Exciting, nervous, fun, interesting are all words that come to mind when starting with a new group of students. We never know what kind of adventure a new class will bring. Each student has their own specialness they bring to the class, and the teachers as well.
Here is a list of my favorite activities when starting a new class of very young learners:
- Warm Ups: Take several minutes and do some simple and maybe even funny actions, and have the children repeat after you. Say the action while you do it, and repeat a few times. For example, “clap, shake, wash, jump, up, down, silly face”. You get the idea.
- Counting Songs: Many children when learning a new language have already learned numbers before coming to class. Count from 1 to 10 on your fingers, and have the students follow, count the students, etc. And of course sing the always fun Let’s Count 1 to 10 Song!
- Read a Book: Try to find a book that students will easily recognize what is going on. Something about animals, or counting is a great start.
- Circle Time: Teach the children how to make a circle holding hands. Pass a ball around the circle and as the students pass the ball have them say “hello” to the next student.
Basically the idea of the first class is to get comfortable with your students. And to have your students become comfortable with you the teacher.
If you have been following Dream English for awhile, you might have noticed something different about my new songs and videos. While I still use and love the older songs like the “Hello Song”, “Days of the Week”, and “Let’s Count 1 to 10” to name a few, I have been working hard to increase the overall educational level of the songs.
Great question! I found after years of teaching that my students were not retaining enough, because I was not presenting enough material for them. Children are amazing, and can learn so much, so quickly! But, you have to give them the opportunity. So I started increasing the vocabulary in a song from an average of about 6 words to 12 or more.
I have also been doing a lot of reading and research into SLA (Second Language Acquisition). The ideas I have learned, supported by scientific research, have been really helpful. For example, my songs now repeat a second time at a faster pace. I do this, because children need fluency practice, which this helps with. Also, the repetition helps the children learn the vocabulary and phrases in a way that enables them to become automatic with the language. That is the goal! Say that three times with me, “Automatic, Automatic, Automatic!” Speaking and conversing in English without the need to stop and think about every word or phrase. Like we practice a sport, repetition makes perfect.
I’m trying my best to raise the level of the Dream English songs. Both on my side, the producing side, and for the benefit of the learners. Thanks for your support in this!
If you would like to watch some of the new videos with these methods click here.
Tags: teaching English with songs
I had the pleasure about a year ago to do a presentation at the ETJ Expo in Japan, to some very enthusiastic teachers. I did another presentation this year, but more on that later!
The basic idea of the presentation was the simple way to get started teaching with songs. I’ve written about this before, but it never hurts to review. So here it is:
ABCs of teaching Songs
A- Always smile.
B- Be Yourself.
C- Continuous Eye Contact with students.
To keep it simple, smile and your students will enjoy singing with you. Be yourself, if you are low key, be that way. If you are energetic, that’s great too. Either way, teach how you feel comfortable. Always look around the room and make eye contact with all of your students. That let’s them know that you are interested in how they are doing!
1, 2, 3, Go! Method
1- Pre-teach vocabulary
2- Teach the songs actions
3- Sing the song!
This is the easiest way I can break down teaching a song. Teach the vocabulary and actions, then sing the song. Or just start singing and the students will pick it up.
My point of this post? Enjoy what you are doing, be yourself and sing, sing sing! Oh, and need a song to try this with? Feel free to download one of my 100 or so for free here!
We all know that repetition is really important for young learners. I’ve made this new video with 6 songs, plus a fun playing with play dough guessing game. The colors and shapes are repeated often, to help youngsters learn while having fun!
Tags: kids music, kids songs, kids video
Hi! I am excited to share the Kids Songs Collection 3 Video. I tried to make this like a TV show, with fun interactive lessons, and some of the favorite Dream English Songs. Happy Learning! Matt
Tags: hare, kids, songs, tortoise
The Tortoise and the Hare is a classic children’s tale that has a great lesson for all! We had a lot of fun making this song and cartoon. We hope you enjoy it, and learn a lot from the Tortoise and the Hare!
Tags: baa baa black sheep, children, nursery rhyme
I always love to bring actions to songs. It gets kids moving, active, and having fun. Plus, it is a helpful way to remember the lyrics. So give this a try!
Tags: chinese new year song, chinese zodiac, happy chinese new year song, kids song
I had a lot of fun making this video. Can you learn all of the animal names, the sounds they make, and say them in order? Let’s give this a try!
Tags: christmas, dance, kids, santa, songs
Let’s try this fun new song and dance. Perfect for holiday classes, or fun around the house!
Trying new things out in class helps keep things interesting for everyone. I wrote this new Hello Song with that in mind. It is simple, fun, and reviews a bunch of vocabulary to get the class started.
This song can be used in a preschool or esl/efl teaching environment. So have fun and happy singing!