New Weather Song Video for Kids

June 17, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Posted in Children's Songs, Education | Leave a comment
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I wrote How’s the Weather?  a few years ago, but I only recently had the chance to make it into a video. I think the video really helps illustrate the song. I showed this to my students, and they got the weather vocabulary right away. For some reason, this song just makes me happy, too. I hope you enjoy it!

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Teaching Children an English Song using the 1,2,3, Go! Method

January 26, 2008 at 5:35 am | Posted in Children's Classes, Teaching ESL Songs | 2 Comments
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I introduced the 1,2,3 Go! Method in the previous post. I feel like riffing a bit on that idea today, so lets talk about teaching children a new song using the 1,2,3,Go! Method.

If possible, it is great to have the students listen to the song a few times before practicing. This way it gets into their heads a bit. You can do this by playing it a few times before class starts, or after a class ends. All of my students have the Dream English Kids Songs CD that I use in my classes. This is really great because they listen to the music at home, and are already familiar with it when they come into class.

Let’s talk about teaching the Dream English “Let’s Count” song. So here we 1,2,3 Go!

1. Preteach the vocabulary- In this case the lyrics are mainly numbers and some actions. You can review the numbers before you start with the song. Then teach the simple actions, and have the students do them with you. In this case: 1,2,3 step forward; 1,2,3 step back; 1,2,3 spin around.
2. Next add actions and practice singing the song with the actions. I use a simple clapping left to right in a big semi cirlcle (1,2,3,4,5) and then right to left (6,7,8,9,10), then of course jump!
3. Go! Now sing the song with the students and music.

You can apply this same method with any other song. The Let’s Count song is available on Dream English Kids Songs Volume 1, and as a free download here. So give it a try, and let me know how it goes!

The 1,2,3,Go! Method

January 24, 2008 at 12:58 pm | Posted in Children's Classes | Leave a comment
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Below is a video made by Shari, an English Teacher in Thailand. The kids are singing the Dream English Jingle Bells song. I think this video shows a good example of what I am talking about with pacing. For young learners of English Jingle Bells can be a difficult song. My idea in rearranging the song was to pace the song into three sections:

1. Repeating the Christmas Vocabulary- This is relatively easy as the kids simply repeat the words after me. You can see this well in the video.
2. Jingle Bells Lyrics- A little more difficult, the students have to memorize the words, and sing along. These kids did great!
3. Actions- A little relief from difficult vocabulary, the children can simply repeat the actions. I think it is very cute here how they repeat the action word twice, “Jump, jump!”

I think this song works well, and the pacing ideas behind it can be applied well to a class. Why not warm up your class with simply repeating some vocabulary. Once the kids are warmed up speaking English, try some longer phrases. Just as the kids are at the point of tiring, or getting restless, have them do some fun actions that they already know. This way they feel they are really understanding and participating in what is going on.

This cycle can be repeated with different songs, subjects, or activities within a class. Let’s call this, for fun, the 1,2,3, Go! method. If you apply the 1,2,3,Go! method to coloring in the letter A, it would look like this:

1. Introduce the colors of the crayons by having the kids repeat the names of the colors.
2. After they are ok with the color names, introduce a phrase like, “ I like blue.” This could take a few lessons with younger kids.
3. Go! Have the students start coloring. Certainly an activity they are familiar with.

Pacing and Class Control

January 22, 2008 at 7:22 am | Posted in Children's Classes | Leave a comment
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I have found pacing to be one of the most important aspects of class control for young students. What I mean by pacing is using the right activities, for the right amount of time, and in the right order. Maybe the three R’s of pacing. An activity can be anything from teaching vocabulary, a game, a song, or anything else that falls within the category of teaching English to children.

If I am pacing a class well, then I will also be reading the class and in an instant I can make a decision whether or not the next planned activity is the right one. For example, if I am teaching the alphabet sounds, and the kids are starting to get restless, instead of having them play the game I planned I might ask them to stand up and sing the ABC song. After they have used up some energy on the ABC song, they will be more ready for the sit down game I had planned.

I will talk more about pacing an entire class, and how varying the activities can really help the overall class flow in my next entry. In the meantime, if you haven’t watched Sesame Street, I highly recommend it. The people at Sesame Street, in my humble opinion, have mastered the art of pacing for Children.

