If you use the Hi, friends! software with your students, you'll know there are some chants (and much more) available. Many people hate on these chants but I think you can get a lot out of them if you understand how students learn English (a.k.a. second language acquisition).
Rocking Hi, friends! Chants
The chants in Hi, friends! can be a great learning tool. Here's why:
- It's a great way to practice speaking before putting it into simulated-real use.
- It's a fun way to do listening with elementary students. (More on this below!)
- Kids need to move and be active; chants let them stand up and by adding gestures they're moving around, making noise and having fun.
Before forcing students to produce (speak) new language, we should give them plenty of time to listen and get comfortable with the new language. Initially the sounds then ideally, if they can reach comprehension through listening (input), it'll make the output phase easier. Without comprehension; it's just parroting.
Here's the magic: let students listen to a chant a few times before you start singing. Not just listening though - you need to give them a reason to listen.
Give them simple listening tasks each time you listen to guide comprehension. (Specific examples below.) These might seem way too easy but imagine you're a child learning French (or Chinese) - it's not easy! Also really important: let them check their answers with their neighbours.
For new ALT's wondering how the heck students can understand these questions I'll tell you that I actually use Japanese to ask students these questions. If you don't speak Japanese, ask the HRT to ask the students in your pre-lesson meeting.
Once students have listened a few times and through comprehension questions gained an understanding of the chant, it's time to try singing.
After singing through the chant once, it's a good time to add gestures. Ask your students for gestures for each part of the chant and select gestures for everyone to use. Funny but relevant gestures let students have fun while keeping the activity grounded in the meaning of the words.
Chants can be used over multiple lessons. Once students are very comfortable with the chant, try using the karaoke feature. From there, you can get suggestions from students and change certain words and associated gestures to make an original chant.