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!

 

 

 

 

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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

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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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Reading and Dancing Holiday Songs

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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.

Marching Monsters worksheet and flashcards

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.

Video

Hop Along Easter Bunny (Dance)

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.

 

Special Days and Holidays