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Classroom Activities

English Teaching Materials, Games and Activities

June 16, 2011

Let's Take A Walk

It's an awful long time since I wrote anything in this column and for that I apologise. I was so busy renovating my house and then moving into it and into a new schoolroom that almost everything was forgot about. We are now living here.

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And teaching here.
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'Go for a walk' or 'take a walk'? Well, I'm very comfortable with using either of these phrases in my everyday speech and writing but in the classroom they are different because one is a book and the other is a CD. Perhaps my favourite book for using with young children is "Going for a Walk" by the late Beatrice Schenk de Regniers, which is sadly out of print. It's beautifully illustrated by Robert Knox and the story within it is simple and lovely. Let me quote a little from the book:

"The little girl goes for a walk.
She sees a cow.
The little girl says Hi!
The cow says Moo.
The little girl walks on."

And so the story goes on with her walking past various animals until she meets up with the little boy and off they go to play in a sandbox together. My young students love to shout out "Hi!" together with the girl and of course make all the necessary animal sounds. It's also easy to role play this story by having the children play the various parts, for example one child will play the little girl and she will take a walk around the classroom meeting up with the various animal characters who are now played by other students. It can be freely done or the teacher can use it as a listening exercise so that the child follows the order spoken by the teacher.

A confession. I have no musical ability and find it extremely difficult to keep any kind of rhythm and when I hear a familiar tune I will sing along "It's been a hard day's night..." or "I can't get no, no satisfaction..." and the words of the song fail to materialise, so how could I ever be someone who teaches children's songs and music. Often I would go to meetings and find that I was the only native speaker of English apart from the presenter, all the other participants would be female Japanese teachers of English and certainly they could all hold a tune and all play the piano. I dreaded it when the presenter decided to introduce some kind of chant or song which involved some kind of clapping and slapping of the hands whilst singing at the same time as I would be the only one unable to keep the rhythm going.

Perhaps there are other teachers out there who like myself have been hiding their impediment and avoiding public situations where one has to carry a tune and rhythm. Well, I have to tell you that all is not lost and that a great new resource is now available so "Let's Take A Walk". That is the title is of a new creation is from EFL Learning.

I only got my CD last week and already the class I'm using it with is able to sing along easily with two of the songs. I went to their primary YouTube address and together with my students we watched the "Hello Song" twice and then we sang and danced the song whilst listening to the track on the CD. After class we met with each of parents and gave (they are not so expensive) them a CD and asked that they play it in the car and at home for the children to listen to. For me the beauty of the song is its simplicity and its catchy tune, let me quote it:

Now, it's time to say hello, say hello, say hello.
Now, it's time to say hello.

Hello everyone.

And the second verse...? Well it's exactly the same. Great for me and easy for the kids.

Today, we learned another song and again success, though I must admit I had some difficulty with the clapping. The title of the song is "0 5 10". I have to say that I was surprised at how quickly the children learned to sing the song. Here is how I used it:

First we listened and watched the "fast" version of the animated display on YouTube and some children, who must have been listening to their CDs, began singing along, then the children laid two lines of large number cards from 0-10 and we listened and sang to the "slow" version of the CD whilst pointing to the appropriate cards. After that we moved onto the vast version, though I was avoiding the clapping which could be heard in the background until one perceptive child began to clap along impressively, soon we were all giving it a go and enjoying singing the song.

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You can find more videos from elf learning here and become Facebook friends with them.

I look forward to next week's lesson and another new song, though I will have to practice my clapping somewhat. If you want to give your young charges a love of music and song, then this is an ideal starting place.

Note.
EFL Learning have decided to donate 5% of their proceeds from the first 1000 CDs to assist with the tsunami relief effort. A good cause for us all. You can order the CD version here or you can download from CDBaby.



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Comments

Hi David,

Nice to see you are at it again. Nice "return" post.

Cheers

Peter

Thanks for the welcome back Peter, it's encouraging.

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