Teaching Young Learners – Songs, Rhymes and Chants

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Task One

Where would you put the stresses on the following rhyme?

I would put the stress on the vowel (letter strings) in each sentence, showing rhyme.  Nearly all of these vowel sounds also marry up with the final consonant sounds (n-ew-s / sh-oes). I would give the students more examples of these sounds (choose, lose, blues). With younger learners I think vowel sound is important but also the sound they make with the final consonant.

Have you heard the latest news?   Isabel has bought new shoes

And did you know that Harry’s dad has got a dog that’s completely mad?

Well, Alice copied Tommy’s work and she’s taken Helen’s skirt

Johnny Jones has been much worse, he’s stolen money from Angie’s purse

Wait till you hear what Cathy’s done, she’s eaten a worm, just for fun!

Task Two

Choose a song or devise an activity that can be used in the classroom. State the age you have in mind.

1. Old MacDonald’s Farm

Age: Young learners

Aim: Practice listening and singing

Practice listening for animal names and sounds

Preparation: Collect pictures of a farm and a farmer, models of animals

1. The teacher starts by showing a picture of a farm and a farmer.

2. The teacher asks the learners ‘who and where is this?’ and gets them to call out the place and hopefully the farmer’s name (Old MacDonald).

3. The learners are told this is ‘Old Mac Donald farm’. The students are asked ‘What animals can you see on a farm?’

4. The students can shout out the names of animals. The teacher can check that they know the English word for the animals.

5. The teacher gets the children to think about their favourite animal that lives on a farm.

6. The teacher then shows some models of animals including the ones in the song. The names for the animals are elicited and chorally drilled. 

7. The teacher then asks ‘what sound they make?’ The teacher gives examples.

8. The teacher already has prepared sheets of paper to match animals and their sounds. The teacher gets the learners in groups and gets them to match the animals and sounds. This helps to solidify the exercise a little more.

9. The teacher gives each group the animal models from the song. She tells the group when they hear in the song an animal’s name she wants them to grab the animal. This helps them get an idea of the animals in the song. She plays the song and lets the groups grab the animals. She checks who got the most animals in each group.

10.  If it is necessary, stop the song line by line until they get the idea.

11. The teacher gets the learners to sing the song together with the accompaniment provided by the tape. The children may learn very easily by using echoic memory. The teacher could promote mimics, gestures, etc. associated to the meaning to make children play a participative role freely.

12. A follow up could be that the learners make their own farm or individual groups come up to the front and sing.