imaginations and fun, use hands-on materials, including picture cards, stuffed animals, puppets, instruments, beanbags, scarves, and found items.

Songs build fluency. Games build on the language taught in class. This dice game is so much fun and builds fluency along with reading skills. You can see the children rolling the dice, adding the sight words, then reading the sentence. This activity creates some funny sentences, such as “He has a dress.” (dice pattern in MT 2 Teachers’ book). Alternatively, you can use picture cards. Students turn over one of the character cards, choosing he or she. Then the student adds “has a,” followed by another vocabulary picture card (i.e. shirt).

Just a note that before students go home, I like to play the song again. Create the chance fo students to catch SSIYH, the “song stuck in your head” phenomenon. Good songs are easy for students to repeat. Repetition helps, too. Students will sing independently and happily.

Do you have a secret to teaching songs? Let us know at magictimekids@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Kathy loves to write music for children. If you’re looking for songs for little ones, check out these two CDs, available on iTunes.

Kathy Kampa is a passionate educator of young learners. She seeks to nurture children’s imaginations and spark creativity through fun and engaging activities. Kathy believes that music and movement should be a part of every young child’s learning.

Kathy and her husband Chuck are co-authors of Magic Time, Everybody Up, Oxford Discover, and Beehive (published by Oxford University Press). They have been teaching young learners in Tokyo, Japan for 30 years. Kathy and Chuck also active as teacher trainers, inspiring teachers around the world. They have currently returned to their home state of Minnesota in the US.

If you’re interested in more of Kathy’s work, check out her YouTube channel at Kathy Kampa. Kathy has collected numerous activities to link with her here on Pinterest.

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Let’s Do the Easter Bunny Hop!

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Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

 Let’s get hopping!  Put on your bunny ears and do the Easter Bunny Hop.

 Say to your students, Let’s pretend to be Easter Bunnies.  Look at this picture. What do we need to look like the   Easter Bunny? An Easter Bunny has . . . .

Students may say, such as two long ears, two big feet, a bunny tail, bunny paws, bunny whiskers, and a bunny nose. This song teaches ears, feet, tail, tummy, and whole self as well as the directional movements in, out, around. Students have a lot of fun jumping and shaking. There’s a slow version, then a fast one.

Make a circle with students. Sing Let’s Make A Circle. (Click here for this song.)

Practice these movements with your students. 

Say, Show me your Easter Bunny ears.

Put your bunny ears in. Put your bunny ears out.

Let’s shake our Easter Bunny ears. 

Jump like a bunny.  Then, turn around and say, Happy Easter!

Click here to watch a few of my former students dancing parts of this song for you. Enjoy!

Easter Bunny Hop

Words by Kathy Kampa, Music Hokey Pokey

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

Slowly: You put your bunny ears in.

You put your bunny ears out.

You put your bunny ears in. And you shake them all about.

Shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake!

Jump like a bunny. Jump, jump, jump!

Turn around and shout! Happy Easter!

Then sing quickly . . .

You put your bunny ears in.

You put your bunny ears out.

You put your bunny ears in. And you shake them all about.

Shake, shake, shake! (* three shakes!)

Jump like a bunny. Jump, jump, jump!

Turn around and shout! Happy Easter!

Repeat each verse slowly, then quickly with these body parts.

2. You put your bunny feet in.

3. You put your bunny tail in.

4. You put your bunny tummy in.

5. You put your whole self in.

The studio version of this song can be found on iTunes on Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays, track #7. Click here to take you there!

Special Days and Holidays

For more ideas, my Pinterest page has a collection of easy Easter crafts and activities. bunny mask tutorial_with watermark-1

About me

Kathy Kampa is a passionate educator of young learners. She seeks to nurture children’s imaginations and spark creativity through fun and engaging activities. Kathy believes that music and movement should be a part of every young child’s learning.

