Songs, Rhymes and Chants

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Songs, Rhymes & Chants

Rhyming Stories

Why use songs? They are memorable. They provide enjoyable repetition practice. They provide variety and change of pace. They reinforce rhythm and pronunciation. They promote class identity. They integrate with other class activities / topic work. They provide opportunities for movement and drama. They can take English out of the classroom. They develop listening skills. They provide integrated practice of all four skills. They build confidence and sense of success

When to use songs? Use them as warmers / closers. Use them as stirrers / settlers. Use them to introduce language. Use them to practise language. Use them to revise / recycle language. Use them to tell a story. Use them to integrate with other activities on the same theme.

How to use songsThree main stages1. 1. Listening and showing understanding.2. Support from the teacher through visual aids, actions, realia, focus questions.3. 2. Joining in and learning the song. Using actions, drama, pictures, prompt cards.4. 3. Responding to the song. For example, completing a gap fill, adding verses, illustrating the song.

Things to consider when choosing songs Language level. Amount of new vocabulary. Relevance to syllabus. Relevance to topic. Ease and memorability of tune. Quality of recording.

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly.

1) It is a story with lots of animals. Elicit the names of the animals from the children. 2) Elicit the noises the animals make in English. 3) Give each pupil an animal role, when they hear their animal in the story they have to make that animals noise. Do a quick practice.4) Tell/read the story.This is a great story to use for a performance in English.

Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allen Ahlberg.

1) A pre-story activity is needed to introduce the characters. Some of your pupils will know them, other characters will be new. You could do a name and picture matching task or look at the nursery rhymes on You Tube.2) Read the story playing the eye spy game as the book demands, or follow it on You Tube. 3) As a follow-up you could make a rhyming pelmanism e.g. Stairs/Bears (this could be written or pictorial). A gap-fill would also work well as the strong rhyme makes predicting the gaps easy.(Big books are available).

Both available on You Tube


ChantsThe Button Factory rap

1) Set the mood for your rap. Get pupils to stand up in a group. Elicit what rappers wear on their heads, caps. How do they wear them? Everyone mimes turning their caps around. Move onto trousers and jewellery and hand gestures.2) Take the class through the rap line by line and build it up.

Hi! My names JoeAnd I work in a button factoryIve got a wifeThree kidsOne day my boss came up to meHe said JoeI said YoHe said busy?I said noThen push this button with your...right handThen push this button with your left hand right leg.left legbottom.nose!

I use The Button Factory. You can also see many different versions of it on You Tube. I think it came from the American Summer Camps.

The Word Train

1) Elicit favourite foods to whiteboard. You need to get a range of word stress patterns so ask for flavours or what do you eat that with to get a variety.2) Get the class standing in a circle. Get the pupils moving on the spot like a train. Explain that they must join in and copy you.3) Choose the shortest word first then build up to more complicated patterns, repeating each word about 8 times or until everyone has joined in and said it a few times. Increase the speed of your train as you move from word to word. Do not repeat word patterns. To replicate the whistle of the train finish on a one syllable word with a long vowel sound if possible. E.g. eggs, pizza, cucumber, spaghetti, fish and chips, strawberry ice-cream, cheese!4) In groups of 2-3 the children can make their own train chant. Elicit lexical sets that would work well for this activity and try to get a variety of topics across the groups e.g. clothes, animals, sports, countries.5) The groups try out their train chants on each other.

Body chant

Pull a funny face, move your nose all over the place.

First you smilelike a clown,then you turn the corners down.Show your teethopen widemove your jaws from side to side.

Pull a funny face, move your nose all over the place.

Raise your eyebrowsroll your eyesmake them grow to twice their size.Shut them tightwink and blinkkeep them open just a chink.

Pull a funny face, move your nose all over the place

Make your facelong and slim,give yourself a double chin.Twitch your nosefrown and poutsuck your cheeks in, puff them out.

Adapted from: The Gruffalo Song Book Julia Donaldson & Alex Scheffler Macmillan

Stop that noise

1) Divide the class into boys and girls. 2) Teacher reads each line and the participants repeat as and when. Try to vary your intonation as much as possible but keep the rhythm strong.

