It’s Time for “The Turkey Dance”

Photo by ASHISH SHARMA on Pexels.com

If you teach young learners, you’ve got to check out this simple song and dance. It’s called The Turkey Dance, and as you can imagine, it gives children a chance to dance like . . . . turkeys!!

While many countries give thanks at this time of year, an American tradition is turkeys. When I was a child, we made turkey drawings by tracing along the edge of our hand. These hand drawings became turkeys! So celebrate turkeys and try out the The Turkey Dance.  It’s really easy to do.

Here are the lyrics, which go to the tune of “Turkey in the Straw.”

The Turkey Dance

Words by Kathleen Kampa and Charles Vilina, music adapted from Turkey in the Straw

copyright © 2013 by Kathleen Kampa

Spoken: It’s Thanksgiving Day.  Let’s move like turkeys.

First, move your elbows! (imagine wings)

Move your elbows, do the Turkey Dance.

Move your elbows, do the Turkey Dance.

Stamp your feet and shout “Hooray!”

It’s Thanksgiving Day.

2. Now move your hips. . . (imagine a tail)

Move your hips, do the Turkey Dance.

Move your hips, do the Turkey Dance.

Stamp your feet and shout “Hooray!”

It’s Thanksgiving Day.

3. Now move your knees. . . .

4. Now move your head . . . .

5. Now move your whole body!

Teacher’s Notes:

In this dance, students are pretending to be turkeys.

Before you put on the music, show students a picture of a turkey like the one in this blog.

I usually start with a little TPR by teaching this part of the song first– “Stamp your feet, then shout ‘Hooray!'” Stamp your feet, then jump in the air on “Hooray.” On “It’s Thanksgiving Day!” put your hands together.

My students added their own ideas between the verses. Some children enjoyed saying “Gobble! Gobble!” while others liked to say “Thank You” in a language they know.

Now teach the body part movements. Say “Move your elbows.”  These are the turkey’s wings.

Repeat with each body part listed below: hips/tail, knees, head, and whole body.

1.  Make turkey wings by moving your elbows.

2.  Make a tail by putting your hands behind your back and moving your hips.

3.  Move your knees like you’re strutting.

4.  Move your head forward and back.

5.  Choose your favorite movements or make some new ones.  Dance!

Here is a very, very short clip of young learners from my English class enjoying The Turkey Dance.  It’s easy to do. It will be give some idea of the movement.

For this catchy “hoedown” professional version that children LOVE to dance to, listen to The Turkey Dance on iTunes!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! No matter where we live, we all give thanks this season for the blessings we have.

Kathy and Chuck

ms kampa 12-8

Kathy has produced two music CDs for very young learners, Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays and Jump Jump Everyone, which build English language skills through movement while nurturing creativity and imagination! Grown and loved by real kids! 

Kathy’s second children’s CD, Jump Jump Everyone, includes songs to move to, seasonal songs, and lots of transitional songs. For more kid-tested music and movement activities, check out my music on iTunes.

Jump Jump Everyone

Kathy’s CD’s are available at numerous locations:

ETJ Book Service    Japan

Mad Robin Music and Dance, Seattle, Washington

iTunes

Kathy Kampa is a teacher, author, and teacher-trainer who specializes in working with young learners. As a PYP (Primary Years Program) teacher in Tokyo, Japan, she uses a globally-minded and inquiry-based approach to teaching through which students develop 21st century skills. She also supports the development of English language skills by creating songs, chants, and TPR/movement activities targeted to young learners’ needs.

Kathy and her husband Charles Vilina are also co-authors of Magic TimeEverybody Up, and the ELTon award-winning course Oxford Discover, published by Oxford University Press.

#childrenssongs #teachingchildren #thanksgiving #kidsmusic

#thanksgiving #thankful #love #thanks #family #food #fall #instagood #blessed #turkey #friends #holiday #happythanksgiving #thanksgivingdinner #foodporn #grateful #photooftheday #autumn #fun #turkeyday #celebrate #life #giving #stuffing #gratitude #givethanks

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!