Kathy is the co-author of Magic Time, Everybody Up, Oxford Discover, and Beehive (published by Oxford University Press). She has been teaching young learners in Tokyo, Japan for over 30 years. Kathy is also active as a teacher trainer, inspiring teachers around the world. She has currently returned to her home state of Minnesota in the US.

If you’re interested in more of Kathy’s work, check out her YouTube channel at Kathy Kampa.

Jump Jump Everyone, Kathy’s second album, is filled with many happy songs that have grown in my young learner classroom. The songs encourage children to move. Many songs link to classroom content. Children can dance like falling leaves, bloom like a spring flower, move through the butterfly life cycle . . . . you’ll find LOTS of fun and magic in this album.

Hop Along Easter Bunny

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Easter is just around the corner! Holidays give us an opportunity to teach students about culture.

In this post you’ll find:

  • the teaching steps and videos for teaching Hop Along Easter Bunny, as a fingerplay and as a whole-body activity
  • an Easter egg guessing activity created by Setsuko Toyama. In this activity, students practice colors, shapes, and numbers.

How will you teach your students about Easter? Look at the picture below. What do you see? What does it tell you about Easter? (rabbits, colored eggs, spring flowers, chocolates) 

Photo by George Dolgikh @ Giftpundits.com on Pexels.com

For this song, the students need to imagine how the Easter Bunny moves. 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. You can use your fingers, or create an Easter Bunny puppet like this. 
Here’s one idea from my Pinterest page, but there are numerous ideas here.

When I teach young learners, I use many different ways to introduce, practice, and review new language.  Use props. Then do 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.

  1. 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, behind you, or under your legs.

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.

These Easter Bunny ears are a fun way to celebrate! Here's Brooke having fun in Tokyo.2. Around the circle movement: 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!

If you have bunny ears like Brooke, put them on!

Make a circle with your students.  Sing this transitional song from Jump Jump Everyone 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 the circle together in the same direction.  Do you remember the four movements?

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

3. Around the Classroom: Students can move more freely around the classroom. The Easter Bunnies dance the song by moving around the children.

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

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

4. Follow-up Activity: In this activity created by Setsuko Toyama, students use critical thinking skills to figure out which egg has been chosen. Students need to know colors, shapes, and numbers. They also need to know words like “polka dots” and “stripes.”

Easter Eggs

Secretly choose one egg. Give one clue at a time, such as It’s pink.  Students can guess, Is it number three?  Add another clue.  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 with partners. Make a copy for each student. Have fun celebrating Easter!

Kathy

About me:

Kathy Kampa is a passionate educator of young learners. She seeks to nurture children’s imaginations and spark creativity through fun and engaging activities. Kathy believes that music and movement should be a part of every young child’s learning.

Kathy is the co-author of Magic Time, Everybody Up, Oxford Discover, and Beehive (published by Oxford University Press). She has been teaching young learners in Tokyo, Japan for over 30 years. Kathy is also active as a teacher trainer, inspiring teachers around the world. She has currently returned to her home state of Minnesota in the US.

If you’re interested in more of Kathy’s work, check out her YouTube channel at Kathy Kampa.

You can find more engaging songs on Jump Jump Everyone.

Jump Jump Everyone, my second album, is filled with many happy songs that have grown in my young learner classroom. The songs encourage children to move. Many songs link to classroom content. Children can dance like falling leaves, bloom like a spring flower, move through the butterfly life cycle . . . . you’ll find LOTS of fun and magic in this album.

Hello Spring

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Here in the Northern Hemisphere, spring has officially begun. What does spring look like in Minnesota? The snow has been melting, so we can finally see the ground. It might even snow again tomorrow. Soon, however, we will see many signs of spring we’ve been waiting for!

Our favorite point to stop on our walk, St. Cloud,Minnesota, March, 2022

There are many people who take walks in my neighborhood. As they stroll past my window, I delight in watching the little ones. I often see them pointing at things–“Look! A butterfly! Look! A puppy!” Their chubby little fingers point to all of the wonderful things around them.

