TeachingEnglish
Language and music - Improvisation of my Marija von Trapp classroom

Education with a touch of music.. continuing from my previous post..3. Two years ago my grade 2 were struggling with the days of the week so I invented a plain melody on the spot and convinced them it was a veeeeeeery popular English verse and they learnt it quickly! I thought to myself "well this went well" and decided to use the same method whenever they have problems with pronunciation or remembering vocabulary. I use onomatopoeia, mime and melody. e.g. adjectives: long pronounce /looooooooong/, short pronounce /short/ and quickly, curly with circling my head or finger etc. Now every generation wants to learn the same "Monday.." tune as they heard it from each other. :)))4. The thing my pupils, specially the younger ones like the most is when I bring my guitar. Something different, unexpected and therefore interesting! It is not often of course but it makes it more precious to them (and I can take it out only at the end of session otherwise it captures their attention too much). Bringing such an instrument or any object that could attract them is very useful as a motivator for "getting them in the mood" for learning and cooperating. 5.   Nearly as much (but not quite :)) as singing I like translating, and I found a way how to make them enjoy it as well! I ask them to bring popular Croatian pop and rock songs. They bring tons of them so we can choose and always have plenty for the whole year. We translate the song together in class or, more often, they want to do it themselves so we check and correct it together paying attention to rhyme, context, humour and the “genius of the language”. Usually they translate it in groups and then reading them we choose from each group the best lyrics and write a final version. It seems that they find singing these translated songs much more fun because it is something they “create” themselves. Also it is easily sung because it is a melody which they already know and what is most important the translation of the popular song becomes so amusing that they sing it to other pupils at school. The result is that they come back with more and more original, mostly funny, song ideas. :) Maybe you could use your own country´s popular songs?  

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Victoria Kamchatka's picture
Victoria Kamchatka

You shared with us a great example of creativity and collaboration in the classroom. While working together on translating the songs and making up their own variants, they learn from each other, acquire language in a postive way. I know that music activates most of our brain cells and receptors. As I have watched my Ss, they perceive information better if they sing together and do some activities afterwards.We usually translate and sing children's songs from the Russian cartoons. It develops interpersonal intelligence teaching us the ability to understand another person's moods, feelings, motivation and intentions. Ah! Too much to delve into!

singerina's picture
singerina

Victoria  that is a great idea - using songs from cartoons! These last years there are little croatian cartoons on TV, japanese production mainly! But you gave me something to think about. Thank you! :)  

singerina's picture
singerina

I use my guitar. And with younger Ss I use a glove-puppet, Ronnie, a bunny which talks to them. I have fun acting with my funny voices and they love it :)Do any of you use a specific object, or instrument, maybe toys in the classroom?

muge_'s picture
muge_

I use a glove puppet too, and a little toy cat visits us sometimes. My kids help the cat with its English. :)I don't generally like translation in my classes but translating popular songs sounds like great fun. It's also very nice that there's collaborative work and production.Thanks a lot for the ideas!

singerina's picture
singerina

Yes muge_ translating bores the hell out of them, I know, so I avoid it too, but songs are something they really enjoy.It works vice versa as well.. translating English child verse or poems into Croatian. I wouldn´t do it if they weren´t so amused with it. Their works often get on the pinboard for everyone to read as they  usually turn out to be very funny and creative.  :)

singerina's picture
singerina

I use the same application with my grade 1, they love it! With older students the rule is - must use correct sentences! :) The same application can be installed on Android mobile phones

singerina's picture
singerina

This week we translated the Eurovision song that our singer will sing on this year´s contest Rurovision 2012. It turned out so well that a girl joked that we could send it to the organization so the singer could sing it in english :)

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