It’s October and we’re busy singing and dancing to Halloween songs. My students love getting up and moving to a song! At this time of year, we’re marching like monsters, skipping like skeletons, waltzing like witches, and jumping like jack-o-lanterns. If you want to find more Halloween songs, you can find teaching notes for songs like “Marching Monsters” on earlier blogs on this site.
On this blog, however, I want to share a handout and flash cards made by my good friend Setsuko Toyama. Setsuko is a well-known teacher trainer and author in Japan. On her worksheet, students match the same initial sound of the words, an important skill in developing phonemic awareness. They also have fun playing with alliteration, words that begin with the same sound. Many American nursery rhymes feature alliteration.
I like having my students do craft projects from time to time. While they’re busy creating their artwork, I play music to fit the holiday. Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays CD has several Halloween songs that children can easily sing along to for your Halloween parties.
Check out my Pinterest page for lots of Halloween craft activities.
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.
In my last post, I explained two ways to teach this song. Here’s a video of my students sharing this dance with you. You can find the lyrics in my blog post “Hop Along Easter Bunny.” If you like this music, check out my CD Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays, available on iTunes and CD Baby.
My nieces like to dress up as black cats for Halloween.
I love Halloween! It’s a time of year when students can enjoy expressing their ideas. They’re encouraged to use their imaginations and can pretend to be many different characters.
How can your students use their imaginations?
First, you can encourage students to create movements like Halloween characters. For example, students can make a pose while sitting. Then, they can do movements around a circle. Finally, you can let them move freely around an open space. For shy students, demonstrate some simple ideas. Soon they’ll be creating their own ideas.
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. Show students photos of children dressed up to go trick-or-treating. Although many companies sell fancy costumes, I have fond memories of creating costumes from things we had around the house.
Here’s a Halloween song I wrote entitled “I’m A Witch.” It prompts students to imagine that they’re different Halloween characters. To teach this song, sit with students in front of you.
(Use the transitional song: Come and sit in front of me . . .)
Show students images of each of the characters in the song — a witch on a broomstick, a ghost floating in the air, a bat flying in the air, an owl sitting in a tree, and a black cat creeping. Using visuals is important — especially for students learning English. This is an important first step in learning the vocabulary in the song.
Here’s a simple version of the song. (A more professional version is available below.) You can listen to the song while showing students these pictures.
Spoken: Let’s be witches and fly on our broomsticks.
Hee! Hee! Hee! I’m a witch!
Hee! Hee! Hee! I’m a witch!
Hee! Hee! Hee! I’m a witch!
Spoken: Let’s be ghosts and float gently through the air.
Boo! Boo! I’m a ghost! (3X) Happy Halloween!
Spoken: Let’s be bats and fly through the night sky.
Eeek! Eeek! I’m a bat! (3X) Happy Halloween!
Spoken: Let’s be owls and turn our heads from side to side.
Whoo! Whooo! I’m an owl! (3X) Happy Halloween!
Spoken: Let’s be black cats. Put on your whiskers and sneak around.
Meow! Meow! I’m a black cat! (3X) Happy Halloween!
Now students can stand in a circle, move around the circle, or move freely around the classroom. Hold up pictures of each character. Before playing the music, I like to practice movements for each of the characters. You may want to share your own ideas. Just remember that if you demonstrate the movement first, your students are more likely to copy your ideas.
Here are some suggestions:
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.”
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 play the music! My students love moving freely about the room while they hear the cues. I remind them to stop after each character, and listen for the new cues. I hope that your students have as much fun as mine do with this song!
The professional version of “I’m a Witch” is available on iTunes and CDBaby. Just click on the title below: