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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

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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.

Grasshoppers, Butterflies, and Spiders

While our summer was filled with many opportunities to enjoy the nature of Minnesota, it was also a busy time of successfully completing my MA degree. Now we have time to share many more ideas with you!

On our second day back at school, my Grade One students found a giant grasshopper outside of our classroom. It was as big as a praying mantis. We took it into our classroom. What an exciting way to begin our new school year!

Giant grasshopper

Giant grasshopper

Children are fascinated with living creatures–especially insects and other mini-beasts. While some children may be a bit timid about holding certain insects, most seem to enjoy them.

Here are a couple of activities that you can easily do in your classroom.

1.  Simple, Invented Songs

It’s easy to nurture creativity in young learners through music.  Try “playing” with words.

Here’s a simple pattern to create a song or chant.

I Love Bugs!

I like ladybugs. (longer word, 2-3 syllables)

I like ants. (shorter word, 1-2 syllables)

I like bumblebees. (longer word, 2-3 syllables)

I love bugs!

 

Students choose three insects for their song, usually one shorter word, and two longer words.

When young children sing, they often use so and mi in their invented songs.  You can use so and mi for this song, too.

My students think it’s funny to sing the negative form of this. I don’t like ______.  I hate bugs!

 

Another activity to help students play with words is to repeat the first consonant of a word, such as /b/ /b/ /b/ /b/ Bees!  Bees!

2. Stories

I love using stories with my students–especially predictable ones.  A predictable story uses repetition, similar to the way a song might have a chorus.  It might have repeated words, phrases, sentences, and other patterns.  New characters, new events, and other surprises keep the children guessing about what’s going to happen next.

Story: The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle

This story shows how a spider gradually spins a web. In my edition of this book, students can also feel the change in the web as it gets bigger.  You can read the book to your students in a traditional manner, but you can use the pictures in the book like flash cards to help you tell the story.

A.  Pre-read by looking at the pictures of the animals in the book.  You can chant this pattern, or sing it to the melody of “The Farmer in the Dell.”

The horse says “Neigh!”
The horse says “Neigh!”
Let’s play together. “Neigh! Neigh! Neigh!”

Many animals visit the spider, but the spider continues to spin the web.
Repeat with the other animals from the story (cow, sheep, goat, pig, dog, duck, rooster).

The cow says “Moo!”
The cow says “Moo!”
Let’s play together. “Moo! Moo! Moo!”

The phrase for the rooster is longer than the rest.

“Cock-a-doodle-doo!”  “Cock-a-doodle-doo!”  Let’s play together. “Cock-a-doodle-doo!”

B. Now add the following chant pattern.

(But the spider said . . . )
Sorry. I’m busy. I’m spinning a web.
Busy, busy, busy. I’m spinning a web.

Add gestures to help children remember the language. Change your voice to express the sounds of the animals.

C.  Now I “read” the story by showing the children the pictures of the animals and singing the animal songs. I show students the web in the book.  With a small class, students can feel the texture of the web on the page. On subsequent readings, you can draw the web on a whiteboard as the story progresses by drawing a couple of lines at a time.  If your students can sit in a circle, you can even create a yarn web by passing a ball of yarn from one student to one across on the other side.

D.  At the very end, an owl comes and the spider is sleeping.

Whisper . . . .

The spider was busy, but she’s sleeping now.
Sh! Sh! Be quiet!  She’s sleeping now.

*Another fun predictable story with insects and animals is Lily and the Moon by Mari Nakamura and Patricia Daly Oe.

3.  Find It!

You can look for insects outside with your students.  You can also find them in books! In Magic Time One, Unit One, Annie and Ted are outside playing.  In addition to finding the target vocabulary, students can look for animals and insects on these pages too.  They can find a dragonfly, grasshopper, rabbit, turtle, frog, squirrel, bird, butterfly, and caterpillar.  We love to add little surprises for the students to discover.

Enjoy this season of insects and mini-beasts!  Happy teaching!

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

Cover screen shot

Happy teaching, everyone!

Kathy

 

 

 

Let’s Do the Hokey Pokey Like An Easter Bunny!

"Easter Bunnies On Grass" by Grant Cochrane
“Easter Bunnies On Grass” by Grant Cochrane

Here’s a new version of a familiar song, The Hokey Pokey. For this song, however, students pretend to be Easter Bunnies.

Say to your students, Let’s make two long ears! Pantomime the movement. Ask, What else do we need? Students may offer different answers, such as two big feet, a bunny tail, bunny paws, bunny whiskers, a bunny nose. This song teaches the names of body parts as well as the directional movements in, out, around. Students have a lot of fun jumping and shaking. Students practice the lyrics and movement slowly, then the same lyrics quickly.

Make a circle with students. Sing Let’s Make A Circle. (Click here to see how to sing this song.)

Say, Show me your Easter Bunny ears. Let’s put them in, and then out. Pantomime this movement with students.