With that thought in mind, I wrote this song called “Hello Spring.” The melody comes from a traditional Scottish song I have always loved called “Ally Bally.” Imagine this song as a greeting to the many things one might see in the spring.

Hello Spring lyrics by Kathy Kampa on Jump Jump Everyone

Hello bluebirds. Hello bumblebees.

Hello red tulips. Hello cherry trees.

Hello warm sun. Hello blue skies.

Hello little ants, and orange butterflies!

Feel free to create your own movements. If you’d like some ideas, check out my video. We filmed it in Tokyo, Japan at the start of the pandemic in 2020.

Special thanks go out to Andre DiMuzio for his beautiful arrangement. Thanks also to Connor McKeown and Christian Vilina for their help with this video.

  1. Teach students the vocabulary using the Google images here.

2. Use my movements from the video, or create your own.

3. I sing the song one part at a time, and the children echo. Then we all sing together.

4. Your students may have more ideas for what they see in different seasons. Create a list and make your own song.

You can find this song at iTunes and ETJbookservice.

Jump Jump Everyone

My second album is filled with many happy songs that have grown in my young learner classroom. The songs encourage children to move. Many songs link to classroom content. Children can dance like falling leaves, bloom like a spring flower, move through the butterfly life cycle . . . . you’ll find LOTS of fun and magic in this album.

Happy teaching!

Kathy Kampa is a passionate educator of young learners. She seeks to nurture children’s imaginations and spark creativity through fun and engaging activities. Kathy believes that music and movement should be a part of every young child’s learning.

Kathy is the co-author of Magic Time, Everybody Up, Oxford Discover, and Beehive (published by Oxford University Press). She has been teaching young learners in Tokyo, Japan for 30 years. Kathy is also active as a teacher trainer, inspiring teachers around the world. She has currently returned to her home state of Minnesota in the US.

If you’re interested in more of Kathy’s work, check out her YouTube channel at Kathy Kampa.

Let’s Celebrate the New Year 2021!

images-1 Happy New Year 2021! We have celebrated O-shogatsu (New Year’s) with toshikoshi soba and o-sechi ryori, traditional New Year’s foods.  A couple of days ago my friend Kumi stopped by with her children. They had the song “Happy New Year” playing in their car. It fun to hear them singing along with with it. What a precious moment!! When our son Christian was in elementary school, he started playing this simple melody on our piano.  Now he’s grown up and is acting in Hollywood! I love this recording with Christian and my husband Chuck singing it at home for you:.

 

Happy New Year

Words and Music by Christian Vilina and Kathleen Kampa  © 2013

Happy New Year!  Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Hip hip hooray!

How should we move with this song? When students first listen to the song, they might like to jump, march, or twirl around.

When I first teach the words to this song, students keep a “steady beat” by patting their legs or clapping their hands. Then, to make it a little more challenging, students can create a pattern by patting their legs once, then clapping their hands. Think “pat-clap-pat-clap” or “down-up-down-up.” 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 shake their hands above their heads. Some students like to turn around quickly!

—  On Hip hip hooray! students roll their hands, then jump once in place.

For an even bigger challenge, students can do the pat-clap pattern with a partner by patting their own legs, and then “air clapping” both hands with a partner.

Check out this pre-COVID video to see what my students did a couple of years ago! Students stand in a circle facing their partner. First they pat their own legs, then clap with their partner. Then they turn to the person on the other side (called a “corner” in folk dance), repeating the pat-clap. They repeat the pattern with their partner, then corner until the Hip hip hooray

With COVID protocols in place, I’m going to revise this activity. Every student has a set of sticks, so I’m going to experiment using sticks like the Indian Dandiya dance. This will give students a chance to interact with a partner at a distance. Perhaps you have an idea for adapting this? 

