We adapt a song for our own use. For example, the song 《十个小印第安人》(“Ten little Indians,”) is a great tool in teaching numbers and objects. We change the word “Indians” to all different objects such as “rabbit,” “oven,” “carrot” etc. Then students are practicing lyrics such as “有一只，有两只，有三只兔子……” (There is one, there is two, there is three rabbits…) They memorize the object as well as the numbers.
We also combine music with different activities. For instance, we may create a song or adapt a song to a picture book. We have a book about a train running all the way down. And we also have a song describing the train running all the way down. When flipping through the book, we simply sing the song. By doing this, the song is visualized without explanation.
We also use a lot of “situation-based” songs in classroom. For example, we have a song for clean-up, and also a song for going outside. When teachers begin to sing these songs, children know instantly that it’s time for clean-up, and it’s time for going out for a walk. With music’s soothing effect, it is easier to attract children’s attention which is also better than merely asking students to “Clean-up the toys.”
Here are songs we sing with our children in class very often. They are also songs sung by almost every child in China:
Two Tigers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEoNuU0conc
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qT-3JDRkoWk
Little Donkey: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plPDhwbd5uM
-Chinese with Meggie Language School, Austin, Texas