Rhyme and Rhythm in ELT chant and lesson plan

This is not a review of the iTDi course, but simply sharing the final task we had to complete for the certificate.

I have been wanting to add more song and chant sessions to the in-service teacher training program where I work. So when I came across the iTDi course Rhyme and Rhythm in ELT, I thought it would be a good opportunity to get those creative juices flowing again and hopefully learn a few things I had not thought of yet (and the course delivered just that!). I watched all the videos asynchronously as I signed up well after the live sessions were over. But the folks at iTDi were kind of enough to oblige me. So I used a poem that I shared here previously, and added another verse to it along with a bit more difficult tasks than what I provided on my blog.

Changes and additions:

  • Chant consists of full sentences to provide correct input. This is not necessarily a requirement, but just wanted to try something different.
  • Chant stresses natural speech as opposed to song-like rhythms.
  • More examples of time and more daily activities through 2nd verse.
  • Focus on collocations related to daily activities. This results in language that is a bit more difficult, but also very natural, common utterances.

Extended version:

Please, alarm! Please go away!

I’m notready for another day.

I stretch my arms up over my head.

I don’t really want to get out of bed.

I open my eyes to peak around.

No mother, No father, not even a sound.

I check the time, only seven-oh-three.

Maybe time for a few more Zzzzz.


Now I’m up at seven thirty-two.

Not much time, but I know what to do.

I scarf down some toast at seven thirty-three.

Wish I had some milk, how nice that’d be.

My teeth are brushed by seven thirty-eight.

I’m cutting it close, I hope I’m not late.

I’m out the door at seven forty-one.

Down the street for a record-breaking run.

Into my class at seven fifty-nine.

I take a seat, and everything’s just fine.

Accompanying lesson plan:


  1. Students listen to the chant. Before listening, display these questions for the students to think about while they listen: What part of the day is it? ; What does the person do in the song? ; What times do you hear?
  2. Discuss their answers after listening and before showing the lyrics.


  1. Display or distribute the lyrics to the students to check their answers to the listening focus questions.
  2. Explain any unfamiliar words (peak, scarfdown, whistle).
  3. Read and chant the song with the students.
  4. Chant together as a class. Use gestures that demonstrate the activities in the chant (TPR).
  5. Put students in pairs, Student A and Student B.
  6. Student A chants the first line, and Student B chants the next line.
  7. Partners continue alternating lines as they chant. Encourage them to use gestures to express the actions in the chant.
  8. After doing this once, partners switch roles or even switch partners to try it with someone else.
  9. If there are any brave pairs, have them perform the chant for the class.


Make a list of common daily activities that are collocations. Elicit some from the chant from students and add others as needed.

get up in the morning get out of bed have breakfast have lunch
have dinner go home meet my friends hang with my friends
have a cup of tea do homework watch TV take a shower
take a bath listen to some tunes hit the sack go to bed
take a seat record-breaking run cutting it close
  1. Teacher mimes one of the activities and uses fingers to tell what time he/she does the activity.
  2. Students watch and guess the activity and time.
  3. Students do the same activity in small groups.
  4. To reinforce (or HW or expansion of collocations or just as review in the next class period), provide fill in the blanks of daily activities collocations (similar to Rhyme-in-Time activities). This can be done on the board or on projector screen.
get up in the ______ ______ out of bed ______ breakfast _________ lunch
_______ dinner ______ home ______ my friends _____ with my friends
have a _____ of tea do _________ watch _______ take a ________
take a _______ listen to some

t _ n _ s

hit the ______ ______ to bed
___ _ seat record-breaking ___ cutting __ close


Dictogloss for a descriptive paragraph

I had previously shared a dictogloss format that was geared towards narrative paragraphs. This week, students are writing their own descriptive paragraphs about a place on campus where they like to hangout in their free time. So I thought I would share it here. I set it up to neatly scaffold into students having to reconstruct only parts of the text. It would be pretty challenging to reconstruct the entire text, so I adjusted.

Text (From Write Source) narrative paragraph

Step 1: Listen and write key words Listen for key words This step just aims to give the students their ‘taste’ of the text and of the genre. I read it slow to make it more comprehensible and make it easier for them to notice words.

Step 2: Discuss key words they identified and teach a few words that may be unfamiliar to some students

discuss words In this step, we first discuss words they heard (or think they heard). I make a list on the board and encourage students to make a list in their journals. The discussion is good for shaking out nerves of language class. They also get the chance to learn from each other. Then I introduce a few words that I thought may be unfamiliar to some. I show visual aids when feasible. All that is included in the actual PPT at the bottom.

