Top 5 Video List: Old MacDonald Had a Farm

Hi folks! It’s time again for ESL Review to bring you its favorite YouTube videos for use in the English classroom. This time around we’ll be going through the best of the best of that old classic about everybody’s favorite Scottish farmer, Old MacDonald.

5. Old MacDoald Had a Farm by Organic Learning

First up, we have a video by Organic Learning. Sung with real gusto, this is a brilliant animation that is guaranteed to generate smiles. The downside is that it does run a wee bit faster than would be ideal, and may be better suited for children with more confidence and experience.

4. Old MacDonald Had a Farm by Kids TV 123

Kids TV 123 has its hits and misses, but their version of Old MacDonald is not bad at all. It goes at just the right pace for the little ones and there’s this mellowness in the voice that managed to hold my attention from beginning to end.

3. Old MacDonald Had a Farm by Pancake Manor

Over the years I have really grown to love Zach and Reggie of Pancake Manor. Even my wife liked their version of Old MacDonald, and that is no mean feat – although it might have been because she thought the boy dancing his heart out was super cute. The whole thing is worth watching just for the zinger at the end, which brings up long ago memories of Sesame Street.

You can read more about Billy Reid, the creator of Pancake Manor, by checking out this blog post at CBC Music.

2. Old MacDonald by the StoryBots

Okay, in some ways the StoryBots are not the ideal model for our young students to be learning English from. I even have trouble making out what they are saying at times. Nevertheless, their videos DO hold the attention of my young learners, and the children often surprise me with how much they pick up. And if we’re going for full disclosure… the StoryBots just give me the giggles.

Learn more about the StoryBots and their creators, Evan and Gregg Spirindellis, by watching this bit from CNN.

1. Old MacDonald had a Farm by Super Simple Songs

It was inevitable that Super Simple Songs‘ version would make it to the top of my list. The animation is crisp and the lyrics are easy to follow. More importantly, though, it has lots of what I call “no questions”, that is, questions whose answers are obviously no, like “Does a pig say ‘meow’?” This gets the youngest students, ever eager to impress the teacher, to belt out answers. Watch the video (better yet, watch it with some young kids) and you’ll see what I mean.

Some Honorable Mentions

There’s nothing like a little live action children’s programming to get the kids to get up and dancing along. They’re not quite my thing, but the characters in the Mother Goose Club and Barney and Friends are quite loveable.

And The More Esotheric…

I would surely be amiss if I didn’t include this classic by the good people at Sesame Street, though I’m sure it will just confuse the children.


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