Stephanie Reaume, a teacher in Turkey, writes about what the Everybody Up Global Sing-along brought to her classroom.
I first heard about the Everybody Up! Global-sing-along at an ELT conference in March where I had the opportunity to meet author Patrick Jackson who very enthusiastically convinced me to participate. After promising to look into it, I went home and watched the winning video from last year and was hooked. What a great idea, I thought; my students will love this. This was followed just as quickly by visions of costumes, props and complicated dance routines. However, as you will see if you watch the videos my students and I proudly submitted, the end result didn’t include any fireworks or gymnastics…
Enthusiasm was high when I first showed my students last year’s winning video. They were ready to shoot the video right then and there. They became a little less enthusiastic once they realized that I expected them to learn the lyrics and the meaning of the song too! But thanks to the lesson plans and materials available through the Global Sing-along website, the students were able to learn about cleaning up, the rooms of the house and the song lyrics in a painless way.
After two weeks of rehearsals, and several dreams involving students with brooms singing ‘OK!’ at the top of their lungs, it was time to tape the videos. After setting up the camera in a way that all the students could be included in the frame, it proved nearly impossible to get them all to look at the camera at the same time. This problem had a simple solution, however: all the students would look in the right direction as long as their teacher was jumping up and down and waving her arms behind the camera!
Watching my young students proudly point themselves out to their parents during the ‘world premiere’ (when we loaded the videos to YouTube) made it all worthwhile. I was also inspired by the level of teamwork showed by the students. They happily helped each other memorize the lyrics and even chose to spend their break times practicing.
The best thing about the Global Sing-along is that it is a project open to everyone, regardless of their English level, age (I have even seen videos submitted by high school students), singing or dancing abilities. Nowadays many schools are only interested in winning. In fact, when I asked my vice principal’s permission to participate with my students she suggested choosing ‘the best’ students from each class and making a video with them. Even though this would have made my life easier, I refused. In my opinion, the point of making these videos is to give everyone a chance to participate in something on a global scale, practice their English and, most importantly, have fun.
This is why, next year, my students and I will definitely be joining the Global Sing-along again. Hopefully this time we will be able to add a few of those complicated dance routines and props that I dreamt about at night! And one thing is for certain: my former students will know the difference between the living room, bedroom and bathroom for the rest of their lives.