Time for Trick or Treat!

halloween-1773447_1920

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Are your students getting ready for Halloween? Mine are!  This song was inspired by the book “Where’s the Halloween Treat?” by Harriet Ziefert and Richard Brown (Putnam Juvenile).  As you read the book to students, you can see children dressed in different costumes going trick-or-treating. I also love the lift-the-flap book “Boo Who?” by Joan Holy (Scholastic). Both books are great for teaching students about Halloween.

In this song, we chose these Halloween characters: a ghost, a witch, a monster, a skeleton, and a black cat. You can use these Trick or Treat picture cards. I like to make two copies of the pictures, one for students to see up close and one to find around the classroom.

1) Have students sit in front of you. If you have one of the Halloween books, enjoy reading it with your students. Ask students, What do you see? They may be able to name some of the Halloween vocabulary words.

2) Now use the Trick or Treat picture cards.

Point to one word, such as ghost.  Ask students, What do you see? Encourage them to say, I see a ghost.

Screen Shot 2019-10-20 at 14.33.30

Continue with the other Halloween vocabulary in the same way.

3) Now teach the phrase Trick or Treat.  You might explain the tradition of children going from house to house and getting treats from neighbors.  Show the children your treat bag, plastic pumpkin, or the Trick or Treat picture above. When children ring the doorbell or knock on the door, they always say, Trick or Treat!  We do this because It’s Halloween!

4)  I like to teach students the melody of the song while I change the picture cards as I sing it.

Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays.  (click on the title, then on Track #8)

-Pat your legs on the chorus, Trick or treat . . . .

-When you hear It’s Halloween put your arms up like you’re saying Hooray!

-When you hear each of the characters (such as I see a ghost), point to each one. When you hear Oooooh, wave your arms in a spooky way.

Here are the lyrics:

Trick or Treat

Words and music by Kathleen Kampa and Charles Vilina

copyright © 2013 by Kathleen Kampa

Chorus:

Trick or treat! ch-ch-ch  Trick or treat! ch-ch-ch

It’s Halloween!  Say “Trick or treat!”  ch-ch-ch

Trick or treat! ch-ch-ch  Trick or treat! ch-ch-ch

It’s Halloween!  Say “Trick or treat!”   ch-ch-ch

Verse:

I see a ghost!

I see a ghost!

Ooooooooooooooh!

Sing again with Halloween characters: witch, monster, skeleton, black cat

5)  Now your students are ready to stand up and move to the song!

Here’s a video I created for my students.  With COVID restrictions, I took the video while I was the only person in the room, so I couldn’t move around a circle. I’m holding up the picture cards, but in my classroom they’re posted around the room.

Make a circle.  Practice a movement standing in one spot for each Halloween character.

Here are some suggestions; however, using your own imagination is even better!  Your students will certainly have some interesting ideas!

For the ghost, you might move your arms like you’re floating.

For the witch, you might pretend to make some witch’s brew or cast a spell.

For the monster, you might make scary arms and stomp in place.

For the skeleton, you can move your elbows up and down.

For the black cat, you can creep in place.

On the chorus, Trick or Treat . . . march around the circle.

On It’s Halloween, put your arms up in the air as you continue marching.

On each of the verses (such as I see a ghost), stop in one place and pretend to be that character or point to the pictures.

On Oooh, do spooky arm movements.

Then begin marching again around the circle.

6) On the next class, put the picture cards around the room. Add new characters to the song. Invite your students to draw their Halloween costumes and post the pictures around the classroom.

7) Finally,  sing this song at your Halloween party. At our party, I lead the students around the room singing the chorus of “Trick or Treat.” We stop to ring the bell or knock at a pretend door.  One by one, my students’ parents pretend to open the door. The students say, Trick or Treat!, Thank You! and Happy Halloween!

In addition to having fun, this song teaches young learners:

a.  simple phrases, especially for EFL / EAL students –

It’s Halloween!  Trick or Treat!  I see a ____.

b.  Halloween vocabulary words and sight words

c.  movements, such as marching, that go from one place to another

d.  ways to move and stop

e. how to express their own ideas for the vocabulary words and inspire their creativity

We hope that your students enjoy singing and dancing throughout the month of October.   The music for this song and other Halloween favorites (Pumpkin, Pumpkin, Skeleton Dance, Marching Monsters, I’m A Witch) are available on Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays.

Special Days and Holidays

You can find it at iTunes, CD Baby Store, and ETJbookservice.

If you like this, my second album has more happy songs for children that have grown in my young learner classroom. 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, too.

Jump Jump Everyone

Happy teaching!

