Simple Strategies For Getting Attention

How do you get all of your students’ attention?  As we move to student-centered learning, your students may be more engaged in small group work. Throughout your lessons, however, you may need to get their attention again.  How do you do it?

First of all, with any strategy you use, you must practice it before you actually use it.  My students love to do this!  It’s easy to see how they continue to improve.

Secondly, the success of each strategy depends on you, your group of students, their age, and their disposition. Figure out what works best. In a couple months, change it up with a new strategy.

 1. Get attention with something that creates an interesting sound.

screen-shot-2017-03-06-at-9-29-03-pmWhat do you have readily available in your classroom?  One of the most interesting sounds I have in my classroom is a slide whistle.  If you have a big group of students, it quickly gets their attention.  Don’t have a slide whistle?  How about a tambourine or a kazoo?

(Check out West Music for interesting instruments.)

2.  Add a little rhythm to get attention.

Rhythm Clap (copyright © 2012 by Kathleen Kampa and Charles Vilina)

(Clap on every syllable. Students echo your clap.)

I   like    ba-na-nas.      (I   like    ba-na-nas.)

I   like   po-ta-toes.        (I   like   po-ta-toes.)

I   like   to-ma-toes.     (I   like   to-ma-toes.)

3.   How about trying some rhyming conversations?  These help your students develop phonemic awareness too!

My Grade One students love “Hands on Top.”Smiling boy posing in front of a wall

Teacher says,  Hands on top! (put your hands on top of your head)

Students answer, That means “Stop!” (students do the same)

One, Two, Three, Eyes on Me is another rhyming conversation.

The teacher sings, “One, two, three, eyes on me.”  (so-so, mi, so-so, mi)

Hold up fingers as if you’re counting to three.  Point to yourself.

The students answer, “One, two, eyes on you!”(so, mi, so-so, mi)

Hold up fingers as if you’re counting to two.  Students point to the teacher.

My students then do “Peace and Quiet” by putting two fingers in the air (peace) and one finger to their lips (quiet).

 4.  Butterflies 

I lovimages-1e to pretend with my students.  Ask, “Where are your butterfly wings?  What color are your wings today?”  Pretend to paint each arm by gently rubbing it and naming a color.                                                        i.e  This wing is pink, but this one is purple.

Raise and lower your arms out to your sides as if you are flying. Inhale and exhale.

5. Candles

Finally, inhale while raising your arms from your sides to above your head. Touch your hands together above your head, then bring them down in front of you.  Exhale when your hands are in front of your mouth.  This is an effective way to calm students after a lively activity.

Having some strategies in place will help your classes run smoothly.

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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

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!

____________________________________________

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

It’s Nearly Girls’ Day–Hina Matsuri– in Japan

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.

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 for Hina Matsuri.

I wanted to share my love of Girls’ Day with my students here in Japan by writing a song to simply describe 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!

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.

DSC00032

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.

.hinamatsuri_kf_studio-689x1024

These songs “grow” in my classroom. Check out my other songs on iTunes from my album Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays and my latest album Jump Jump Everyone.

englishbooks.jp also carries the physical CDs containing all of the song lyrics. You can listen to samples on both sites.

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!

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Making the Most of Student Performances

varandah freedigitalphotos

Image courtesy of varandah / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

For many teachers around the world, this is the time of year when students perform holiday songs at school. For me, I’m busily preparing my students for a performance, too. What are some things you do to prepare for this event?

  1. Choose a song that students are able to perform. Look at the vocabulary. Check out the grammar structures. Is there enough repetition for young learners? Does the melody stay within a comfortable singing range?
  1. Now let your students listen to a few different songs that fit these requirements. Which one do they like best?
  1. To teach a song, I make sure that my students understand the background and the vocabulary first. I use visual images when possible. Creating a rebus reading with pictures and sight words is an easy way to begin learning a song.
  1. Next, I add simple movements to help students remember the words. Young learners are especially successful with this approach. If you are new to using movement with your students, you may need to show them some movements first.

*To build creativity, ask students for their ideas for movement. For example, in the song “It’s Christmas Time,” students have words for senses, such as hear, see, smell. I show them a picture, and ask all of my students to share an idea of how they might show these words. Then we look at the nouns, such as jingle bells, Christmas tree, and gingerbread. Can we make a pose or movement? I might say, “A few people, like Kenji and Yuta, are moving like this. Let’s try it.” Students are so proud when we choose their movement.

  1. I often have a “slow” practice by saying the words and doing the movements. Students stand on “double dots”– a place where they will stand and sing. I use two of the same colored dots or colored tape. I write down where each child will stand.
  2. DSC00021Then we speed things up with the music and the movements. I stand in front of my students and lead them in singing and moving. Model enthusiasm!
  1. Finally, we take turns. Half of the students perform while the other half becomes the audience — their mommies and daddies. The audience practices clapping. The singers practice bowing at the end. (Bend over: I see my shoes. Stand up: I see my mom and dad.)
  1. Throughout this time, you must be thinking about simple costumes that will make your song come alive. Asking students to come dressed in one solid color makes it easy to add things like a small picture hung on a ribbon around their necks, or a string of sparkly garland on their heads. If your students are getting dressed in costumes at school, make sure that everything is labeled with each child’s name.
  2. DSC_0314DSC_0312Now have a dress rehearsal. Here’s where I bring out a bunch of stuffed animals and put them on chairs. Practice introductions. Take a video and show the students. Make sure that the costumes work.
  1. Prepare a simple program. Our students often prepare their own art for the cover.
  2. Check to make sure everything is ready — music, chairs, instruments, programs, microphone, etc.
  3. Now it’s show time! Make sure that each child goes to the restroom beforehand. Give parents time to take photos and keep students calm.  Enjoy the moment!

Happy Holidays, everyone!

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Imaginative Ideas for Halloween

Kathy on Halloween with her students - Version 3

 

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.

Toilet-Paper-Tube-Halloween-Character-Crafts-cardboard-tube-crafts

Inspired by the outline of students' hands

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.

(Repeat)

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.)

I’m A Witch

Words by Kathleen Kampa and Charles Vilina

copyright © 2013 by Kathleen Kampa

Music: Skip to my Lou

(Available on iTunes on Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays — see Track #10)

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!

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:

 Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays (Click on Track #10)

Happy Halloween and Happy Teaching!

Kathy and Chuck