Let's Chant

The Hi, friends! software has chants (and much more) as long as you have a computer (ideally, plugged into a TV for best effect). I've found the chants in the Hi, friends! textbooks to be very helpful in building the mechanical speaking skills of students. It's another way to practice speaking before putting it into simulated-real use.

Chanting along with the DVD alone is OK but you can make it much better by adding movement and other things like original lyrics. Here are some ideas:

Chanting Ideas

Lesson 1 chant  How many penguins?

Chant once.

Next, add penguin and monkey gestures. (Get animal gestures from students.)

Show numbers with your fingers as you count. (For 41: "forty" - show 4 fingers, "one" - show one finger.)

Lesson 2 chant  Twelve months

Chant once.

Next, add movement. On your birthday month, throw your hands up in the air (hallelujah!).

Next, throw up your hands and jump on your birthday month. Students love this.

KEY POINT: Make sure all students are saying all the months.

Lesson 3 chant  Can you swim?

Chant once.

Next, add movement. Get gestures for the verbs from the students. Ridiculous gestures are funny!

Show each "No, I can't." as more and more depressing. (Hunch shoulders, sad face, etc.) Students will join in.

Perk up and have a light bulb moment when you say what you can do.

Next, try karaoke.

Next, change the verbs and make a semi-original chant. Get suggestions from students. Eg. "Can you play soccer basketball? No, I can't. Can you play baseball do sumo? No, I can't. Can you play the piano recorder? No, I can't. But I can cook sing and swim play table tennis."

If your class gets as far as creating their own original version, remember to do it again the following week. Students will remember the words and gestures so make them recall everything first, then do the chant.

Lesson 4 chant  Where is the station?

Chant once.

Next, add movement, getting gestures from the students.

Next, go to karaoke.

Next, create an original version. You can change the places with suggestions from the students and you can also change the directions but you should remain in control of this. "Go straight, go straight" can change to "Go straight, turn left." or "Turn right, go straight."

Lesson 5 chant  Let's go to Italy.

This set of chants is the most confusing set of chants in the whole textbook (personal opinion). The first version simply lists nouns as reasons why Italy is a nice country. Next, the chant introduces the concept of "I want to verb..." The final version changes to "You can verb..."

So, you can choose either to try show the different concepts of these different grammar sets or you can just treat it as an example of saying something without worrying about what it means exactly. Personally, I prefer focusing on one concept for multiple lessons rather that a new one every lesson.

First, chant.

Next add gestures.

Next, go to karaoke.

Next, create original versions. Get new destinations from students and help them add selling points about the country (because students of this age probably don't know too much about other countries, especially reasons why they would want to visit there). You might want to save this till the 2nd or 3rd class of Lesson 5.

Lesson 6  What time do you get up?

So nice gestures for this chant are: looking at your watch; throwing your arms out palms up in the "what?" gesture; waking up, walking/skipping happily to school while holding the straps of your backpack, and going to sleep gestures.

Create original lyrics by asking some students what time they do the three things from the chant (get up, go to school, go to bed) and using those times (written on the blackboard so everyone can remember) in the chant.
Alternatively, or in combination with actual student times, change the action too.
WARNING: Don't try to change all of it at once. Step by step. Also, draw stuff on the board so you can point and all students know what's happening.
NOTE: Timing will be off so you'll be jamming multiple syllables into single beats. It's not pretty but kids love it!

Super complicated: This might not work in every class but change the lyrics so the class asks one student, that student answers then everyone repeats that students' answer. First, you'd have to be the one to take the solo part so the students can see how to do it, then brave/confident students could volunteer to try playing your role. Again, get the times in advance and write them on the board. End with applause.
Everyone: "Hey Name, what time, do you get up?"
Solo: "At actual time."
Everyone: "At repeat actual time. I get up at actual time."


Lesson 7  We are good friends.

To be honest, I'm not a big fan of this chant but there's still fun to be had!

If you have some rowdy students that love to show off in front of the class, get 4 of them to each take a role from the chant - Momotaro, Monkey, Dog, and Bird. Do the chant as a class. Next, with the HRT's help explaining what strong and brave mean, get gestures from the students, as well as gestures for each character to show who they are.
Once the class has the chant down (maybe over several classes), call on the show-off students to come up and in time with the chant, the come "on stage" giving their best character gestures and strong/brave gestures.
As long as you do this in a big class with students who are confident enough being silly in front of everyone, the class will love watching the show-off students perform.

Another option, in line with what I normally do for this lesson, is to create an original chant. The story plot doesn't change too much but the character names and the destination change. Get suggestions from students to change the underlined lyrics.

I am Momotaro, strong and brave.
I am Monkey, strong and brave.
I am Dog, strong and brave.
I am Bird, strong and brave.
We are strong and brave.
We are good friends.
Let's go to Onigashima.
Let's go to Onigashima.
Let's go. Let's go. Let's go!

Lesson 8  What do you want to be?

This is a very simple chant.

What, what, what do you want to be?
A singer. A singer.
I want to be a singer.
I want to be a singer.
Good luck!

Make it a bit more interesting by asking students for suggestions and changing the profession. Make sure to add new gestures for each new profession, again, from students' suggestions.