Say, Let’s shake our Easter Bunny ears. Pantomime shaking your ears happily! Now jump up and down in place. Then, turn around and say, Happy Easter! My students love to jump really high on this part!

Learn the names of each of the body parts in this song – ears, feet, tail, tummy, whole self.

Now you’re ready to join in with the music. To help students practice first, sing slowly. Then sing it faster the second time.

Here are a few of my students demonstrating parts of this song for you. Click here to watch.  Enjoy!

Easter Bunny Hop

Words by Kathleen Kampa

music: Hokey Pokey

on Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays, available through iTunes

Slowly: You put your bunny ears in.

You put your bunny ears out.

You put your bunny ears in. And you shake them all about.

Shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake!

Jump like a bunny. Jump, jump, jump!

Turn around and shout! Happy Easter!

Then sing quickly . . .

You put your bunny ears in.

You put your bunny ears out.

You put your bunny ears in. And you shake them all about.

Shake, shake, shake! (* three shakes!)

Jump like a bunny. Jump, jump, jump!

Turn around and shout! Happy Easter!

Repeat each verse slowly, then quickly with these body parts.

2. You put your bunny feet in.

3. You put your bunny tail in.

4. You put your bunny tummy in.

5. You put your whole self in.

The studio version of this song can be found on iTunes on Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays, track #7. Click here to take you there!

Special Days and Holidays

Check out these cute Easter Bunny masks for little ones. bunny mask tutorial_with watermark-1

Thanks to http://eastcoastmommyblog.blogspot.ca/2012/03/roundup-10-easter-crafts-for-kids.html

Hop Along Easter Bunny

 

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 to use many different ways to introduce, practice, and review new language.  Sing this song in three different ways–first as a fingerplay, then moving around a circle, and finally, moving around the classroom.  I’ve made a simple video for you to help you learn it as a fingerplay.

For the fingerplay, if possible, sit on the floor with the students.  Stretch your legs out in front of you.  Make an Easter Bunny by raising two fingers.  Bounce your fingers up and down your legs as if you’re hopping.

Hop along Easter Bunny, hop along.

Hop along Easter Bunny, hop along.

Hop along Easter Bunny, Hop along Easter Bunny,

Hop along Easter Bunny, hop along.

Young children love surprises. Each time I sing one line, I quickly bring my fingers back to where I started.

On the longer line, continue hopping. My students find it funny when I bring my fingers over my head and along my arm.

On the second verse, pretend to tiptoe using your fingers.

Tiptoe Easter Bunny, tiptoe.

Tiptoe Easter Bunny, tiptoe.

Tiptoe Easter Bunny, Tiptoe Easter Bunny,

Tiptoe Easter Bunny, tiptoe.

On the third verse, pretend to pick up an egg and hide it beside you or behind you.

Hide the eggs Easter Bunny, hide the eggs.

Hide the eggs Easter Bunny, hide the eggs.

Hide the eggs Easter Bunny, Hide the eggs Easter Bunny,

Hide the eggs Easter Bunny, hide the eggs.

On the last verse, pretend to run away.

Run away Easter Bunny, run away.

Run away Easter Bunny, run away.

Run away Easter Bunny, Run away Easter Bunny,

Run away Easter Bunny, run away.

Now it’s time to stand up and magically turn all of your students into Easter Bunnies. Say, Put on your ears, your whiskers, your tails, and your great big feet!

Make a circle with your students.  Sing this transitional song to get ready.

Transitional Song: Let’s make a circle big and round (4X)

https://magictimekids.com/2013/09/23/transitional-songs-part-one/

Moving around a circle keeps everyone focused. Decide which way students will move around the circle, clockwise or counterclockwise.  Then students will:

1. hop like a bunny (They might use their hands to make bunny ears or a bunny tail.)

2. tiptoe quietly

3. pretend to hide eggs

4. run

Students like to stop and pose at the end of each verse,

Hop along Easter Bunny, hop along.

Hop along Easter Bunny, hop along.

Hop along Easter Bunny, Hop along Easter Bunny, hop along 

Hop along Easter Bunny, hop along (and pose!)

Finally, students can move around the classroom. My students enjoy having half of the class pretend to Easter Bunnies while the others are pretend to sleep. The Easter Bunnies dance the song by moving around the children.

Here’s a simple video of my students moving in a circle to this music.

For the studio version of this song, go to iTunes and click on Track #6 of Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays. Special Days and Holidays

 

Here’s a quiet follow-up activity created by Setsuko Toyama.  Students use critical thinking skills to figure out which egg has been chosen.

Easter Eggs

Secretly choose one egg. Give one hint at a time, such as It’s pink.  Students can guess, Is it number three?  Add another hint.  It has blue polka dots.  Students guess again. Is it number one?  

After modeling this activity for the class, have students work in small groups or partners. Make a copy for each student.

Have fun celebrating Easter!