Happy New Year 2021!  So perhaps you’re not singing with your students. Remember my chant.Screen Shot 2021-01-05 at 17.13.38

We hope that you keep a song in your heart and a smile on your face. May this year be filled with lots of joy!

Kathy

Special Days and HolidaysHappy New Year is one of 15 great songs for kids on Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays. The CD includes a handy attached booklet with lyrics, and is available for teachers in Japan at ETJ Book Service.

For teachers residing outside of Japan, the songs are available for download through iTunes. To hear the studio version of this song, go to iTunes, and click on Track #3. CDs are also available for sale through the Mad Robin Music & Dance in Seattle, WA.

 

Kathy’s second CD Jump Jump Everyone is filled with songs to get students moving! Songs and chants build Cover screen shotEnglish language skills through simple movement activities. They nurture a child’s imagination and creativity.  There are beautiful seasonal songs, lively gross motor movement songs, plus effective transitional songs. Grab a scarf and play along. Grown in the young learner classroom, you’ll find that your children will ask for these songs over and over again.

 

Let’s Add a Little Music and Movement

If you’re looking for activities for young learners, check out my Facebook LIVE workshop. I teach children from age 2 – 12 in Tokyo, and these activities have all been LOVED in my classrooms. The activities support English language development as well as developmental body movement.
Today’s FB LIVE (February 21, 2019) included the following: It Is Raining (focus on body parts), Little Worms (vocal expression, yoga movement, building group unity), Come and Sit In Front of Me (transitional), Tiny Egg (Butterfly Life Cycle, creative movement, connection to Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar), Flitter Flutter Butterfly (pronunciation practice, rhyming sounds, movement), Here’s a Leaf (seed-leaf-bud-flower), Folding Scarves (transitional), Scarves Please (Transitional), We Love Hina Matsuri (song/canon for Japanese Girls’ Day), We Did It.  You can find all of the lyrics inside the CDs. 

If you like my music, it’s available on iTunes or https://www.etjbookservice.com/…/kathy-kampas-cds-4/

Materials for "Tiny Egg" chant
These are the materials used for the Tiny Egg chant (available on iTunes)

Kathy Kampa's Special Days and Holidays
 .     .  Children’s songs for special events for pre-school, kindergarten, and elementary students

Jump Jump Everyone
Jump! Turn into butterflies. Plant magical flowers!

It’s Time for “The Turkey Dance”

Photo by ASHISH SHARMA on Pexels.com

If you teach young learners, you’ve got to check out this simple song and dance. It’s called The Turkey Dance, and as you can imagine, it gives children a chance to dance like . . . . turkeys!!

While many countries give thanks at this time of year, an American tradition is turkeys. When I was a child, we made turkey drawings by tracing along the edge of our hand. These hand drawings became turkeys! So celebrate turkeys and try out the The Turkey Dance.  It’s really easy to do.

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! (imagine wings)

Move your elbows, do the Turkey Dance.

Move your elbows, do the Turkey Dance.

Stamp your feet and shout “Hooray!”

It’s Thanksgiving Day.

2. Now move your hips. . . (imagine a tail)

Move your hips, do the Turkey Dance.

Move your hips, do the Turkey Dance.

Stamp your feet and shout “Hooray!”

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.

Before you put on the music, show students a picture of a turkey like the one in this blog.

I usually start with a little TPR by teaching this part of the song first– “Stamp your feet, then shout ‘Hooray!'” Stamp your feet, then jump in the air on “Hooray.” On “It’s Thanksgiving Day!” put your hands together.

My students added their own ideas between the verses. Some children enjoyed saying “Gobble! Gobble!” while others liked to say “Thank You” in a language they know.

Now teach the body part movements. Say “Move your elbows.”  These are the turkey’s wings.

Repeat with each body part listed below: hips/tail, knees, head, and whole body.

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 is a very, very short clip of young learners from my English class enjoying The Turkey Dance.  It’s easy to do. It will be give some idea of the movement.

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

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! No matter where we live, we all give thanks this season for the blessings we have.