Step 3: Listen and complete the mind map mind map mind map This is pretty straight forward as well. As it is a descriptive paragraph, I usually try to get the 5 senses involved as the concepts are easy for students to understand and personalize. I reinforce their ideas by restating (not reading) parts of the text. This gives them a bit more input as well.

Step 4: Retell the story to partner(s) retell and reconstructThis step just aims to get the students talking it out and organizing the details. I usually have them do this orally before they start writing. And if it is conducted in pairs or small groups, they are able to work out the organization of the text together rather than on their own.

Step 5: Reconstruct with partner(s) narrative paragraph _ reconstruction prompt As stated above, it is possible to have students reconstruct the entire text on their own, but those are pretty high expectations. So here, it is basically just a fill in the blank, but without the word bank. Students have to use their key word lists, mind maps, and each other to work out the missing details. The numbers represent the number of words that are missing. This is an optional feature of the activity as well.

Step 6: Compare reconstructed version with the original narrative paragraph _ comparing prompt

Here, they just compare their reconstructions with the original text.

Overall, the lesson went quite well. The ‘retelling’ task took a little more coaxing on my part than I would like, but that will probably be the case in many classrooms. Hope this can help in some small way. Have a good week!


Picture recall for vocab

14. 3. 7. - 1

As teachers, we appreciate a low-maintenance, fun yet effective activity that is flexible across topics as well as within the structure of a lesson. This one is a simple picture recall to check, share, and/or teach vocab.

  1. Display picture from book for 10 seconds. Turn it off.
  2. As a class, students try to recall everything they saw in the picture.
  3. Make a list on the board as they call out items.
  4. Display the picture again and have the students match the words to the items in the picture.

Pretty straightforward. I have talked with lots of teachers about this one, which leads to lots of different ideas when it comes to implementing it. A few of these ideas include:

  • If L1 is acceptable in your classroom, allow students to recall items in the picture in L1 if they cannot think of the L2 word. Good teaching opportunity when done this way.
  • Can use it to engage students at the beginning of a unit/chapter. This could be a good way to assess background knowledge of vocab or topic.
  • Can try to write the words based on where students ‘remember’ the items to be in the picture. Then do the matching for words that were written far away from the actual items.
  • Have students write all the words in their word journals even if the words are not specifically identified as key words in the curriculum.

Have fun with it!



Activity to help teachers learn student names

This idea comes from one of the teachers in our training program. It is a pretty low-maintenance but effective activity for building some rapport with your students and showing them you care. Part of our job is showing the love. And I really like her main objective of ‘care’. I am sharing now as some teachers are already planning for next semester. I will re-post at the beginning of next semester as well.

I will hand it over to her from here…

“I’ll share my humble (!) name-memorizing activity I do at the beginning of each year. Once I do this, I always feel that I’m in a better position to bond with students throughout the year.”

Main Objective

Remember every single student’s name within one week, and impress students by showing them I already know their names, and I care about each one of them. It has two stages. Usually I do each stage in a different period.

Stage 1. [Name Bingo]

1. First distribute a usual bingo board.

  •  Students think that they’re going to play a same old bingo game with English words.
  •  I surprise them by saying, “Today, we’re going to play bingo using your own Korean names. I want you to fill out the bingo board with your classmates’ names.”
  •  Students usually find it very refreshing to use Korean to play bingo none other than in English class, and they also ask for help because they don’t know their classmates’ names well.

2. Then teacher swoops in and gives a love-exuding worksheet that has all the  students’ names on.


3. Play “Introducing oneself” Bingo. (Actually, I don’t have a name for this;-D)

Teacher writes this on the blackboard.

  • “My name is OOO. I like/love/ enjoy __________.
  • My favorite ______ is ____________.
  • I’d love to ___________________.
  • I’m going to call _______________.”

I demonstrate how to introduce myself with this format. At the end, I call a student’s name on my bingo board. The student comes up, and he/she introduces himself/herself using the format, and at the end he/she calls another student’s name on bingo board. This is continued until a certain number of students finish the bingo.

For this game, students can introduce themselves to their classmates without feeling too much pressured in the beginning of the semester, and also they can remember each other’s names better.

(Besides, since the key structure of Lesson 1 is usually “I’m going to____”, I can link this to Lesson 1 naturally.)

While playing this game, I also try my BEST to match students’ faces with their names, so that I can do better at the next stage of ‘name-memorizing activity.’

