Author: Deb Avery | Published on 2 February 2023 


Read what a teacher says about this activity:

I often use chants, rhymes and songs in my language lessons. Saying a chant helps my learners use English confidently. Rhyme and rhythm also help the learners to remember new vocabulary. I also use chants to teach parts of speech. In this activity, I can teach the learners about verbs, tense and sentence construction.

Stage 1: Introduce

Write an example chant on the board or on a large piece of paper. With younger or weaker learners use a familiar rhyme in the local language: 

When I was one, I made so much noise.

When I was three, I played with my toys.

When I was five, I counted to ten.

When I was nine, I got a new pen.

And now that I’m ten, I can read this rhyme!

Read the chant to the class.

Ask: “Can you remember what you did when you were one?” Allow one or two learners to respond (e.g. no they can’t remember!). Repeat with the other ages.

Stage 2: Model

Say: “Read the first line with me.”

When you say ‘made’, show a flashcard which has the word ‘made’ written on it. 

Say: “Read the flashcard with me.”

Ask one learner to match the flashcard to the correct place on the board.

Stage 3: Play

Ask: “Who wants to come and help me?’” Invite five learners to the front of the class. 

Give each learner a flashcard with a verb from the chant.

  • played
  • counted
  • got
  • learned
  • was

Say: “Hold your flashcard so the class can see.”  

Read each flashcard and encourage the class to repeat it in chorus

Say to the five pupils: “Hold up your flashcard when you hear it in the chant.” 

Read each line of the chant. Encourage the class to read with you if they can. You should pause for one of the five pupils to show their flashcard. They should also point to the correct word on the board. 

Ask the class: “Is your friend right? Do the words match?”

Stage 4: Discuss

Read the five flashcards with the class.

Elicit / teach the class that these words are verbs, i.e. things which people do. 

Point to each line and ask: “Can you show me an action for this line?”

Say: Let’s say the chant and do the actions.”

Stage 5: Extend

Ask: Do you know any other verbs?

Make a list of new verbs on the board. Ask the learners to do actions for the verbs.

You can use this method to teach any chant or song. Vary the language you want to teach, e.g. make flashcards with nouns, adjectives, etc. This can even be done with older learners, using the words of popular songs and complex language concepts. 


Chants: tunes

Songs: tracks

Rhyme: cadence

Rhythm: tempo

Chorus: choir