Kathy and Chuck

ms kampa 12-8

Kathy has produced two music CDs for very young learners, Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays and Jump Jump Everyone, which build English language skills through movement while nurturing creativity and imagination! Grown and loved by real kids! 

Kathy’s second children’s CD, Jump Jump Everyone, includes songs to move to, seasonal songs, and lots of transitional songs. For more kid-tested music and movement activities, check out my music on iTunes.

Jump Jump Everyone

Kathy’s CD’s are available at numerous locations:

ETJ Book Service    Japan

Mad Robin Music and Dance, Seattle, Washington

iTunes

Kathy Kampa is a teacher, author, and teacher-trainer who specializes in working with young learners. As a PYP (Primary Years Program) teacher in Tokyo, Japan, she uses a globally-minded and inquiry-based approach to teaching through which students develop 21st century skills. She also supports the development of English language skills by creating songs, chants, and TPR/movement activities targeted to young learners’ needs.

Kathy and her husband Charles Vilina are also co-authors of Magic TimeEverybody Up, and the ELTon award-winning course Oxford Discover, published by Oxford University Press.

#childrenssongs #teachingchildren #thanksgiving #kidsmusic

#thanksgiving #thankful #love #thanks #family #food #fall #instagood #blessed #turkey #friends #holiday #happythanksgiving #thanksgivingdinner #foodporn #grateful #photooftheday #autumn #fun #turkeyday #celebrate #life #giving #stuffing #gratitude #givethanks

What Day Is It?

happy children group in school
Students love to make letter shapes with their bodies.

Learning the names of the days of the week in English can be tricky.  For many of us, we teach our English class on the same day each week.  This song “What Day Is It?” is a fun way to practice the days of the week.

First of all, write a letter on the board or show a picture card.  Model making that letter with your fingers, arms, or whole body.  Make the letter so that students are able to read it. You might imagine how that letter would look when you write it on your whiteboard. Students will be able to “read” your letter. Invite students to make letters with you.  They might even make letters with the entire class! Try making letters in many different ways.

We started at the beginning of the alphabet.  Students made  A, a, and B, b (see B below).  In Magic Time (Oxford University Press) students have fun making letter shapes to learn the letter name and its sound.

Now write the names of the days of the week.  Run your finger under the word as you say it (Sunday). Point out the first letter. Encourage students to make that letter with their bodies in several ways.  Remind students that days of the week begin with capital letters. As you can see, sometimes the letters appear flipped around to us.  The important idea is that students are making the letter shapes.

I love to catch my students making their amazing letters by taking photos. Remember CCBA (Catch Children Being Amazing!)

Pass out the “days of the week” cards, one to each student. Students line up in order around the circle starting with Sunday.  Students make the initial letter shape as they sing  each day of the week.  When they sing “Tra la la la la” add a group movement, such as pat your knees, clap your own hands, clap your “neighbor’s” hands.

What Day Is It? 

from Magic Time Two, Unit 8, Use the Words

What day is it?

Today is Sunday.

Today is Sunday.

Today is Sunday.

Tra la la la la.

*repeat with the remaining days of the week

Here are some of my students demonstrating this song.  Come and join them!

 

 

 

 

What Are You Going to Be For Halloween?

Image from Graphic Stock

Image from Graphic Stock

Are you preparing for Halloween? I know that many of my teacher friends are. I love Halloween because it invites students to nurture their creativity through imaginative activities. Students move in more expressive ways and play with facial expressions. Let’s explore moving like various Halloween characters.

First of all, I like to gather students in front of me to teach the vocabulary. I sing the transitional song “Come and Sit In Front of Me.” (by K. Kampa) The professional version of this transitional song is here for you.

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,

You can print the I’m a Witch picture cards and teach students the following song.

