Tuesday, October 9, 2012


This or That? These or Those?

When I was younger, I vaguely remember this song being used in class. It went, "Open them, shut them, open them, shut them, give a little clap clap clap. Open them, shut them, open them shut them, put them in your lap lap lap." I believe there was more, but I seemed to omit that part from my memory. (If you want the whole version and other fingerplays you can look inside The Eentsy Weentsy Spider book and see the "correct" version")

As far as learning goes, it was perfect. It was repetitive, simple, included the body (wohoo TPR) and was super easy to adapt. So when I started teaching ESL (EFL to some) to Preschool and Kindergarten students this was definitely in my bag of tricks.

Like most songs and chants I liked it because it could be adapted to almost anything.

We used it to review classroom language (stand up, sit down or open the book, close the book etc.), animals (much like with the sweet little bunny song most animals can easily be given a body equivalent), adjectives (really useful for short and small and other subtle differences), verbs (often the easiest to mime), classroom supplies (have them hold up a pencil then a pen), clothing or body parts (touch the clothing), and really anything else your heart desires.

As the video states I found it great when reviewing this and that (along with these and those). This was one finger touching the other hand (singular and close), that was one finger pointing away from the hand (singular and far), these was two or more fingers touching one hand(plural and close), and those was two or more fingers pointing away (plural and far). Students picked it up quickly, and I could see them doing the motions during the test.

The best part was students genuinely enjoyed it! When classes got rowdy, I would silently begin doing the "open them shut them" motions and one by one they would do them with me. Then when everyone was with me we would quickly do a round and then get back to the lesson.

Have you altered the song's lyrics or tried any of the above in class? Share in the comments!

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