Last week as I was arriving at one of the preschools I teach at, one four year old lad bolted toward me like a streak of lightning. He then proceeded to beg me in that particular way that children do:
“Teacher, could you please play the Superhero Song? You know, the Superhero Song! Please oh please oh please, please… Could you please play it, Teacher?”
As it turns out, he and his classmates had been waiting all week to sing it. So of course I sang with them. And then they wanted to hear it again. And then…again…
People who have Genki English will already know about the Superhero Song by Richard Graham. If you don’t, this song is the single most important reason for you to open your wallet and buy Genki English. The first time I watched the music video, I ended up playing it ten times straight (much to the curiosity
annoyance of my wife). I have taught it to children as old as twelve and as young as three, to universal acclaim.
What Does it Teach, Exactly?
The Superhero Song introduces the grammar pattern I can and the vocabulary words jump, run, hide, cook, stretch, climb, swim, and fly, all things any respectable superhero would need to know how to do. There is also a mighty chorus section where the children get to belt out at the top of their lungs, “I’m a superhero!” It is very simple to teach since the children merely have to repeat after the lyrics as they’re being sung on the CD. They don’t even have to repeat the complete phrase I can, as just saying the vocabulary will often be enough for some of the youngest children.
How Does One Go About Teaching it?
To start off the lesson I ask the children to guess who I am, and then begin mimicking Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Iron Man, and the Incredible Hulk. I then tell the kids that these people are called superheroes and ask them if they’d like to transform into a superhero. With preschoolers, the answer is of course yes. So I tell them that if you say, “I’m a superhero!” REAL loud then they too will become a superhero. To preschoolers this is like telling them Santa is going to visit every day with presents. Even the shy ones can’t help but get caught up in the excitement.
It is best to teach the I can and the vocabulary words as single pieces of speech. In this song, the kids learn it just as fast as by breaking it down and you can always explain it in detail later. We start practicing, I can jump, I can run, I can swim…and then maybe a few that aren’t in the song, like I can fish, I can dance, I can sing, depending on the vocabulary of your students. The children tend to catch on really fast.
Once you’ve got that down it’s just a matter of striking a dramatic superhero pose and turning on the CD, or the music video from the software if you have a giant screen to put it on. Just see for yourself by watching Richard Graham teach the song to some kids in Japan.
This song, like all the others comes with a great many extras that you can use to reinforce the vocabulary like dominoes, snakes and ladders, an eight-sided dice, and much, much more on the song page.
And for Dessert..
Once you’ve got the song down pat you really should check out this other great superhero song by Pancake Manor. My students love this one too, and I must confess, so do I. By the time the credits start rolling I feel like Pancake Manor is some kind of superhero alliance like the Justice League or the Avengers.