Easy Ball Toss Game with Flashcards

January 21, 2008 at 4:29 am | Posted in Children's Classes, Teaching Tips: Games | Leave a comment
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Sometimes it can be hard to keep get young learners to sit still. They have a lot of energy! I use a really simple game to teach vocabulary: The Ball Toss Game.

All you need is a small basket, a ball, and some flashcards. Ask the students to sit down and put the basket a few feet in front of them. You can adjust the distance depending on their age. Simply show the flashcard to the students, and ask them to repeat after you. Once they say the word correctly, they win the opportunity to try and get a point by tossing the ball in the basket. Simple, but effective.

For older children: age 7-12

You can use the same game with older students, but instead of drilling vocabulary ask them basic questions. For example, ask them what color they like, where they live, etc. If they get the answer correctly, they can try to get the ball in the basket. Good luck!

Teaching Children English with Songs

January 17, 2008 at 11:49 am | Posted in Teaching ESL Songs | Leave a comment
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This is a quick tip in a series I am starting about how to use songs in the ESL Children’s classroom. I have been writing and using songs to teach English in Japan for over a year now, and have learned some things that might be useful.

This Weeks Tip: Sing Louder!

When you are singing a song with your students, simply ask them to sing louder. Often the kids can be shy, but actually can sing the song. Sometimes even on the first try of a song I ask the students to sing louder. They really try to say the words, even if they don’t know them yet. Of course it always best to pre-teach the vocabulary and lyrics. Happy Singing!

Easy Flashcard Game

January 16, 2008 at 1:04 pm | Posted in Children's Classes, Teaching Tips: Games | Leave a comment
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One game I use a lot is the Duck Game. This is really easy, and if you have fun with it, the kids love it. What I do is ask the kids to stand up, and start walking in place in a slow rhythm. Next, you take a set of flash cards and have one card that is the duck card. For example, if you are teaching animals you could have the Lion be the duck card. Tell the children that when they see that card to sit down, before the teacher can get them. With any game, be sure to make sure you have a safe area to play so the kids won’t hurt themselves when sitting down. Next, take the danger card and tell the kids to say “bye, bye”, and hide it among the other cards. Now have the kids walk in place, and repeat the names of the flash cards after you. When you get to the duck card, they should all sit down. Make it fun by building up anticipation in the kids. Say things like, ” Oh no, is the next one the Lion?”, and then really quickly pull out another card that is not the Lion. Simple things like that.

Variations

When I played this game with my students during Christmas time, we were using the Christmas flash cards from MES English. The elf was the duck card, but I told them when they saw the angel to spin around. You can add variations like that to make it more interesting.

If you are looking for some free flashcards to play this game, I recommend MES English. It is a great resource.

A New Free Chant

January 15, 2008 at 7:22 am | Posted in Teaching Tips:Chants | Leave a comment
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I am teaching clothing this month, and I made a chant to teach the vocabulary. It’s very simple and easy. I think chants are a nice way to introduce new vocabulary. In the long run I think songs are better for remembering words. The melody of the song somehow imprints the words in our brains. However, chants can be very effective learning tools. Check out the Clothing Chant here. Let me know how it goes!

Tell A Friend

There is an email button on the Dream English free song player on the website. If you click on that button it will open up a page and you can send an email to up to five friends at a time to tell them about a song. So if you like a song, and have 30 seconds, please help me by spreading the word. Thank you!

Happy New Year Chant- All Month Long!

January 11, 2008 at 3:10 pm | Posted in Teaching Tips:Chants | Leave a comment
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I ran into my friend Chris from English Event Company on the train today. Chris has been using Dream English Kids Songs to teach his students, and had some great ideas for teaching the Happy New Year Chant, which is a free download at Dream English. I have been teaching the chant by first teaching the words and actions, and then playing the chant and chanting/singing along. Chris used the opportunity to quiz his students, which I think is a great idea. He asked them, “Who can jump? Who can hop? Who can touch their nose?” After this he played the chant for his students, and they were all ready to go! Thanks Chris for the ideas! I’m going to be using the Happy New Year Chant all month long in my classes. I think the repetition is great for the students. Next time I am going to try a quiz! As for February… Well, I’ll just have to make a new chant for everyone. Stay tuned.

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