Stage 2. [Teacher gets tested]

  1. This is the main activity. “Name Bingo” is more like an exercise before doing this.
  2. When I enter a classroom at the next time, I tell them, “Everyone, I know all of your names already. Do you want to see? Alright, then I’ll turn around for 20 seconds. During that time, please feel free to change your seats to confuse me. Ready? Start”
  3. After 20 seconds, I turn around. From the first row, I look at a student and call his/her full name. This is continued until I do it to the last student. If I get someone’s name wrong, I apolozise him/her, saying, “I’m sorry. I forgot your name. I’ll make sure to remember your name next time,” and I also give a candy. Usually the student who gets candy likes it better. :-D


Updating the pre-task on this one. The new collaborative brainstorm to help other groups creates more buy in from the students.

This one I just borrowed from a book titled Activity Box. I changed up the flow of the lesson a bit, but the main activity, dictodraw, is pretty common around the world in ESL/EFL classrooms.

I have used this with a variety of students and teachers as well. Teachers tend to like it more than students for some reasons.

This task helps students:

  • collaborate to recreate a picture.
  • practice descriptions of appearances.

Materialspicture prompt examples from Activity Boxpost-task handout

other dictodraw prompts from the internet

Pre-task: Vocab brainstorm lists

  1. Put students in groups of 3-5. Give each group one of the pictures to be used in the dictodraw main task. But this will not be their picture. It will be another groups.
  2. Groups brainstorm words that could be used to describe the person in the picture. These word lists will be used by other groups during the main task.
  3. As groups brainstorm, walk around and offer a few words or phrases to help get them started. Remind them that they are making lists to help other groups later in the class.
  4. If time allows, groups rotate the pictures. This way there will be two lists of words and phrases to help the complete the main task.
  5. Main task: Dictodraw

    1. In their groups, students choose one person as the drawer, and the others are the describers.
    2. Hang one piece of drawing paper on the wall for each group. Give the picture prompts and pre-task word lists to the describers. The drawer is not allowed to look at the picture. Make sure the picture that each group is using in the main task is not a picture they brainstormed in the pre-task.
    3. Describers tell the drawer what the person in the picture prompt looks like. Drawers listen and try to draw the person based on the descriptions they hear.

    Post task: Description recall

    1. On the post-task handout, students list words, phrases, and/or sentences their group used while completing the dictodraw.
    2. This should be done individually at first. Then students compare their lists with their group members from the main task.
    3. Using the list, groups reconstruct 10 complete sentences they used in the main task.

Student stress logs

This activity is pretty straightforward. And it is adaptable to different ages and needs. I typically just hold a brief brainstorm and discussion about stressors in the students’ lives. I just make a list on the board as we talk. I ask a few students to describe how they handle the stressors as well. This helps them when they create their own stress logs.

Materials: Stress logs(Word), Stress logs (pdf)

sample stress log

Then we read through the sample stress log and discuss how their lives compare to the student’s in the log. Then students just make their own stress log for the day or previous day. After writing the logs, they just share in pairs of small groups. 

The activity makes students aware that they all have stress and try to deal with it in their own ways. It is also a good opportunity to learn techniques for dealing with stress. 

Sharing the word and pdf files. The current stress log is aimed a bit more at elementary students, use the Word file to input different stressors more relevant to your students.


Voices from the classroom: another one for teacher trainers

So since I began taking part in the #KELTchat experiences on Facebook and Twitter, I have come across a variety of ideas and resources. I have been thinking on ways to introduce ideas into the training program here. Having them sign up for Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. is one option, but we have  a specific course within the program that focuses on computer skills for language teachers that tackles these things. And some teachers are more receptive to social media than others, and I am basically tasked with showing them lots of activities and finding ways to adapt them for textbooks and, to a lesser extent, into teaching ‘approaches’.

So in the end, I have decided to make use of all the great material that I come across in a workshop-like training session I am temporarily dubbing Voices from the Classroom. Right now, I plan to use the idea on 2 separate sessions out of 20 training sessions per course. I am hoping that through all the great ideas, teachers will get just  little more motivated to be more active in PLNs (and improve the classroom experience for all!). And even if you are not a full-time trainer, do a little in-house training session with co-teachers using one of their own classroom ideas.

I tested it out for the first time using an activity from  Kevin Stein’s blog titled The world’s greatest [a) job vocabulary b) modal verbs c) plural 's' d) spelling] lesson everHe actually had no idea I was going to do this, nor have we ever interacted in anyway whatsoever I am pretty sure. Check out his blog, The Other Things Matter.

