Falling In Love With Language!

As part of our Virtual Online Summer Camp, we’ve partnered with The Art Gallery of Hamilton to deliver two weeks of live, synchronous art sessions for our 18 groups. This has been such an amazing experience, as our kids from Kindergarten to Grade 2 have had the chance to experiment with various art forms. When I first found out about the different artists, I was most surprised to learn that one of our artists is a rapper. Enter the incredible, LT The Monk.

Last week, as groups of students learned from LT, I had the opportunity to sit in on a few of his classes. When I heard that LT would be rapping with the kids, I didn’t really think about the learning opportunities here. I was then thrilled to see so many connections with oral language, reading, and writing. Rapping proved to be a wonderful way to …

  • work with rhymes,
  • read rhyming words,
  • examine initial sounds,
  • play with syllables,
  • and get kids excited about writing. Every time that LT was in a class, I knew, for I got the million MS Teams channel notifications as kids added more rhyming words in the chat box!

After sending off this tweet about LT’s rapping …

… I emailed him about how engaging his lessons were for kids. In his reply, LT wrote these words about rapping, which inspired this blog post.

It’s a great way to fall in love with language for the first time!

Wow! This comment had me reflecting on learning at school. Imagine if we framed our presentation of reading, writing, and oral language as opportunities to “fall in love with language.”

  • How might this engage our students?
  • How might it inspire them?
  • What impact might our view of language have on the opportunities that we provide for kids?
  • Could this thinking lead to more playful phonological awareness opportunities?

I can’t help but think about The Kindergarten Program Document. Art is reflected as a language in this document. This includes visual arts, music, drama, and dance! I think about our many art inquiries over the past few years, and the incredible vocabulary, questioning skills, creating, problem solving, and storytelling that stems from art.

One of many professional blog posts that connects to our classroom art experiences.

Along with visual arts, singing especially plays an important role in our classroom. Some of our kids sing everything. They even sing responses to each other, and respond to us through music. Many years ago, an educator told me that kids hear song at a different level than talking, so singing instructions can support those children that might not respond to spoken words. This was a brilliant suggestion, and it worked! In its own way, this singing approach helps build a love of language!

A singing tree! If this doesn’t cause you to “love language,” I’m not sure what will.

As the plans for September continue to evolve, and we hear more each day, I really hope that restrictions still allow for a creative integration of The Arts. Watching LT and the other artists this summer, thinking about my past classroom experiences, and looking forward to this year, I know that kids are going to need to be able to express themselves.

  • Some might write down their thoughts.
  • Some might discuss their thoughts.
  • But what about those kids that need to draw them, sing them, move to them, and act them out? We need to also support and extend these creative options!

This socially distant sensory paint room is my dream …

… and now I’m thinking about what happens when we allow for the expression of other art forms as part of this space. I foresee joy! What about you?


*Thanks to LT The Monk for letting me quote him and include his story as part of this post.*

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