Frequency Adverbs

Yes, this is an unusual post for this blog! I have been asked by many teachers to write about the game I created to practice frequency adverbs.JM-03292016-Healthy-pranje_auta_4.jpg

The goal of this game is to practice frequency adverbs (never, sometimes, usually, always) with everyday chores. You need one dice and a set of “chore”  flashcards. The chores in Everybody Up (published by Oxford University Press) include the following: wash the car, take out the garbage, water the plants, vacuum the carpet, sweep the floor, clean the bathroom. If you don’t have chore flashcards, you can certainly make up your own list.
This game works well in groups of three to four students.

My students decided that the numbers on the dice would represent the following words or choices.

1 never
2 sometimes
3 usually
4 always
5 my choice
6 my classmate’s or teacher’s choice

Place a set of flashcards for chores (from Everybody Up, Level 3, Unit 6) in the center of the group. The first student rolls the dice, then picks a “chore card.”

dice-style-cube-with-heart-pattern_fkc9iiooIf the student rolls the number 2 (sometimes) and picks the chore card “wash the car,” the student says “I sometimes wash the car.”

If the student rolls the number 5, he/she can choose which frequency adverb to use.

If the student rolls the number 6, he/she can ask a classmate or teacher to choose which frequency adverb to use.

After each person’s turn, other students might ask if the statement is true or false. When a student says, I always make my bed, the others ask, Is it true?

To expand the practice, change the pronoun from “I” to “he“or “she.” Using these pronouns requires the use of the third person “s.” If a student rolls the number 4 (always) and picks the chore card “waters the plants,” he/she says, “She always waters the plants.”

Here’s a link to a short video of my students playing this game. I hope that you enjoy it!

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!

 

 

 

 

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

Hop Along Easter Bunny

Time to get ready for Easter with a simple song, movement, and reproducible activity.

MagicTimeKids

These Easter Bunny ears are a fun way to celebrate! Here's Brooke having fun in Tokyo. These Easter Bunny ears are a fun way to celebrate!
Here’s Brooke having fun in Tokyo.

Easter is just around the corner! Holidays give us an opportunity to teach students about culture. Our students will learn this song this week, and do the follow-up activity created by Setsuko Toyama. Perhaps your students would like to learn these activities too!

To teach my students about Easter, I usually bring some plastic Easter eggs, a basket, and a picture of the Easter Bunny. During a recent trip to Vietnam, I bought a rabbit puppet to use for this song. If you don’t have a puppet, you can use your fingers to create a bunny.

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!

When I teach young learners, I like…

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Let’s Celebrate Girls’ Day! It’s Time for Hina Matsuri!

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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 for Hina Matsuri.

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.

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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.

Art Projects:

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.

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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.

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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 are also 23 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

Children’s songs for special events for pre-school, kindergarten, and elementary students

Cover screen shot

Lots of great movement songs, transitional songs, and CLIL/content songs!

Be My Valentine!

MagicTimeKids

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…

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Celebrate Thanksgiving Day with “The Turkey Dance!”

Thanksgiving Day will be observed in the US in just two weeks! Celebrate with your young learners by doing the Turkey Dance! I’m reposting this blog from last year for those who might have missed it. Enjoy dancing with your kids to the Turkey Dance! Gobble, Gobble!!!

MagicTimeKids

%22Image courtesy of Tom Curtis : FreeDigitalPhotos.net%22Image courtesy of Tom Curtis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Autumn is a beautiful season. It’s also the time of the harvest, when farmers gather the food they’ve grown. In many countries, there are harvest festivals or special “Thanksgiving” days during which people give thanks for what they have. In the United States, many people celebrate with their families, and often enjoy a dinner together that includes roast turkey.

This song is a wonderful way to celebrate Thanksgiving Day in your home or school. It’s called The Turkey Dance, and as you can imagine, it gives children a chance to dance like . . . . turkeys!!

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…

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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.

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Engaging Vocabulary Activities for Young Learners

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Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do your students enjoy learning vocabulary? It is certainly one of the first steps in learning a new language. A few simple strategies can help our students learn vocabulary meaningfully and productively.

 Presenting the new words

Picture cards can be a very effective way of introducing vocabulary. One method is to point to a picture, say the word, and ask students to repeat it. However, this is a passive approach that doesn’t motivate children to learn — and it doesn’t build their deeper thinking skills.