I’m A Witch

Words by Kathleen Kampa and Charles Vilina,

melody: Skip to my Lou

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m a Witch (picture cards)

Now it’s time to be creative and move. Decide on the space that your students can move in. I usually start with movement in a circle, and then allow students more freedom to move in an open space. You can use the spoken cues to help guide your students’ movements. Students start by posing like the characters, such as the witch, then move around in a circle. I often tap a drum to the rhythm of the movement. To make it more magical, add the words “Abracadabra! You’re a witch!”  When you can see that students have moved enough, say “Stop!” Continue with the other characters. I like to recognize students who are really being imaginative and creative with their movement.

Finally, either sing the song acapella or play the song on the CD Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays. My students love the special effects.

Special Days and Holidays

If you’re interested in the music, you can download the song from iTunes or get the CD with lyric sheets from CD Baby and Englishbooks.jp.  Find more Halloween ideas here on the blog and on my Pinterest page.

Happy Halloween!  Kathy and Chuck

Caterpillars, Butterflies, and CLIL

Image courtesy of japanachai at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of japanachai at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you heard of the acronym CLIL? It stands for Content and Language Integrated Learning.  CLIL lessons link classroom content with vocabulary and grammar paradigms. We can bring the world of nature into our English lessons!

Here’s a great CLIL science lesson you can teach your young learners today! It introduces students to a butterfly’s life cycle. Like all powerful lessons that provide “many ways to learn,” this lesson teaches English through words, pictures, chants, movement, logic, and more!

 Through this activity, students will:

 -know the names of the butterfly life cycle

create movements for each part, with fingers, with whole body

perform a chant

recognize a life cycle (you may refer to “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle)

Please refer to the illustration below as we go through the steps of the lesson.

1.  First, present the new language:

egg              caterpillar            chrysalis               butterfly

Butterfly life cycle drawings. pngYou may introduce the language using the picture card illustrations (right), or find your own pictures in books or on the Internet.  It’s fun for students to find these images in the story of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

2.  Next, create finger shapes for each word.  The “finger play movements” below the illustrations will show you how, or use your imagination to create your own ideas.

3.  Say the chant using the finger movements.

 Tiny Egg Chant  (Butterfly Life Cycle Chant)

by Kathleen Kampa © 2013

Tiny egg, tiny egg  X  X  XX  X  (ch – ch- ch ch – ch)

Tiny egg, tiny egg  X  X  XX  X  (ch – ch- ch ch – ch)

Tiny egg, tiny egg  X  X  XX  X  (ch – ch- ch ch – ch)

1-2-3-4   LOOK!

Caterpillar, caterpillar X  X  XX  X  (ch – ch- ch ch – ch)

Caterpillar, caterpillar X  X  XX  X  (ch – ch- ch ch – ch)

Caterpillar, caterpillar X  X  XX  X  (ch – ch- ch ch – ch)

1-2-3-4  Look!

Chrysalis, chrysalis X  X  XX  X  (ch – ch- ch ch – ch)   (Repeat 3 times)

1-2-3-4  Look!

Butterfly, butterfly X X XX X  (ch – ch- ch ch – ch)   (Repeat 3 times)

Wait . . . .   Good-bye!

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Here is a simple recording of the chant that you can use:

The professional recording can be found on Jump Jump Everyone.

4.  Finally, you can expand the activity by having students move to the chant using their whole bodies. Students can bend down to make tiny egg shapes, then wiggle about on their tummies as caterpillars. They can balance in a on one foot in a chrysalis shape. While students are balancing quietly, give each student one or two colorful scarves for butterfly wings.  Your students might enjoy moving around the room like butterflies.  I often play “Aviary” by Camille Saint-Saëns, or the Japanese song “Cho Cho.”

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Through the power of CLIL, students have now experienced the life cycle of a butterfly in a meaningful and memorable way. The vocabulary they have learned has real meaning, and they will happily repeat the activity many times in future lessons.

Let us know how this activity works in your classroom, and if you discovered any new ways to teach it!

Happy Teaching!

Kathy and Chuck