Kathy Kampa

Kathy's bio photo

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 movement should be a part of every young child’s learning.

Kathy is the co-author of Magic Time, Everybody Up, and Oxford Discover (all by Oxford University Press).

What Day Is It?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Day Is It? 

from Magic Time Two, Unit 8, Use the Words

What day is it?

Today is Sunday.

Today is Sunday.

Today is Sunday.

Tra la la la la.

*repeat with the remaining days of the week

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

 

 

 

 

What Are You Going to Be For Halloween?

Image from Graphic Stock

Image from Graphic Stock

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

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

Come and sit in front of me, in front of me, in front of me.

Come and sit in front of me, in front of me,

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

I’m A Witch

Words by Kathleen Kampa and Charles Vilina,

melody: Skip to my Lou

Spoken: Let’s be witches and fly on our broomsticks.

Hee! Hee! Hee! I’m a witch

Hee! Hee! Hee! I’m a witch!

Hee! Hee! Hee! I’m a witch!

Happy Halloween!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m a Witch (picture cards)

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

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

Special Days and Holidays

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

Happy Halloween!  Kathy and Chuck

Happy New Year!

Japanese Sheep
Japanese Sheep

Happy New Year! All around the globe the new year is celebrated in different ways. Here in Japan people celebrate o-shogatsu, the new year, with many special traditions. One of the important traditions seen all over the country is the celebration of the new animal for the year. This year it is the year of the sheep. Perhaps you’re familiar with the Chinese calendar of twelve different animals.

At our first class this week, we’ll begin by wishing everyone a Happy New Year 2015, the year of the sheep. I wrote a simple song to teach the year and how to spell the word “sheep.” We had fun creating a recording for you at home with our son Christian.

It’s The Year 

lyrics by Kathleen Kampa Vilina, melody (For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow/ BINGO)

sung by Christian Vilina

Intro:

Baa, baa, black sheep,

Have you any wool?

Yes, sir, yes, sir.

Three bags full.

It’s the year of the sheep.

It’s the year of the sheep.

It’s the year of the sheep.

It’s 2015!

s-h-e-e-p, s-h-e-e-p, s-h-e-e-p,

It’s the year of the sheep.

1. Show students the picture of a sheep.

 Image courtesy of TCJ2020 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of TCJ2020 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When they sing the word “sheep” they can make a pose like a sheep or point to the picture. If you have lively students, they might enjoy skipping or galloping during this part of the song instead.

2. On the words, “It’s 2015,” students stop moving and make the numbers 2015 with their fingers. Very young students can stop and wave their arms in the air as if saying “Hooray!”

3. Write the letters for the word “sheep” on the board. Clap the rhythm below to accompany the letters. (slow, slow, quick quick, slow)

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To make it more challenging, students can pat, stamp, or snap the rhythm. My students like to clap the first time they spell “sheep,” then they pat their legs, and finally they stamp their feet. If you have instruments in your classroom, you can play this part.

4. The song ends with “It’s the year of the sheep!” Students make the sheep pose, or point to the picture.

———————————————————————————————————————-

You can also celebrate the New Year with our song, “Happy New Year!” I wrote it with our son Christian, and it is always a hit with our students. You can find it on Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays. The lyrics are easy for students to follow.

Students like to pat their legs, then clap their hands to the beat.

On the last Happy New Year, they turn around and wave their hands.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Hip hip hooray!

ms kampa 12-8

Santa’s Cookies and Milk

Our Christmas Tree here in Japan with ornaments from around the world
Our Christmas tree here in Japan with ornaments from around the world

Christmas is a magical time of year! My students and I sing about Santa Claus, reindeer, Christmas trees, jingle bells, and gingerbread cookies. We sing songs about the birth of Jesus, too. Students dress in festive costumes. I love this time of year with my students! Even though our two sons are adults, we still gather together at Christmas and enjoy many of the traditions they knew as children. Our Christmas Eve celebrations include a festive dinner, opening gifts by the Christmas tree, and singing Christmas carols. When the evening draws to a close, we still put out a plate of homemade cookies and a glass of milk for Santa Claus. A note is written for Santa, and the next morning a reply from Santa is waiting for us!

Cookies and Milk left for Santa
Cookies and milk left for Santa

I wrote this simple song to the melody of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to remember this special moment in our lives. Here’s a complimentary music track for you from my CD entitled Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays.