I use Stop that noise, but you can use your favourite Jazz Chant as long as the language level is appropriate. All chants should be meaningful no mindless chanting. Search for Carolyn Graham and Jazz Chants on You Tube or via

Childrens Songs

Childrens SongsDuke of YorkOh, the grand old Duke of York, he had ten thousand men. He marched them up to the top of the hill, and he marched them down again. And when they were up, they were up; And when they were down, they were down; And when they were only half way up, they were neither up nor down. (see You Tube)

Food Song (To the tune of Merrily we roll along)Fish and chips and vinegar, vinegar, vinegar Fish and chips and vinegar, Pepper, pepper, salt!

Try changing the lyrics. Just change each word for a new word with the same number of syllables and stress pattern.

Fish (1 syllable)Chips (1 syllable)Vinegar (3 syllables, 1st stress)Pepper (2 syllables)Salt (1 syllable)

For example, Plums and pears and pineapple, pineapple, pineapplePlums and pears and pineapple,Melon, melon, grapes!

Londons BurningLondons Burning, Londons burningFetch the engine, fetch the engineFire Fire, Fire FirePour on water, pour on water

I Hear Thunder (to the tune of Frre Jacques)I hear thunder, I hear thunderHark dont you? Hark dont you?Pitter patter raindrops, pitter-patter raindropsIm wet through, so are you.

I see blue sky, I see blue skyWay up high, way up highHurry up the sunshine, hurry up the sunshineWell soon dry, well soon dry

These two songs sound good when sung in a round. You can find them both on the internet.

Two Little Dickie BirdsTwo Little Dickie BirdsTwo Little Dickie Birds sitting on a wallOne called Peter, one called PaulFly away peter, fly away PaulCome back Peter, come back Paul

Make birds to use in this action song. See it on You Tube.

The Fast Food SongA Pizza Hut, a Pizza HutKentucky Fried Chicken & a Pizza HutA Pizza Hut, a Pizza HutKentucky Fried Chicken & a Pizza HutMacDonalds, MacDonaldsKentucky Fried Chicken & a Pizza HutMacDonalds, MacDonaldsKentucky Fried Chicken & a Pizza Hut

Try changing the lyrics, for example The Salad Song

A cucumber, a cucumberA big bowl of lettuce and a cucumber Tomatoes, tomatoesA big bowl of lettuce and a cucumber

Pop Songs

Pop Song idea 11) Write the words on the board or on a handout that you have taken from your song. Use check questions to check understanding. Practice clapping the words paying attention to word stress.2) Play the song and pupils have to clap once every time they hear the words.3) At this stage you can give pupils the lyrics and they have to underline all the words on the board.4) Play the song again, this time the pupils have to clap the word using the right word stress as they hear them.4) The final time you play the song, get everyone stood up in a group and the pupils have to shout out the words as they hear them, in time to the music.

Thats Not My Name by The Ting Tings and Price Tag by Jessie J work well. Both available on You Tube.

Pop Song idea 2

1) Elicit/Pre-teach words from song. Distribute words among the pupils, about 2 each. Play song, pupils have to stand up and sit down each time they hear their word(s). 2) Half the class think of a word from the song and write it secretly on a piece of paper. Play the song again and as half the class stand up and sit down when they hear their word, the other half have to guess what secret words they have written down.3) The listeners guess the secret words and the writers reveal their pieces of paper to confirm. Change over.

Use Hello Goodbye by The Beatles. Listen on You Tube, there is a good remastered version on there.

Pop Song 3

Give each student a copy of the gapped and numbered worksheet. Tell them you are going to fill in the gaps working together as a class.Tell them that they must call out a word that they think might be in the passage. If it is in the passage you call out the position, the number in the text, and the pupils have to write it in the corresponding gap. If it isnt in the passage simply say no. Encourage students to think about collocations, tense structures. Continue until the passage is completed and prompt when necessary. Finally students guess the famous band/artist.There is an example below using a short biography of One Direction.

