Discover the parts of a flower with this magical poem

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When I was living in Japan, springtime was filled with one beautiful flower after another. We could find flowering trees (especially plum and cherry blossoms), purple and blue hydrangeas, wisteria, tulips, rapeseed, azaleas, and lots of roses.

Now we’re living in Minnesota. It’s been too cold for anything to start blooming yet. Once it warms up, however, we can find gardens filled with colorful flowers–zinnias, daylilies, purple coneflowers, hollyhocks, daisies, bee balms, and more. This year we’re going to plant a pollinator garden to help the bee and butterfly population.

The kindergarten children at my former school learned about living things. They planted seeds and watched them grow. Look at a real plant with your students. Look at the stem, the leaves, the buds, and the flowers. Do all plants have the same types of leaves? Buds? Flowers? What do they look like? If you don’t have a real plant, you can often find a silk one at a bargain store. I like to show students a watering can, too. This graphic showing how to plant from a Garden of Goodies (Pinterest) may be helpful.

Looking at how seeds changed into a flower

My students loved this poem called Here’s a Leaf! They would ask to do it over and over again. Yours will, too! You’ll see the magic when you try it. I use small, lightweight hemmed scarves like these. Search for “hemmed scarves” or “juggling scarves.” Check the reviews. I like mine! These scarves expand beautifully for this poem. Young children can practice naming the color, too.

Screen Shot 2020-03-19 at 16.55.57

In my video, we take you to Munsinger-Clemens Gardens, one of my favorite places in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Special thanks to my son, Christian Vilina for his awesome video work.

To begin, scrunch up the scarf in your hands, so that it can’t be seen. Here’s the video to show you how you might do it.

Here’s a Leaf (also known as The Flower Poemadapted by Kathy Kampa

Available on iTunes (Jump Jump Everyone)

Children listen and answer.

Here’s a Leaf video

Do you have a scarf? (Yes!) 

Let’s scrunch up our scarves. (tsch, tsch, tsch, tsch . . . . .)

(Bunch up the scarf in your hands so that it’s not visible.)

Is your scarf very tiny? (Yes, it is!)

Are you ready? (I’m ready!)

Let’s pretend.

Let’s plant a seed in the dirt.

(Bend down and tap the ground, pretending to plant a seed in the dirt.)

Water it!

(Pretend to water the seeds by tipping your hands.)

Watch it grow and grow and grow.

(Stand up slowly.)

Now show me your thumbs. Here we go.

Here’s a leaf, and here’s a leaf.

(Pretend that your thumbs are leaves. Wiggle one thumb, then the other.)

Count them. 1-2.

(When you count 1-2, move your thumbs up and to the side.)

Here’s a bud.

(Open your hands slightly to reveal the scrunched up scarf.)

Here’s a flower,

(Open your hands a little more.)

blooming just for you.

(Open your hands and let the scarf ‘bloom’ like a flower.)

Hooray!

(Toss the scarf into the air!)

Let’s grab our scarves and do it again!

For more kid-tested music and movement activities, check out my music on iTunes.

Jump Jump Everyone
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 Kampa is a teacher, author, and teacher-trainer who specializes in working with young learners. As a PYP (Primary Years Program) teacher, 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 Time, Everybody Up, , Oxford Discover (ELTon winner), Beehive (2022), all published by Oxford University Press.

Thanks again to my son Christian Vilina for his vision in creating this video.

Images: “Easter Lily” by Recherché Furnishings is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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.

Happy Valentine’s Day

How will you celebrate Valentine’s Day with your young learners?  Here are two songs that build English language skills along with movement.images.jpeg

For many years my kindergarten students have been celebrating letters at this time of year.  Many of my Japanese students struggled to pronounce /v/ from the word “Valentine.”  This little song is based on the Japanese song “Tulip” (Lightly Row).  It teaches simple social language along with the sound /v/ for Valentine.  When the children hear the word “valentine,” they make a heart shape with their fingers, arms, or whole body.

Be My Valentine song by Kathy Kampa

from Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays CD

I like you. You like me.Unknown-2.jpeg

Will you be my Valentine?

I like you. You like me.

Be my Valentine.

[v] [v] Valentine!

[v] [v] Valentine!

I like you. You like me.

Be my Valentine.

Here’s a video link to give you some ideas of how to move to the song.  Special thanks to my nieces Brooke and Shannon for helping out.

The song “I’m Your Friend,” a new song from my album Jump Jump Everyone, invites students to move in various ways, such as skipping, jumping, walking, even skating! Developing gross motor skills is important for young learners. You can sing this with small or large classes.  Here are the lyrics to the song.

Chorus: I’m your friend. You are mine.

Will you be my Valentine?

I’m your friend. You are mine.

Will you be my Valentine?

Let’s walk.

  1. Walk, walk, walk with me. Walking, walking, 1-2-3,

4-5-6, 7-8-9,  Will you be my Valentine?

*repeat with skip, jump, slide, skate, dance

With a small group, it’s easy to have all of the students join hands in a circle.

With a bigger group, students can form partners.  Here’s a short video clip of my Magic Time class singing I’m Your Friend.

You can find these songs on my CDs Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays and Jump Jump Everyone.

Kathy Kampa's Special Days and Holidays
Children’s songs for special events for pre-school, kindergarten, and elementary students Mimi CD cover 2015-10-12 at 1.04.43 AM

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!

____________________________________________

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.”

_______________________________________________________________

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

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

 

 

 

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.