Santa’s Cookies and Milk Words by Kathleen Kampa and Charles Vilina Spoken: Dear Santa, Welcome to my house. I’ve been very good this year. Have some cookies. (gesture with one hand to the side) Have some milk. (gesture with the other hand) Christmas cookies and a glass of milk. (Twist hands like twinkling Christmas stars. You can make it fancier by moving your hands in big circles from above your head to your sides.) Eat the cookies. 1-2-3 (gesture eating cookies, then fingers 1-2-3) Drink the milk. It’s from me. (gesture drinking milk, then point to self) Have some cookies. (gesture with one hand to the side) Have some milk. (gesture with the other hand) Christmas cookies and a glass of milk.   (Twist hands like twinkling Christmas stars. You can make it fancier by moving your hands in big circles from above your head to your sides.) Spoken: Thanks Santa! Have a good night! Good-bye! For more tips on performances, see our last blog post. https://magictimekids.com/2014/12/05/making-the-most-of-student-performances/

Cute way to give Christmas cookies!
A cute way to give Christmas cookies!

Check out this cute idea for a cookie holder, too. Invite students to decorate the plate before folding it up. Be sure to show students a model of the folded one so that they know where they can draw. Turn the plate upside down on a clean surface to add drawings. Cut on the lines, too, before drawing.  Remember that the drawings will be on the bottom of the plate. Decorate with red ribbon and a little bell for Christmas. Wishing you all the best for Christmas and throughout the year from our family to yours.  May the magic of Christmas remain in your hearts.

Chuck, Christian, Kathy, and John on Christmas Eve 2013
Chuck, Christian, Kathy, and John on Christmas Eve 2013

Marching Monsters?

4089923322_05f94d8340_o (1)

Are you ready for Halloween? Add “Marching Monsters” to your Halloween activities  It’s easy and fun to do.

Show your students pictures of the four characters in the song–monsters, skeletons, witches, and jack-o-lanterns. You can use the google slides below to print flashcards or just share these on your device.  You can easily sync your music to these slides.

Marching Monsters Halloween Slide Show: Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays

Practice the four verbs– march, skip, sway side-to-side in a waltz, and jump!

Can you march like a monster?  Can you skip like a skeleton?  Can you waltz like a witch? Can you jump like a jack-o-lantern?

Practice “Turn around and stop!”

Here are the lyrics.  You can also find them in the slide show above.                               Marching Monsters   Words and music by Kathleen Kampa and Charles Vilina

1. Marching monsters! Happy Halloween! Boo!                                                                 Marching monsters! Happy Halloween! Boo!                                                                   Marching monsters, Turn around and stop! (hold)                                                                 Marching monsters Happy Halloween! Boo!

2. Skipping skeletons! Happy Halloween! Boo! . . .

3. Waltzing witches! Happy Halloween! Boo! . . . .

4. Jumping jack-o-lanterns! Happy Halloween! Boo! . . . .

Just watch the video and have fun!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/kathy-kampas-special-days/id713965540

Did you notice that you can build phonemic awareness with this song too?  The word pairs begin with the same initial sound.  You can separate the verbs and nouns.  Students match.

Marching Monsters worksheet and flashcards

For a bigger challenge, write the letters m, sk, w, j, and h on the board. What pair of words begins with these letters in the song?

m-> marching monsters

sk-> skipping skeletons

w-> waltzing witches

j-> jumping jack-o-lanterns

h-> Happy Halloween! You can find a simple worksheet here to practice.

 

Picture9-10Want to add a cute monster craft? http://acupcakefortheteacher.blogspot.jp/2012/07/my-frankenstein-craftivity.html

4089923322_05f94d8340_o (1)Monsters by Gunder on Flickr Attribution CC 2.0 license

http://bit.ly/Gundermonstersdrawing

 

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

Pumpkins and Jack-O-Lanterns

Pumpkin by hin255

Featured image 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.

IMG_0479IMG_0480

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:

Jack-o-Lantern Chant by Kathleen Kampa

Pumpkin, pumpkin, (turn picture around) jack-o-lantern
Pumpkin, pumpkin, (turn picture around) jack-o-lantern
Pumpkin, pumpkin, (turn picture around) jack-o-lantern
Happy Halloween!

To add more fun, make a small pumpkin/jack-o-lantern and a big one. Students see the change from small to big, and from pumpkin to jack-o-lantern.

Here’s a simple Halloween song that my students absolutely love!

My dear friend Setsuko Toyama has made a beautiful rebus worksheet to help your students read both sight words and pictures.

Pumpkin, Pumpkin Rebus Reading

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!)

(Sing loudly.)

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.

Special Days and Holidays

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.

 

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.

Engaging Vocabulary Activities for Young Learners

stockimages

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.

photo 1

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.

photo 2

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