The festivities are beginning for Chinese New Year! This is the year of the ox! Why not celebrate with your students by using this simple chant/song!
During the pandemic, many students have not been allowed to sing. So enjoy these lyrics as a chant.
It’s The Yearby Kathy Kampa
It’s the year of the ox,
It’s the year of the ox,
It’s the year of the ox,
It’s the year of the ox!
Try some of these movement suggestions. My students like making the animal shapes for each year of the Chinese calendar. I ask my students for their ideas. To make the shape of an ox, many of the students made horns with their fingers.
How can your students show the year 2021? My students liked to “draw” the numbers in the air. Some of them made numbers with their fingers. A few of them just decided to jump up into the air to celebrate!
My students really love making these letter shapes! If your students aren’t used to making letter shapes, you can model this activity. Students make letters with their fingers, their arms, or even their whole bodies!
Let’s make the letter o with our fingers. Can you make it bigger? Try using your hands? Can you make the letter o even bigger? Wow! You can make it with your whole body! Now let’s try making the letter x in the same way.
Put these all together into a chant. Add instruments if you like to really make it festive!
If you’re interested in a melody to sing this, check out my simple video here. I’ve combined two familiar songs to create this new song.
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:.
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.
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!
Happy 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 English 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.
Do you know the five steps to washing your hands well? Wash Those Germs Away, written by children’s songwriter Kathy Kampa, was inspired by the COVID-19 virus and a call to better hand washing by our school nurse. This song will teach you (and those you love!) how to to wash your hands thoroughly. Join friends from around the globe. Protect yourself from COVID-19 and other germs.
Here are some suggestions for teaching this song:
For young learners, check their knowledge of the different parts of their hands. Here are two ways to do this.
First, let’s name each of the parts of the hand. You can say, Show me your fingers. Let’s say ‘fingers.’ Show me your thumbs. Let’s say ‘thumbs.’ Let’s count our fingers and our thumbs. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10! Continue in the same way with the other parts of the hand. Show me your fingernails . . . palms . . . . wrists.
Then, you can prompt the names of each part of the hand by showing: What are these? (wiggle your fingers) Fingers!
Now prepare soap and a towel or paper towel. Practice the song in your head and in your heart. Pretend to turn on the water.
Get started: Turn on the water. Get the soap. Rub your hands together. Let’s wash our hands. Turn off the water.
Sing: 1. Wash between, wash between, wash between your fingers, Wash between, wash between, wash between your fingers.
2. Wash the back of each hand, Wash those germs away!
3. (Start with your pinkie and work towards your thumb, then start with your thumb to your pinkie.)
Then wash your fingers one by one, Wash each finger, Wash your thumbs, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10, almost done!
4. (Bend your fingers to wash your fingernails in your palm.) Now you wash your fingernails and wash your palms, wash your fingernails and wash your palms,
5. Wash your wrists, both right and left, Wash those germs away!
Wash those germs away! Wash – those – germs – away . . . . . . . . . YEAH! Shake off that water and dry your hands.
Thanks to creative artists
—- Andre DiMuzio for arranging this song
—–Brady Foster for compiling all of the videos!
We want to make sure that everyone knows how to wash their hands well. We’ve made the regular version and the karaoke version available for free!
Thanks to Trudy Midas at Espana Silk for her support.
Thanks to everyone who joined in this hand washing compilation.
Lori Kampa Kearney
Special Thanks to Taruna Kapoor and students:
Want to see some fun outtakes? Thanks to dogs Addie and Allie who joined in the fun! We also thank the pair of feet for trying to do this song.
For more kid-tested music and movement activities, check out more music on iTunes. Kathy has produced two music CDs for very young learners, Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays andJump Jump Everyone, which build English language skills through movement while nurturing creativity and imagination! Grown and loved by real kids!
Songwriter 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 education. Kathy’s Songs for Kids (Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays and Jump Jump Everyone) are available on iTunes and Magictimekids.com.
As a PYP (Primary Years Program) teacher in Tokyo, Japan, Kathy 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, and the ELTon award-winning course Oxford Discover, all published by Oxford University Press.
When I watch very young children, 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 Springlyrics 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!
We filmed this video in Tokyo, Japan at the start of the pandemic.
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.
Teach students the vocabulary using the 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.
My second album is filled with many happy songs that have grown in my young learner classroom. 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.
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, and Oxford Discover (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.
Name the animals. What does each animal say? You can make a game matching the animal picture with its sound or with its name.
You can hang the picture cards on the board in the order of the words. Children can stand and sing the song. There are two parts to the song.
The first part is the animal name and sound. Did you notice the pattern in the song?
The cow says “Moo”
The cow says “Moo”
“Moo! Moo! Moo! Moo!”
The cow says “Moo”
The second part includes TPR actions. Practice these with the children. Did you notice the rhyming words? That’s important for our students!
When the cow says “Moo” you’ve got to clap, clap, clap,
When the cow says “Moo” you’ve got to pat, pat, pat,
When the cow says “Moo” you’ve got to touch the floor,
Are you ready for more? Count 1-2-3-4!
Children listen for the next animal sound. In this song you’ll find a sheep (baa), horse (neigh), dog (woof), pig (oink), and rooster (cock-a-doodle doo). The verse with the rooster is slightly different.
Once children know the song, they can be given a picture card of the animals. I like to sing this song in a circle (see Let’s Make a Circle Big and Round). In my small classes (six children or less), each child gets one animal card or puppet. I put my picture cards on strings so that the children can move around the circle. They can, however, sit or stand in place with the card on the floor. With a large class, you can take turns, or give every child a card. When each animal is called in the song, the child/children with that card goes to the middle of the circle.
