Rap up Your Classroom
Kara Aharon, Israel
Kara Aharon, is a professional musician and a native English speaker. She specializes in informal English enrichment based on songs, games, drama and other activities. Under the title "English is Fun", www.englishfun.net, she has published 5 CDs of original songs for EFL teaching as well as 3 books of creative ideas for the classroom.
Using rap to read
Rhythm is contagious. Setting your lessons to a catchy rhythm improves pronunciation, makes language chunks easier to remember and most important, kids love it!
Chanting and reading in rhythm are also excellent ways to keep everyone involved in a large classroom. Everyone can speak at once but words can still be heard clearly, shy children can easily participate and everyone can hear their own mistakes.
Here are some examples of the many ways rhythm can be used in class. The possibilities are endless so the key is creativity, and students should be encouraged to add lines of their own. Exercises can and should be adapted for the grade level and content you're teaching in that lesson.
For the rhythm you can tap two pencils together, snap or have children tap their knees. If you have any available, use pre-recorded rhythms, rhythm instruments or students who can do "beat-box".
If possible and practical, sit in a circle. Each person says in turn:
My name is _____ and I _____ .
Some ideas for completing the sentence:
- An item that begins with the letter of each person's name (I like ______).
- Hobbies (I like to ______).
- Something about themselves (I have green eyes, I have a dog, I am wearing red, etc.)
- Something they want to do (I want to _______).
Write the following pattern or a similar pattern on the board:
Read with the class in rhythm, first horizontally, then vertically. Point to each word as you read it.
Write the first sentence on the board. Let students write additional sentences using the same structure or by filling in missing words.
I can read English.
I can learn English.
I can write English.
I can speak English.
I am a student.
You ___ a student.
I have been listening.
He has been listening.
This is also a wonderful opportunity to allow children to talk about themselves. Think of specific questions that relate to events in their lives.
Teacher: What do you like to do?
(student) - I like to _______.
Teacher: (Student) likes to ________.
Everyone: (Student) likes to ________.
What is on your desk? What will you do/be when you grow up?
Teacher: Where did you go yesterday?
(student) - I went to ________ yesterday.
Teacher: (Student) went to _________ yesterday.
Everyone: (Student) went to _________ yesterday.
Teacher: Who has a dog?
(any student who has one): I have a dog.
Teacher: (Student) has a dog.
Everyone: (Student) has a dog.
Where do you play football? Where do you want to be right now?
When did you wake up today? When will you do your homework? When do you go to ….?
Why do we eat?
How old are you?
Which way is east?
In general, I recommend reciting each rap once or twice for students to hear it correctly, reciting along with them a few times and finally letting them continue by themselves. With beginning readers, continue pointing to words on the board to encourage them to actually read the words and connect the sounds to the letters.
Once they have mastered a few sentences, invite students to come up and perform for the rest of the class. Suggest that they add movements or even props. Let your students become "rappers" and see how the whole class becomes involved in the lesson.
Please check the Creative Methodology for the Classroom course at Pilgrims website.
Please check the Methodology for Teaching English Spoken Grammar course at Pilgrims website.
Please check the Methodology & Language for Kindergarten Teachers course at Pilgrims website.
Please check the Methodology & Language for Primary Teachers course at Pilgrims website.
Please check the Methodology & Language for Secondary Teachers course at Pilgrims website.