YouTube we use
YouTube service is such a big, interesting, funny and colorful bag of music videos that it’s a pity not to take advantage of it in foreign language lessons. From Kamil Bolek’s presentation on Campus Warsaw Seminar this year, I’ve learnt that a sixteen years’ worth of transmission is uploaded to this service every day. YouTube is the most popular medium, even more popular that Facebook, so it enables a teacher to be closer to their students. Offering a wide choice of songs, it is an important tool to cater for learners’ needs and interests. Videos affect learners’ sight and sense of hearing, as well as activate the whole body. They are an alternative to course materials and a good way to make students interested and engaged in activities. With my pupils, I use it in two basic ways. First of all, I employ songs to practice and enrich children’s vocabulary. At the beginning of the school year, I match songs with course topics. They are usually introduced as just one of the activities, supplementing a lesson, but sometimes a music video is a jumpingoff point for planning a lesson. Here I present two classes that I gave to my pupils at Primary School no. 162 in Kraków.
I prepared the first one on the basis of a song titled “The Skeleton Dance” which was launched by Super Simple Songs service. This video clip matches with topics like body or Halloween. The skeleton presents some bones, directions (left, right) and encourages viewers to dance. I found the picture of a skeleton in clipart objects in Microsoft Word. I wanted to have a large-sized skeleton (this one was 104 cm tall), therefore I printed it in pieces using Adobe Reader. Next, some margins were cut off and main pieces were stuck together. Subsequently, the skeleton was divided into parts.
At the beginning of the lesson, I asked my second graders to revise the parts of the body which they knew and to move them. Next, they watched an excerpt from the video “The Skeleton Dance” (0:18-0:46 min) on the interactive whiteboard and were to memorise names of the bones. Subsequently, some children received bones which they were sticking onto a large piece of paper, starting from the bottom. When the skeleton was ready, other children would stick the bones’ names on paper and match them to the appropriate bones using colour-tip pens.
The second lesson plan was written on the basis of the song “ABC Alphabet Songs Collection Vol. 1” (Busy Beavers). These classes were given to third graders in my school. At the beginning, pupils watched the first excerpt from the clip (0:10-0:35 min) on the interactive whiteboard and while watching the second one (0:36-1:00 min.), they tried to join in singing. Next, they saw the English alphabet on a poster and searched for similarities and differences between Polish and English alphabets. After that, they sat in a circle on the carpet and everyone got a card with one letter of the English alphabet (some had two letters). As I was saying the letters in order, they were to stand up with their card.
Subsequently, they watched another excerpt from the clip (7:03-10:01 min), where not only letters but also phonemes and word examples were presented. While watching, children tried to remember words and joined in singing. After watching, they provided words that started with consecutive letters of the alphabet.
As a conclusion, everyone wrote an assigned letter on a piece of paper (capital and small letters), drew an example of a word and stuck it to the poster.
Additionally, I use videos to stir or settle pupils. When my students are sleepy, I want to activate them so they watch lively action songs and are asked to move and even dance. Moreover, I use them when students wiggle and I feel that they need to move. My favourite ones are these by Patty Shukla. Peaceful videos are presented if I want calm them down, also after listening to energizing songs or doing other stimulating activities. Sometimes students only listen sitting on their chairs or lying on the carpet with their eyes closed. Some examples include “Little Snowflake”, “Sweet Dreams (Goodnight Song)”, and “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”.