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Melbourne, VIC, Australia
2nd Grade Teacher at a school in Melbourne, Australia. My job: push kids to think. My passion: helping kids to tackle the life-long skill of searching for meaning, skills, answers and more questions.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

∞ number of ways to spice up roll call

Roll call every morning = potential snooze fest

Beuller....  Beuller... Beuller... Beuller.... 
These past 18 months at my new school, I've tried to 'Jazz It Up' a little during roll call each morning.  Since beginning the experiment, I've discovered that there are actually an infinite number of ways that you can make roll call = awesome.  Starts simple, and explodes rapidly into the awesomeness.

Let's start with the 2nd language you are (hopefully) learning at school.  How do you say hello in that language?  How do you say hello formally to a teacher?  Informally?  How do people on the street say hi to their best buddy?  How do you greet... say... a President?  How do you greet a whole class?
Ni Hao.... Zao Shang Hao... Que Tal, Muchacho... Ciao Tutti...

Kids knowing the difference between formal and informal voice will make their language learning improve.  
If they can respond in kind, then you know they're listening for your words and your tone.

Step one is simply introducing that there are other ways of saying hello to each other.  Scaffold what the kids' response will be and explain that you want just the one style of response from them to match your tone. 

Boring still... I know.  Be patient.


Next... get onto youtube and start practising your accents.  You don't need to be a genius to pick up a few choice phrases in different accents.  Youtube will help you!
Bet you tried it.  Rad, huh!?

The next day, introduce slang.  "Good Morning Sarah," or "Zao Shang Hao," is replaced by, "Eeeeasy Mate?!" in a thick cockney (London) accent.  The kids need some prep first.  Write on the board what you'll be saying along with three possible responses from them.  "Eeeeeasy Mate?!"  "Av Itttt!"  "Bosh!"  "GET innn there!"   I like there to be choice so kids who struggle have a fall-back that'll work.  

Perhaps you'd like a more formal English the next day.  Try the famous, "Air, Hair, Lair," and ask the kids just to respond with this one choice.  Sometimes I want everyone to try one phrase - and that's totally ok too!  There are no rules to this......

Soon you'll be trying Scottish... "Foos yer doos" (translates to 'how are your pigeons?') The kids can respond with, "Aye Neee Baddd!" or "Fit Like, Min!" or, of course any other Doric that you can find.

Things get a little crazy when you pass the learning back over to the kidlets.

What about using the many nationalities of your students?  Clarkey in my class has a strong Welsh heritage.  His grandmother taught us how to call me Mr Du (pronounced very similarly to Derrr!)  That's a start, but why not take it that extra step and let Clarkey teach us how to greet each other using some of the slang of his Welsh heritage?

Why not let Mini come up with very Aussie ways of saying good morning?  Why not let Bb figure out how to say hi in Croatian?  I can use these cultural backgrounds to learn more languages too!  

Accents are just as fun, though.  AND just as useful.

Surely there are a finite number of languages and accents that you can research and come up with responses for, right?  Well, yes... if you are not open to the accents of other species. 

Humpback Whale greetings. Bee greetings. Kitten greetings. KLINGON greetings. Wookie Greetings.

Yoda's right.  Don't try this idea.  DO or DO NOT.  Once you start, there's no stopping it.
On StarWars day (May the 4th be with you... always) we did Master Yoda greetings.  I would say, "Good Morning you shall have," and the kids' choices were, "Good morning you shall have,"  "May the fourth be with you," or (placing hands over mouth) a Darth Vader breathe.  

Keep a record somewhere of all the noises, robot bleeps, instrument sounds, accents, languages, clicks, rhythms and anything else your kids come up with.  Give every kid a chance, but make it clear that a little bit of external research is required.  Make a song'n'dance about a kid who brings in an mp3 of different whale sounds.  Make a song'n'dance about the kid who has spent half his night practising how to say, "Harrzit!" in his best South African accent - and he's got "Kif Boet!"  "Lekkirrr!"  and a downward click of the tongue that makes the nca sound.

One day last term.  A kid asked if we could respond to my, "Good morning, BigAl" with any sound or accent that they'd heard all term.  I approved of the idea and the response was staggering.  There were SO many different responses.  "Not OUT!" cried Will.  "Fit Like, Min!" responded Frenchie.  "MmmmMMMmmmMMMMmmmm!" responded Holly, doing her best 'oh I get it now' noise.

The possibilities are actually infinite.  Let's just say that with about 200 school days in the year, you'll have far more ideas than days in which to try them.  For that reason, make them special.  Make them topical.  Make them fun and enjoy what the kids bring to the table when the power is handed over to them.


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