Sunday, December 18, 2016

Addressing Low Proficient Learners – 7

1. Generating Parodies of Popular Songs 

Teachers who browse the internet in search of TLM may be familiar with the awesome repertoire of video songs that can usher small children to the world of English language. Schools and homes do use them but in most cases they are used as stuff suitable for children to memorize and sing, or sometimes to perform action songs. Any effort taken to entertain and engage children is appreciable. Nevertheless, it is worth exploring how these materials can be used in the constructivist classroom for facilitating language acquisition.
I would like to flesh out the point I am trying to make with the help of the popular video song, ‘Five little babies …’ ( 

The first stanza of this song is as follows:
Five little babies jumping on the bed
One fell down and bumped his head.
Mama called the doctor and doctor said
No more babies jumping on the bed.

The stanzas that follow have the same pattern of lines but in each the word ‘five’ is replaced with other numerals in the descending order starting from ‘five’ and ending with ‘one’and on two occasions the word 'Mama' is replaced with 'Papa.' The last line of the last stanza also is different. The song has much potential to be used in the language class for different levels of learners in multiple ways and for multiple purposes. Let us begin with a sequence of modules meant for introducing the first stanza of the song and generating the remaining stanzas in stages classes 1 to 4. 

Module 1: Introducing the Song

In a conventional manner we can allow the learners to watch the video and sing the song along with the audio track. By virtue of repetitions we can make them sing the song independently as well. However, such memory dependent activities will be at variance with the norms of the paradigm we are working in. Instead, we will take recourse to a different set of protocols that can facilitate the language sense of the learners; these will also help them to sing the song meaningfully and read the transcript of the song. There are four lines in the first stanza and each of these is to be elicited from the children through interaction. For doing this we need a set of pictures that capture the events included in the song.

Picture interaction

  • ·         Display Picture 1 as mounted on a chart at the top leaving enough space for writing at the bottom.
  • ·         Initiate interaction as suggested in the following lines:

Picture 1

What do you see in the picture?

  • Elicit and write the following words on the chart.

five babies
five little babies
five little babies on the bed                      
What are the five little babies doing?

  • ·         Elicit a few responses at random
  • ·         Now play back the first part of the video ending with the last line of the stanza. Continue interaction.

What are the babies doing?
  • ·         Elicit and write the following.

Jumping on the bed
Five little babies jumping on the bed
  • ·         Display picture 2 and continue interaction.

Picture 2

What happened to one baby?
Fell down
One fell down
What happened then?
  • ·         Elicit and write the following:

Bumped his head
One fell down and bumped his head
One fell down and bumped his head

  • ·         Display Picture 3.

Picture 3

  • ·         Continue interaction

Who do you see in Picture 3?
What do you see in Mama’s hand?
What is Mama doing?
Who is she calling?
One of the babies fell down. What did the mother do?

  • ·         Elicit and write the following on the chart.

Mama and the baby
Mobile phone
Mama called the doctor.
  • ·         Display Picture 4 and continue interaction.

Picture 4

Who do you see in the picture?
What is the doctor doing?
Who is he talking to?
  •  Elicit and write the following:     

The doctor is talking over the phone.
He is talking to Mama.
  • Continue interaction.

Mama called the doctor. What did the doctor say?
  • ·         Elicit and write the following:

          Mama called the doctor
          And the doctor said
          ‘No more babies jumping on the bed.’

Module 2: Singing and Reading

  •  Play back the first part of the video once again.
  •  Let children sing along with the video.
  •  Display chart containing Chart 1.
  •  Ask small groups to come forward and read the words, phrases and sentences written in the chart.
  • Later they can copy the four lines in their notebook.

(To be continued)

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