The basic flow of the class was:

  1. Read through the steps in the procedure up to the point where students reflect on the ‘point’ of the lesson.
  2. Teachers complete the activity all on their own. I offered no input whatsoever. I wanted teachers to look at the activity from the point of view of teachers as well as students.
  3. After completing the activity, I posed a list of questions to reflect on the activity. I also provided the reflection activity in the final two steps of the procedure as well as the optional extensions after discussing the questions at the bottom of the page.

While they worked through the procedure, I basically just stepped aside and observed. I noted down how each group of 4 teachers tackled this. Lots of overlap with a few differences in how they handled it.

Group 1

photo 2

  • Put two desks together to have more space
  • Organized the whole chart with blank post-its first
  • Wrote on almost half of the post-its before consulting a dictionary
  • Didn’t discuss forms explicitly
  • Roles naturally developed among the group members- no explicit assigning of roles.

Group 2photo 4

  • Put two desks together to have more space.
  • Completed the task column by column. Placed 6 post-its for one column, wrote on the post-its, and then moved on to the next column.
  • Spent more time discussing and thinking about word choice.
  • Not much use of dictionary.
  • Used different colors of ink for each column.
  • Roles naturally developed among the group members- no explicit assigning of roles.

Group 3photo 5

  • Used only one desk.
  • Went column by column as well.
  • After completing 3rd column, had to reorganize to make better use of limited space, but still did not choose to use a 2nd desk.
  • Moved through the task quicker than the other two groups.
  • Used dictionary from the beginning of the task.
  • Heavy discussion about word choice as well as forms (grammar).Roles naturally developed among the group members- no explicit assigning of roles.
  • Lots of laughter discussing and re-thinking who would be good for certain jobs.

Questions that I used to reflect on the activity are listed below with some of their answers. Pay special attention to the questions about feelings towards the class before doing the task and after doing the task.

How did you feel about the task before starting?

  • Felt like it would be a waste of paper.
  • Thought it would be too confusing- too many job cards.
  • We plan to use post-its in our practicum, so… (trailed off do to interruptions, but point was that she was interested in how effective/engaging it would be)
  • Felt like the name was a bit too ‘arrogant’, so I had sort of a negative attitude about it.

How did you interact with each other? (roles, problem-solving, decision-making, conversations)

  • Discussed word choices.
  • Everyone just sort of took a job.
  • Funny talking about who would be good for what job just between our group members after finishing  (They did this on their own- not part of the original procedure).

What kind of difficulties did you have as students?

  • Insufficient vocabulary, but that is something we would have prepare students for.
  • Lots of structures to work with- daunting.
  • Too many job cards.

What kind of difficulties did you have as teachers?

  • Insufficient vocabulary (L1 is Korean).
  • Classroom management might be tough. (Have never seen a classroom task where this is not mentioned by at least one teacher.)

How did you feel about the task afterwards?

  • Felt much better about it after doing it than I did before doing.
  • Felt like I accomplished something because I could look at our neat post-it chart.
  • I really want to do this in my classroom.
  • There is a unit in the Middle School book called I have a dream that this would be great for.

What would you change about it for your classroom?

  • Use different shapes of post-its for each column.
  • Use different colors of post-its for each column.
  • Decrease the number of columns.
  • Use it as a review at the end of a unit.
  • Not use the least interesting jobs because feelings could be hurt when recommending people for jobs.
  • Use less job cards.

How would you follow-up this activity?

This was quite interesting because they had very similar ideas to those listed in the blog. After discussing the following ideas, I gave them the optional extensions listed in the blog.

  • Conduct job interviews.
  • Write letters of recommendation.
  • Write emails.
  • Select one job and related cards and take them home to write sentences for homework.

To sum it all up, the class was pretty solid from start to finish. I could see the teachers slowly working through their own beliefs about the activity and how to use it in their classroom, as well as getting a chance to flex their vocabulary muscle. I think the fact that I made the teachers responsible for working out all the kinks on their own helped them find ways to tweak small things for their own classrooms and work through language problems their students might have.

By the end of the class, everyone was all smiles and loving the activity. Next spring, there may be a few secondary classrooms around Seoul utilizing this! A big thanks to Kevin Stein for his forced involvement. Did I mention, check out his blog, The Other Things Matter.

 Teachers congregating and giggling about job recommendations. 

photo 1