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Reliving a favourite conference session. Did I like it? Yes, I did!

When I was a child, I liked cucumber. But, for whatever reason, as I grew older, I just didn’t much care for it any more. Maybe I was bored with it? I don’t know. Many moons later when I met my husband, who is Polish, he told me about one of his favourite foods, cucumber salad. He sold it so convincingly that I asked him to make it for me immediately. Not only did I fall in love with cucumber all over again, it became a staple in my diet and become one of my favourite all time foods.

A similar thing happened to me with Jazz chants. As a child, the Sesame Street  jazz chant, Pinball number count, was so ingrained in my mind and so loved that I sang it continuously and still remember waiting anxiously and being terribly excited each time it was part of the show. Again, many moons later as a TEFL teacher, me and the ol’ jazz chants had drifted apart and I never once glanced through Carolyn Graham’s  Jazz Chants book on our staff library shelf and often skipped any chants in coursebooks. Songs, yes. No problem. Chants? Meh!

Then I saw Jane Harding da Rosa give her Don’t Drawl the Drill session and the IH YL Conference in Mataro and it changed my life forever. Thanks to her presentation and personal twist, I reacquainted myself with a long lost love and have never looked back. So much so, that after reliving the (conference) moment of realisation while reading her blog, I decided to write this entry in her honor. Thanks Jane!

I thought I’d share a couple of examples.

Jane’s ‘It’s a…’  chant becomes ‘Were there? Was There?’

Problem. An all girls class of 10 yr olds, who are normally quite strong, understood the grammar but kept doing a switcheroo when speaking. Answer. A chant of course. Two groups (A and B)

First we played Kim’s Game with some ‘library’ vocab from the previous lesson to set the context.

A. Was there a dictionary?

B. A what?

A. A Dictionary!

B. Was there a dictionary?

A. Yes! Was there a dictionary?

B. Oh, a dictionary. Yes, there was.

A. Were there any magazines….etc etc

The girls decided that ‘B’ must stand for ‘boys’ as they are ‘stupid’ and had a great time pretending to be ‘stupid boys’. They giggled, they had fun, they wanted to continue after the lesson had finished. They got it right. They continue to get it right. And they know it. They still remember the lesson. Win win all round I’d say.

Doing it ‘Jane’  style in my free time

I recently went on holiday to Germany to visit a friend. Her partner’s 10 yr old son is learning English at school. He was, ever so sweetly, excited to meet a ‘native speaker of English’ for the first time and had  looked up some words and phrases on google translate so that he could talk to me. He was great for a 10 yr old with only 1 year of English behind him, but with limited classroom time there was only so much that could be said and my heart sank when I could see this realisation in his eyes.

He had told me, when discussing his hobbies,  he loved singing, so I decided to bring Jane and her jazz chants to Hildesheim. I got him to make a list of his favourite English words, then together we created a vocabulary jazz chant complete with jazz hands (of course) before he made a few of his own. I didn’t feel like a teacher. I felt like a person on holiday having a lovely time with a friend’s step son. Thanks again Jane (and Carolyn) and Jazz chants! Woop!

Jazz chanting up a story routine.

So this is a newbie and too fresh to report on its successfulness. We’ll see. I teach in a Preschool and so often use song and chanting as well as routines. I’ve always had a special corner in the classroom storytime but feel I need something else. So here it is….

It’s time for a story (open hands like a book)

1,2,3 (count on fingers)

It’s time for a story (open hands like a book)

Stand up please (motion to stand up)

It’s time for a story (open hands like a book)

Come with me (motion to follow to the story corner)

It’s time for a story (open hands like a book)

Sit down please (motion to sit down)

It’s time for a story (open hands like a book)

Quiet please (finger to mouth)

It’s time for a story (quietly – open hands like a book)

Shhh shhh (finger to mouth)

Story time (whispered – then start the story)

I could go on all day (or night as it happens to be right now) about jazz chants and how much I love them, this is just a snippet. My advice to those who are new? Give it a go, but donlt be afraid. If they can see you love it. They will follow.

Big thanks again to one of my gurus Jane Harding da Rosa. Hope you don’t mind me dedicating this blog post to you.

Until next time…

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About klokanomil

YL Advisor & IH CYLT Coordinator for IHWO. Teacher, teacher trainer, training mentor, writer, presenter, student, mum of crazy twin toddlers (affectionately known as 'the sausages') and coffee addict.

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