One of my favorite ways to start a new English class for young learners (ESL, EFL) is to sing Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes. The song is fun, simple, and active. After this song, the class can sit down and settle down for a fun class.
Recommended Ages: 3-7 Years old Target Vocabulary: Body Parts
I recently started studying French again. I used to be able to speak a bit of French, and I decided to pick it up again. The biggest thing I am struggling with is numbers. I am not sure why, but it made me realize again how important it is to teach numbers well in Children’s English classes (ESL, EFL).
Update: Listen to this Blog as a Podcast Episode:
Top 5 Ideas for Teaching Numbers to Children
Use flashcards to teach numbers. If the students are young teach 1-10. Count with your fingers, count objects, and use flash cards. Students from age 4 can start with numbers up to 100 and more. We count to 10,000 in my classes. First count 1-20, then by 10s to 100, then 1,000 then 10,000. Give it a try!
Ask the students their age: It is important for students to remember numbers individually, not just by counting up. Ask, “How old are you?” to your students. They can answer, “I’m five years old.” or more simply “I’m five.” Of course with their correct age.
Numbers Dice Game: I have a large dice with numbers 1-6. First, I show the students the numbers on the dice, and then ask them to roll the dice. They have to say the number that lands on top in English. Fun and simple!
Numbers Quiz: Show random number flashcards to your students and ask them “What number?” I sometimes show them really fast to add a challenge. You can also bring a group of students up to the front of the class and quiz them. I often combine this with asking them, “What’s your name?” after they answer I show a number flashcard and say, “What number?” It keeps the kids active and having fun
These are just some of my ideas for teaching numbers in your children’s English class. I hope they are helpful. Happy teaching!
The Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes song is a basic song I use a lot when teaching children English (ESL, EFL). It is simple, active, and teaches useful vocabulary.
How to Teach
I start with the students by touching my head and saying, “head.” To add a little fun you can then shake your head with your hands and say, “wiggle, wiggle” kids love this. Repeat the same for all body parts: head, shoulders, knees, toes, eyes, ears, mouth, and nose.
If you know the song, sing it once a cappella (without background music) then press play on the CD or video and sing with your students!
Free Head, Shoulders MP3 Download
You can download a free MP3 of the Head, Shoulders song, and watch a video with the actions by clicking here. Make this song a regular in your classes!
The Hot Cold Song is a fun song to teach young English learners (ESL, EFL) about opposites. Watch the video and see below for how to teach.
How to Teach:
I teach this song by first doing the actions of feeling hot, and feeling cold. You can watch how I do it in the video, or make up your own gestures.
Next, I show pictures of hot things like the sun, soup and say, “hot sun, hot soup” Then, I show pictures of cold things like ice cubes and snow and teach that they are cold. Flashcards work well for this.
Next, I teach the vocabulary of the song.
Hot Cold Song Lyrics:
Hot, hot, hot, hot (repeat)
cold, cold, cold (repeat)
The soup is hot.
hot, hot, hot
The sun is hot.
hot, hot, hot
The ice is cold.
cold, cold, cold
The snow is cold.
cold, cold, cold
hot, hot, hot,
hot, hot, hot
cold, cold, cold
cold, cold, cold
Is it hot or cold?
After the song quiz the students by holding up flashcards of hot and cold things and ask them, “Is it hot or cold?”
Happy New Year! I hope you had a great holiday, and that you are ready to get started with the New Year! This week I will be doing the New Year’s Chant song and review in all my classes. Check it out here:
You can download the chant to use the song in your classes. Click here to get a free download MP3 of the Happy New Year Chant!
Vocabulary: Introduce Halloween vocabulary using flashcards, bat, ghost, witch, black, cat, pumpkin, etc.
Circle Time: Have students hold hands and make a circle. Sit down, and pass a flashcard around the circle with every student getting the chance to say it. For example, bat, pumpkin.
Activity time: Walk around the circle and pretend with the students to be the Halloween characters. Fly like a bat and witch, hop like a black cat. etc.
Quiz Time: See how many Halloween characters the students can remember. Help the students if they can not remember. It is a beginners class. so do not push the students too hard to talk if they are not ready.
When I started Dream English there were not many songs available that were great for teaching young learners English (ESL, EFL). Now there are hundreds! I thought it would be helpful to talk about the songs I use most teaching children ages 3-8 English.
Top 10 Dream English Songs for Teaching Children English
Hello Song – A great song to start the class. Say hello, make a circle, and walk this way! Watch video here!
What’s Your Name? – Asking students, “What’s your name?” is something that I do in every class! It’s simple interaction, and kids always enjoy saying their names. Watch video here!
Let’s Count 1 to 10 – A favorite numbers and actions song. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, jump! Watch video here!
Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes – This traditional song is perfect for teaching body parts. The speed up part makes it super fun for students! Watch video here!
ABC Rock Song – A bit of a twist on the ABC song with a fun A to Z chant in the middle. Watch video here!
Colors Action Song – Let’s sing colors, and do actions with each color. A great movement and color song! Watch video here!
Weather Song – The sun comes up, up, up! Another fun action song, teaches weather and some prepositions. Watch video here!
Days of the Week Song – Monday, Tuesday, la, la, la! Be sure to do all of the actions in this pop song about the Days of the Week! Watch video here!
What Can you do? Action Song – Jump, I can jump! Let’s do some fun actions while we sing along to this simple song! Watch video here!
Shapes Song – A circle, a triangle, a square, a heart. I’ve always liked the simplicity of this song, and the actions that go along make it a great motor skills song. Watch video here!
Wake Up Song / Daily Routines – One of the first, and still most popular Dream English songs. Let’s wake up, brush our teeth, and more in this fun daily routines song. Watch video here!
Goodbye Song – Another early Dream English song, that is still a favorite. Let’s clap our hands, spin around, do more actions and say Goodbye to the class! Watch video here!
So that is the list of the songs I use most to teach English. Some of these I wrote years ago, and some more recent. Check out the videos for all of the songs , and you can find most of these songs on our Free Download Page, or on Spotify and iTunes. Happy Singing!
For many teachers of English to children (ESL, EFL), the summer is a break from teaching. Of course many teachers teach all year long, but for those of us who do have a break starting again can be a jolt to the system. A fun jolt, like a strong espresso in the morning, but it still takes some adjusting. Here are my top tips for getting things going in a great way!
5 Tips for Starting Teaching after a Break
Go slow! If you have had a break, chances are your students have too. Do not rush the first lesson. Take things slowly, and have a fun review day with songs and games.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Even I forget the words to my own songs sometimes after a long break. Give yourself sometime to readjust to teaching. Laugh along with the students if any mistakes are made.
Have Fun! Let’s not forget that teaching is fun! Take the first few lessons to establish the fun you can have in a classroom.
Remember why you teach. We all teach for different reasons, but I believe that at the foundation of teaching is the want to help others. We want to help our students learn English. That idea is a great motivator!
Try new things. It is great to try a few new things when classes start again. It could be a new song, a new game, or a new book. Do something fresh and exciting for you and your students.