Teaching is kind of like being a janitor with a key ring that has 50 keys on it. He has to know which key works on which door. It is the same thing with teaching. We have to figure out which key unlocks the hearts and minds of our kids. That is not an easy task even on our best days.
This week I was assisting a substitute teacher in 3rd grade. She was having a rough time when I came in. I watched the chaos for a moment and asked some of the kids who were wandering around the class what they were doing. They said they were waiting for their next assignment.
I asked the teacher if I had her permission to teach these kids who were finished a song. It was basically to give her a break and give them something to do. She said, “OK.” The song is one I learned when I was around 12 years old and I still remember the song and who taught it to me. The song is one where I give them the line and then they have to repeat it back to me verbatim. It gets progressively harder and really challenges their listening capabilities. Here is how it goes:
Flea fly flow
Pamalama camalama camalama veestay
Oh no no no no not the veestay!
Eeenie meanie disaleenie ah ooh ooh maleenie
Acha chacha coomaracha ah ooh ooh
Eeenie meanie disaleenie ah ooh ooh maleenie, acha chacha coomaracha ah ooh ooh.
Ish bibli oaten doaten, bo bo padeeten dotin, why not, and SHHHHHH.
Obviously it is just a silly song, but the kids LOVED it and giggled all through it. There is a tune that goes with it along with some simple hand movements. I came back to the class the next day to be their sub and guess what they wanted me to do with them? The Flea Song! LOL.
Here is what I learned about sharing this song with them:
- Kids engage more readily when they have fun.
- They love to laugh, be silly, and learn at the same time.
- They are not afraid of a challenge.
The substitute teacher I was assisting asked me, “What language is that?” I had to laugh. I told her it is just a fun song that teaches kids phonics and how to really listen!
That “key” did not work on the whole class by the way. Some kids were still off doing their own thing, but now I know that this key works on some of the kids. I still have to find the right key for the other ones.
The good thing for them is I do have a master key for all of them, and that is love.