The music for this song is available on the CD “Kathy Kampa’s Jump Jump Everyone!”
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.
Girls’ Day is celebrated on March 3rd in Japan. It’s called “Hina Matsuri”. Beautiful dolls called “Hinaningyo” are displayed on red stairs.
Here is a photo of the beautiful dolls from our kindergarten at Seisen International School. Starting at the top, you can see the emperor and empress dressed in traditional clothing of the Heian period. On the lower steps, you can see the attendants and musicians. Miniature furniture is also displayed.
These dolls are displayed at my school for Hina Matsuri/ Girls’ Day.
At this time of year, we can find displays of these beautiful dolls in many public places. This set was on display at a local onsen.
Since we’ve been living in Japan for over 25 years, I wanted to write a song in English to help my students talk about the celebration. It’s written to the tune “Kaeru no Uta.” The melody goes up and down, just like the stairs for the dolls. My students really love it!
I’d like to gift you with this free professional recording of “We Love Hina Matsuri” for Girls’ Day on March 3rd! Scroll to the end of the post below.
Here are some notes to dance along with it.
We Love Hina Matsuri
Words by Kathleen Kampa, Music: Kaeru no Uta
We love Hina Matsuri
Students cross hands over heart. Lean side to side (R/L/R/L)
Pretty dolls for us to see
Girls: Bend knees side to side four times. Boys: Pretend to look at the dolls
Girls’ Day! Girls’ Day!
Girls: Curtsy to right, then to left. Boys: Bow two times.
Hina Matsuri is Girls’ Day.
Stand tall clap clap clap
Students sing this song all together twice.
Then, divide students into two groups.
The first group starts singing We love Hina Matsuri, and continues to sing to the end of the song.
When the first group gets to the second line, Pretty dolls . . . the second group begins singing We love Hina Matsuri.
Continue in the same way.This is called a canon.
We end by singing the song all together again.
Now you can even divide into four groups! Each group begins at a new line.
After you’ve finished singing, try some origami.
Our students enjoy making origami dolls. We usually make two dolls representing the emperor and the empress.
For more ideas, check out this site. www.origami-club.com/hina/ When you click the left oval (おりかた), you can see how to make it the origami. When you click the right oval (あにめ), you can easily understand how to fold. Thanks to Yoko Matsui for sharing this site filled with lots of great ideas.
For something simpler, try these coloring activities.
These songs “grow” in my classroom. We Love Hinamatsuri is one of 15 great songs for kids on Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays.
There arealso23 great songs for kids on Kathy Kampa’s Jump Jump Everyone. This album is filled with movement songs, classroom management/transitional songs, and CLIL/content songs. They’ve grown in my young learner classroom.
These two CDs each include a handy attached booklet with lyrics, and are available for teachers in Japan at ETJ Book Service.
For teachers residing outside of Japan, the songs are available for download through iTunes.
Children’s songs for special events for pre-school, kindergarten, and elementary students
Lots of great movement songs, transitional songs, and CLIL/content songs!
I love Halloween! It’s a time of year when students can use their imaginations and pretend to be many different characters. The photo above shows me with some of my students.
How can your students use their imaginations and expand their creativity?
1. USE VISUALS Build Halloween vocabulary by showing pictures, puppets, or other visuals.
These Halloween characters made from recycled toilet paper rolls are a simple way to get started. This first activity is by Artsy Momma. The second one is by Connect English School. Click on the first picture to find more Halloween activities on our Pinterest page.
Inspired by the outline of students’ hands
2. ADD MOVEMENT IN DIFFERENT WAYS Movement is an important way for children to learn. How do you feel about movement in your classroom? It’s important to teach students the commands “Move!” and “Stop!” Games like Simon Says help students learn this important skill, too.
Your students can create movements like Halloween characters. Hold up a picture card and have students make a “pose” in one place.
Now students can move around a circle. Say, for example, “Abracadabra! Move like a witch!” Students can move like a witch around the circle. This might look like galloping or flying on a broomstick. You might have students move for ten counts. Count to ten. “1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10” and say “Stop!” Praise students who have stopped moving. Then repeat with other characters.
Here are some suggestions for movement:
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.”
3. ADD PROPS 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.
4. ADD MUSIC My Halloween song “I’m A Witch” prompts students to imagine becoming different Halloween characters.
Before we move to the song, we sit down together to listen to it. I sing my transitional song before we start, Come and Sit In Front of Me. I’m happy to provide this FREE professional version for you!
Here are the lyrics to Come and Sit in Front of Me:
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.
Now you’re ready to listen to I’m a Witch.
Here’s a simple version of the song. (A more professional version is available below.)
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!
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!
Show students images of each of the characters in the song as it plays. Using visuals is important — especially for students learning English. This is an important first step in learning the vocabulary in the song.
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 students make a circle and move around it. Hold up pictures of each character if they need more practice. Now play the music! Remind students to stop after each character, and listen for the new cues.
If your classroom isn’t conducive to a lot of movement, have each student choose one character for movement. You can have students draw this picture, or pass out small picture cards.
I hope that your students have as much fun as mine do with this song!
Check out the professional version of “I’m a Witch” available on iTunes and CDBaby. Just click on the title below:
Featuredimage 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:
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!)
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.)
JUST LIKE THAT! (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.
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.
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.