Characters in Each Peach Pear Plum1. The Three Bears (Goldilocks and The Three Bears.)2. Little Bo Peep Nursery RhymeLittle Bo peep has lost her sheepAnd doesn't know where to find them.Leave them alone and they'll come home,Bringing their tails behind them.3. The Wicked Witch (from many stories)4. Tom Thumb ( a character of English folklore)5. Jack and Jill Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of waterJack fell down and broke his crownAnd Jill came tumbling after.6. Cinderella7. Mother HubbardOld Mother HubbardWent to the cupboardTo get her poor doggie a bone,When she got thereThe cupboard was bareSo the poor little doggie had none.8. Robin Hood (heroic outlaw in English folklore)9. Baby BuntingCry Baby BuntingDaddy's gone a-huntingGone to fetch a rabbit skinTo wrap the Baby Bunting inCry Baby BuntingThe Word Train

Cat Cat Cat Cat Cat Cat Cat Cat Chicken Chicken Chicken Chicken Chicken Chicken Chicken Chicken Giraffe Giraffe Giraffe Giraffe Giraffe Giraffe Giraffe Giraffe Elephant Elephant Elephant Elephant Elephant Elephant Elephant Elephant Flamingo Flamingo Flamingo Flamingo Flamingo Flamingo Flamingo FlamingoHippopotamus Hippopotamus Hippopotamus Hippopotamus Hippopotamus Hippopotamus Hippopotamus HippopotamusBee Bee BeeTry this activity with food, colours, countries, sports. Linking two words with and makes a nice rhythm e.g. socks and shoes, chicken and chips. You can also add colours or other adjectives to make patterns longer. Use a word containing a long vowel sound to represent the trains horn.From: Google ImagesStop That Noise

Shh Shh stop that noise(everyone)Shh Shh stop that noiseCome on boys tell all the girlsTell all the girls to stop that noise

Shh Shh stop that noise(boys only)Shh Shh stop that noiseCome on girls please be quiet Please be quiet girls

Shh Shh stop that noise(everyone)Shh Shh stop that noiseCome on girls tell all the boysTell all the boys to stop that noise

Shh Shh stop that noise(girls only)Shh Shh stop that noiseCome on boys please be quietPlease be quiet boys

Shh Shh stop that noise(everyone)Shh Shh stop that noiseTell everyone to please be quiet. Please be quiet now!

Rain A jazz chant.

It was raining, raining, raining hardIt was falling on my headIt was falling on thestarsIt was falling on my shoesIt was falling on the sunIt was raining, raining, raining hard

I got soaking wetYou got soaking wet?But I stayed outsideBut you stayed outside?It was falling on my headIt was falling on the stars

Therain was sweetsweet sweetThe rain was warmwarm warmThe rain was soft soft softIt reminded me of homehome home

It was raining, raining, raining hardIt was falling, falling, falling on the starsIt was raining, raining, raining hardIt was falling, falling, falling on the stars

Sweet rainIts raining, raining Warm rainIts raining, rainingSoft rainIts raining, raining

Soft rainrain, rainSweet rain rain, rainWarm rainrain, rain, rain.

Adapted from Jazz chants by Carolyn Graham

Watch this!

Price Tag by Jessie J.

Hes wearing lots of bling!

Cha-ching! The sound of an old-fashioned cash register.

Write these words on the board. tired price first tonight dance mysterious obsessed alright now night second smile serious eyes high time left right tag yeah money happiness unite Ask check questions to check the meaning of these words.E.g. Can you find another word for?Can you find any words that are opposites?Can you find any words that go together? Why?Can you see any words that rhyme?

Ask students to find words that have the same stress pattern? Practice clapping the words. Listen to the song and clap once each time you hear the words in the box. Look at the lyrics, find the words in the box and underline them. Listen again and clap the words again trying to do the full stress pattern. Listen for the last time and shout out the underlined words, trying to keep in time.

From: Google Images

Teachers notesThats what makes you beautiful by One Direction

Lead-in Play guess the band/singerPupils ask yes/no questions to guess the band/artist. You could incorporate a Reveal the Picture activity. Who knows the most about the band/artist. Groups write down anything they know about given band/artist. Pupils write questions they would like to know about the band/artist. Teacher gives mini biography and pupils see how many of their questions are answered. Biography of band/artist open cloze or gap fill.

One Directionis an English-Irishpopboy bandbased in London. Their names are Niall ,Zayn ,Liam ,Harry andLouis . They finished third in the British T.V singing competitionThe X Factorin 2010. Theyve had three albums,Up All Night,Take Me HomeandMidnight Memories, (released in 2011, 2012 and 2013 respectively). Their achievementsinclude fourBrit Awardsand fourMTV Video Music Awardsamong many others. According to theSunday Times Rich List, by April 2013 they had an estimated personal combined wealth of 25million ($41.2m) making them...