|WHAT ARE CHANTS?|
Chants are rhythmic poems you can recite with students to teach unit concepts and reinforce key vocabulary.
|HOW DO YOU WRITE A CHANT TO CORRESPOND TO AN OPEN COURT STORY OR UNIT?|
Decide on key concepts you want to teach for a particular unit. For example, for the first grade folktale unit I decided to teach elements of folktales and genre vocabulary such as heroes and villains. For the melody, choose a simple rhythm like a football cheer, a call and response military cadence, or a popular song.
|HOW DO YOU TEACH A CHANT?|
The chant needs to be posted on chart paper and on the wall for the duration of your unit. When you are reading the chant bring the students up to the chart with you to raise the level of engagement and get oxygen flowing to their brains. I teach the chants in 5-10 minute increments as sponge activities or transitions. After teaching the rhythm or melody and going over it a few times on different days, ask students to identify interesting vocabulary that they may not understand. Students will likely choose the key vocabulary you cleverly planted in the chant but may also choose some words that surprise you particulary when you are working with English Language Learners who may not understand some simple words that you take for granted. Examine the difficult vocabulary that students choose by discussing and defining in the context of the chant and your current unit. Whenever possible have pictures available and you can glue these onto the chant (examples of pictures used with chants are included on the first grade games unit page).
|WHY IS THIS EFFECTIVE?|
Chanting provides an additional level of engagement for high achieving students as well as scaffolding difficult vocabulary for English Language Learners and struggling readers. Chanting appeals to different learning modalities and helps students internalize difficult vocabulary which can later show up in their own writing.
|WHERE CAN I FIND CHANTS?|
Chants are available for many, though not all, stories on http://www.opencourtresources.com and can be found on the appropriate grade level/unit pages.
Â© 2006 by Mathew Needleman, Open Court Resources.com