One of the things you will have to do with young learners sooner or later is teach them the parts of the face. It’s an easy, non abstract topic that children will want to use. Today I’d like to make the case for using Genki English to do it. Found on Vol. 6 of the Genki English series, the Make a Face song has become the initial method I use to teach this topic.
A shot of the title page in the Make a Face section of the Genki English software. You can listen to a demo on the song page, but you won’t be able to use any of the flash cards or other material unless you have purchased a membership (which you should!).
1. The flash cards for this unit are hilarious. Kids and adults will both laugh themselves silly at the sight of them. When I introduce them, I pull each card out slowly from a box or envelope to create suspense, which is usually filled by guffaws (which is the key to getting their attention).
The vocabulary for this unit. Student would often collapse on the floor in laughter at the sight of the picture of “cheeks”.
With really young kids I repeat the words slowly, first pointing at the card, and then again at my own face, giving them the chance to repeat the word. I really like that Richard Graham included the words eyebrows, cheeks, and tongue in this theme since they are not generally covered in other books for kids.
2. Secondly, the song is a riot, ONCE you get used to it. Now I’m a real believer in Genki English, but even my faith was tested when I first played this song. The first half of the lyrics are as follows:
“Make a Face”
by Richard Graham
Make a face.
Make a face.
Make a face.
Make a face.
Put on the nose. (x2)
Put on the ears. (x2)
Put on the mouth. (x2)
Put on the eyes. (x2)…
It sounds like a marching song. And what is up with the chorus? “Make a face”?!?! You don’t generally put on your face in the morning (unless you are talking about make-up). I had my doubts about using the song. Then it came to me… What if you had to? Put on your face, that is. I came upon telling the children to imagine that they woke up every morning and had to literally place each item onto their face.
“What a nuisance, I have to put on my face…AGAIN. What I wouldn’t give to have facial features that stuck to my face 24 hours a day.”
Sounds like the plot to a horror movie, right? The kids didn’t think so. They got into it right way, and soon the song became a great laugh for the kids and a huge hit. For younger kids I stopped explaining it explicitly and just mimicked grabbing the parts of the face off the flashcards and putting them on my face. They got the hang of it pretty quickly. And as for the “make a face” part, I make a peekaboo motion with my hands and a funny face. The kids also have fun making their own funny faces.
3. Like all Genki English themes, there are mini cards that you can print off to play games of concentration. There are also dominoes, an eight sided dice, islands game, snakes and ladders, and spaghetti game. Richard has description of each of them on the song page for the unintiated.
I like to print out two sets of these mini-cards, cut them out, laminate them, and play concentration with the kids. Of course, there are lots of games you can play with. Just go to Richard’s site to learn about them.
4. On the song page there is also a worksheet you can download with all the parts of the face on it.
The only thing that is missing are cheeks, but then it doesn’t look like there was any room left. This worksheet is also available in black and white.
This could be a simple cut-it-out-and-glue-it-type activity, but I like something different. First, I cut out and laminate each part of the face. Then in class I put them in a sack. Students take turns coming up to the front of the class and drawing an item from the sack and posting it on the felt board. Sometimes the face comes out a little odd, but that just adds to the fun. Then when I am done, I take the items off the board slowly one by one (until there is nothing left), which for some reason makes the kids laugh even harder.
Convinced yet? Give Genki English a try. You won’t regret it.