Read 472 times

grade 1, zero tech allowed
« on: April 30, 2021, 09:43:30 am »
I'm looking for some advice on a grade 1 elementary class I have at one of my travel schools.

The home room teacher does not allow technology in the room. She doesn't have a computer or screen to use. She does not want me teaching the students ABCs or phonics; she only wants me to sing songs the entire time. I can't sing...and I wasn't hired to either. I always end up losing my voice for my last two classes of the day after this class. I've told her I'll bring my own speaker so I can have some music (I am really really not a singer) but she told me no.

The students also hate it; they get so incredibly bored and I don't blame them! The teacher wants me to sing old nursery rhymes. She had me sing Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes 12 times in one class. It was awful. I've tried bringing in my own things for the kids to do, but she's not having it. I finally got her to allow me to bring in a few story books.

I can't have the students use their desks. She has them sit in a half-circle around me. She doesn't want them really getting up from their spots unless it's to do a dance (think, This is the Way We Wash Our Clothes, with us just miming the motions). She doesn't like when the students get wild, even though they are young and it's bound to happen. I know this, and always tell her it's okay when they get a bit rowdy or come up and get close to me. She's not having it though.

I've just run out of ideas of what to do with the students. This is my first time teaching--I was a nanny for 6 years though so I know how to have fun with kids if I'm allowed. This teacher is incredibly intimidating though, and I'm not good with confrontation. I guess I'm looking for any type of advice on what I should do, or ideas for things I can do with the students.


  • Nickkorean
  • Adventurer

    • 62

    • November 27, 2011, 06:44:56 pm
    • Changwon
Re: grade 1, zero tech allowed
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2021, 10:08:43 am »
This whole situation sounds very unfair and also very unprofessional from the teacher. It's a tough call but I would consider making a complaint if you felt comfortable. I had a similar situation some years ago in a one day a week school. I actually took the teacher to the principal to make a direct compliant and I was shocked how people took my side over hers and  the following year I never had to teach with that teacher again.  Do what's best for you and the students, not whats just the easy of favorite option of the homeroom teacher.


  • Kyndo
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 2065

    • March 03, 2011, 09:45:24 am
    • Gyeongsangbuk-do
Re: grade 1, zero tech allowed
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2021, 10:51:12 am »
This sounds like an incredibly frustrating experience, and I'm truly sorry you're caught in it.

If you're looking for some ideas that would fit within the framework allowed by your co, try:

- The ABC song, with each kid saying the next letter individually, while popping up and forming the letter with their arms/body/legs

- The colour song. Scatter coloured squares of construction paper in the semi circle, and have each kid run in and touch the appropriate colour during their turn. Gradually increase song speed.

- There are a myriad of songs with great actions to accompany them. If you need more material, I'd recommend checking out the following Youtube channels:
   Super Simple Songs
   ABC Kids
   Pink Fong
   CocoMelon


Re: grade 1, zero tech allowed
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2021, 11:42:57 am »
This whole situation sounds very unfair and also very unprofessional from the teacher. It's a tough call but I would consider making a complaint if you felt comfortable. I had a similar situation some years ago in a one day a week school. I actually took the teacher to the principal to make a direct compliant and I was shocked how people took my side over hers and  the following year I never had to teach with that teacher again.  Do what's best for you and the students, not whats just the easy of favorite option of the homeroom teacher.

Thank you for this advice! I am going to try talking to her again one more time, then I think I will take it higher up. The class causes me so much stress it makes me feel sick sometimes, when I normally love this age group. It encourages me to know you had a similar situation and that it worked out in the end.


Re: grade 1, zero tech allowed
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2021, 11:44:18 am »
This sounds like an incredibly frustrating experience, and I'm truly sorry you're caught in it.

If you're looking for some ideas that would fit within the framework allowed by your co, try:

- The ABC song, with each kid saying the next letter individually, while popping up and forming the letter with their arms/body/legs

- The colour song. Scatter coloured squares of construction paper in the semi circle, and have each kid run in and touch the appropriate colour during their turn. Gradually increase song speed.

- There are a myriad of songs with great actions to accompany them. If you need more material, I'd recommend checking out the following Youtube channels:
   Super Simple Songs
   ABC Kids
   Pink Fong
   CocoMelon

Thank you! If I can't get things to change, I'll be trying these. I've used the Pink Fong Alphabet action song, just by singing it myself and showing them the poses. It seemed to work out okay so maybe we will do more of those!


Re: grade 1, zero tech allowed
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2021, 12:11:04 pm »
Sorry to hear about your situation.  Not fun for anyone!

The only suggestion (for songs) would be to use 'Genki English' which have some good songs eg 'What's your name?' song.  There are also some videos on youtube showing how he teaches.  But with your experience as a nanny I am sure you have good ideas - just not the freedom to use them.

Another song I like is the 'fish hello song' (tune is Old MacDonald had a farm) [words - "hello, how are you today.  Hello, how are you.  I'm hungry, thirsty,  hot and cold, I'm happy, I'm angry)  I have a poster/flashcards that I made by screen capturing from the song) (I was going to attach it but it is on the USB at home)

A couple of other songs you could try (if you haven't already) - Bingo, My hat it has 3 corners where you delete a word/letter for each verse.

Have some flashcards for other songs and give one (or two) to each student.  They have to hold it up and say their word loudly as everyone is singing.