One approach that provides active learning and deeper thinking is as follows. Let’s assume you are introducing words from Magic Time One Unit 10, which introduces the following pets:

rabbit     dog     turtle     bird     frog     cat

Before class, attach the picture cards for this vocabulary to the board face down (with the back of the card facing the students). Explain to students that you have six pets that you want to introduce to them.

Peel back the first card to secretly look at the first pet. Turn to the students as you imitate the shape or movement of the animal (such as a hopping rabbit, the wagging tail of a dog, or a slow-moving turtle).

Some of your students may know the English word for the animal, and will call out its name. If they do so correctly, nod yes and reveal the card. If not, say the word as you do the action (for example, say frog as you jump like a frog). Then reveal the picture card. When you show the picture card, say the word twice, first pointing to the picture, then to the written word beneath it. Continue in the same way with all six cards.

Another way to do this would be to bring in stuffed animals, pulling them slowly out of a bag until students are able to identify them. You may also do a “slow reveal” of the picture card, sliding it up from behind a book until students are able to guess what it is.

The above activities allow students to tap into their prior knowledge – this will tell us what they already know. It also gets them to think about the subject of pets – as they guess the animals, their brains are thinking about which animals could possibly be pets. This simple activity then becomes a critical thinking activity that engages students far beyond memorization.

Producing the new words

In the next activity, we want to move to more productive skills – with our students actually using the language. Remember that this can take time – students need to move through the receptive stage first. However, this activity motivates them to use the language more quickly.

Let’s assume you are using the set of words from Magic Time One Unit 11, which introduces family members:

grandmother     mother     sister     grandfather     father     brother

Let’s also assume that we have taught these words using one of the activities described above. Our next goal is to get our students to produce these words while using their critical thinking skills.

Attach the family picture cards in random order across the board so that students can see the family members. Then draw a simple picture of a girl on one side of the board, and a picture of a boy on the other side. Ask students to tell you which picture cards belong on which side. This requires students to say the words (grandmother, father, etc.) as they point to them. Then attach the picture cards under the boy or girl, but not in any particular order.

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Next, invite students to pair up the family members. To do so, point to the mother card as students say mother. Move the card to the top of the board as you say “mother and . . .” Students point to the father card as they say the word father. Then place the two picture cards together on the board. Continue in the same way with sister – brother and grandmother – grandfather.

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Students can each have their own set of six picture cards, which they can make themselves, or which can be copied from the Magic Time Picture and Word Card Book. You can ask students to classify the cards at their desks, in the two ways described above. You can also ask students to classify and arrange the cards in other ways — from oldest pairs to youngest pairs, for example, or in ABC order. With other picture card sets (such as classroom items), students can arrange the items in other ways, such as from biggest to smallest.

Songs and chants

In Magic Time, we also practice vocabulary by putting the words into chants and songs. This gives students an opportunity to produce the language as they chant and sing along. It also helps students build comprehension of the words. Chants and songs make learning fun and memorable.

Predicting and producing vocabulary

Finally, for Magic Time users, the following activity is very engaging for students, allowing them to predict, think about what they know, and use the language productively. This is normally done after the chant is taught to the students:

On the first and third pages of each unit in Magic Time, students are asked to “Listen and write the number.” Normally, students listen as the narrator on the CD says, “Number One,” followed by a word. Students then write the number “1” in the white circle next to the correct picture in the large scene. This serves as an assessment to see what students know. Click on the link below to see sample pages from Magic Time One Unit 7.

MT1 U7

To make this activity more productive, first put the six picture cards on the board facing the students. Draw a white circle next to each picture card. Pause the CD, and ask students to guess what they think “Number One” will be. Each student needs to point to a picture card and say the word. Write each student’s name beside the picture cards they choose. Then listen to what the narrator says on the CD for “Number One.” Of course, students are listening very closely to see if their guess is correct. If so, they cheer! All students then write the number “1” in the correct white circle in their student books. With the CD paused, students then try to guess the second word, and so on. You can keep track of each student’s correct guesses if you wish. With a large class, this activity can be done with partners or with teams.

These are just three ways to get your students to think more deeply as they use the vocabulary words meaningfully and productively. These activities go beyond simple memorization and comprehension – they allow students to tap into their prior knowledge, to understand relationships, and to predict. They require active participation and active learning, which means happier and more engaged students.

Happy Teaching!

Kathy and Chuck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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Happy teaching, everyone!

Kathy