Of course, I am assuming the homeroom teacher is present in the room.  I am also expecting that she is translating the words for the students so they are not just making meaningless noise - but can understand what they are singing!  If she isn't then that can make things easier or harder! - but definitely different.

Even if you were a singer - it would be  hard to sing for 40 minutes without a break - and that is for experienced singers. 

You do need some audio!  Maybe not for every song (variety is nice).

I would just bring (cd player, laptop with speaker etc)  and say that you need it.  If she complains then definitely go to someone (co-teacher, principal, office of education if necessary (especially if no-one else speaks English). 

This was just going to be short but got longer and longer
Good luck


  • gotngoidea
  • Veteran

    • 115

    • August 28, 2012, 09:15:55 am
    • South Korea
Re: grade 1, zero tech allowed
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2021, 12:11:14 pm »
I've taught 1st and 2nd grade before.
A very time consuming game you could play using print outs of the ABCs http://www.kizclub.com/activities/alphabetstep(C).pdf http://www.kizclub.com/activities/alphabetstep(C)-1.pdf
Put them on the floor in order and get the students to see how fast they can sing the ABC song while hopping on the letters.

Other print outs http://www.kizclub.com/activities.htm


Re: grade 1, zero tech allowed
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2021, 08:11:38 am »
Hello
I've more time to think about it (and now have my usb with me)

I sort of changed my mind on what I wrote previously.  It is possible but not singing all the time. 


I really like having a routine especially a starting and finishing song.

I would have a standard 'hello song' that you use. (If you don't already have one)
This is the 'Hello, How are you?' fish song from youtube (I just put in 'hello how are you fish youtube' and the following link came up)
https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=hello+how+are+you+fish+youtube&cvid=13e1bb16c72c4bd5b87f9e9817b05bae&aqs=edge.0.69i59.4270j0j1&pglt=43&PC=NMTS&ru=%2fsearch%3fq%3dhello%2bhow%2bare%2byou%2bfish%2byoutube%26cvid%3d13e1bb16c72c4bd5b87f9e9817b05bae%26aqs%3dedge.0.69i59.4270j0j1%26pglt%3d43%26FORM%3dANNTA1%26PC%3dNMTS&view=detail&mmscn=vwrc&mid=8DAFD8C3E01F6B85A6838DAFD8C3E01F6B85A683&FORM=WRVORC

After learning the song you could have the flashcards around the room.  Individually ask each student (or have the class ask the student) '(name), How are you?'
The  named student can go to the flashcard (while the class counts down from 3(or 5 seconds) ie, 3, 2, 1) and then answer 'I'm fine/sad/happy/...'
attached is my file of flashcards (screen saved and slightly changed to add some more answers.   In a later session you can add the 3 extra cards)


Make use of flashcards
eg for the Head, Shoulders, knees and toes song -have the flashcards on the board for the different body parts.
Sing the song in order (that they know really well) and then 'Let's make a new song!' and change the order. 
Get the students to suggest the order. 
You could also introduce some new body parts (maybe one or two different body parts each week).  This could become a 'warm up' song.

As you don't sing, chants are a good alternative - and also add variety.

From this song (which they know) you could introduce 'My head hurts. My shoulders hurt.  My knees hurt. My toes hurt.  My ears/eyes/mouth/nose hurt(s).' and then make use of chants. 
You could introduce
                'What's wrong?  What's wrong?', the doctor says. (repeat)
actions  - knee pat, clap    knee pat, clap   raise one hand, raise other hand (forming a 'w' shape with arms)

3, 2, 1  (counting down with fingers)

My head hurts (with action)
My ... hurts (with appropriate actions)

You can then play a guessing game where you secretly choose a (smaller) flashcard and students try to guess which card it is. - They speak the sentence (and do the action in case you can't understand them).  As they are sitting on the floor I would have them stand up to respond.
The student who guesses could then be the 'teacher' and secretly choose a card while the class does the chant again. 
[With Covid-19 you may not be able to share the cards with the students so you could make them a mini set each? - in a plastic bag with their name on it.  You could have them use these cards to play bingo, choose a card and hold it up etc.

I have attached the file I use for the song - plus extra body parts.   You can make a completely new song using the different body parts.

Another topic is food!  (apples and pear song is more of a chant/sing-song type song)

Anyway a few more ideas for you



 


Re: grade 1, zero tech allowed
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2021, 11:55:47 am »


You can then play a guessing game where you secretly choose a (smaller) flashcard and students try to guess which card it is. - They speak the sentence (and do the action in case you can't understand them).  As they are sitting on the floor I would have them stand up to respond.
The student who guesses could then be the 'teacher' and secretly choose a card while the class does the chant again. 
[With Covid-19 you may not be able to share the cards with the students so you could make them a mini set each? - in a plastic bag with their name on it.  You could have them use these cards to play bingo, choose a card and hold it up etc.

I have attached the file I use for the song - plus extra body parts.   You can make a completely new song using the different body parts.

Another topic is food!  (apples and pear song is more of a chant/sing-song type song)

Anyway a few more ideas for you

This is great. I will definitely try doing more with them, and incorporating more English (other than the few things the teacher has told me to teach...lol). Thank you so much!
I am hoping to talk to her and to be able to at least use background music. And more visuals!