ACA Explorers – Blog

Song of the Week: Think, Carry, Bend and Kick

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes has really done us RIGHT! It’s a great tool to teach those parts of the body while incorporating Total Physical Response.

Last week we started this variation of the classic in which we sing the verbs that each of these parts of the body does instead of the name of the body part.


We do multiple exercises to increase comprehension of the verbs as well as acquiring them as new words in the students’ vocabularies.

Exercise 1– One of us (the teachers) will say a story, all in English, that includes these associated verbs. The students have to listen for these verbs (we are speaking very slowly and often say these verbs louder or stop after we say them to make sure they catch them) and perform the action. This has worked out great especially considering the fact that most of them have a very small English vocabulary and are able to tune their ears for these words. It’s a great form of INPUT for the kids to hear our *perfectandbeautiful* American accents!

Exercise 2 LA CADENA– This is when we stand in a semi-circle around the tablero (white board) and have each person point to a body part while their neighbor says it. Then the person who guessed it points to a body part on their own bodies while the person next to them says it or the action it performs (depending on which we are focusing on that day). This is a great exercise that guarantees that everyone is involved and learning. If there are new kids that don’t know the body parts/their actions, our Explorers help them by pointing to them and saying them while the newer students repeat. This cadena (chain) exercise works for many activities and has proved very useful. Sometimes we time the cadena to see if we can do it faster!

Exercise 3– One person acts as the teacher (sometimes it is one of us but other times it’s one of the kids) and points to body parts on themselves while the rest of the class guesses. I like this exercise because whoever is pointing out the body parts is kind of like the teacher and that kind of confidence boost and attention is always good for the kids. Plus, as long as they know which body parts are in the song, they don’t even have to know the names since they’re just pointing to them so the less advanced students can even act as the teacher!

Exercise 4- One person acts as the teacher but says the part of the body or the action and the rest of the class points to that body part or does the action the “teacher” said. Similar benefits to Exercise 3 but this one helps the students with their pronunciation. We usually only have the more veterans do this so the other kids can hear proper pronunciation like they do from us!

We love how quickly singing with the actions helps our students acquire these new verbs. Associating an action with a verb makes so much more sense than translating it for students while they sit at a desk and copy things in their notebooks. Total Physical Response is a great tool for language and other learning.

Check out Mary Joe and Sophie singing Think, Carry, Bend and Kick!

We have also been singing another version of “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” that we made up- “Neck, Chest, Elbows, Hands”. Since our kids are mastering the original AND the song with the actions (Think, Carry, Bend and Kick), we thought why not use this great tool to teach more body parts and eventually the actions these body parts perform as well!

The lyrics of “Neck, Chest, Elbows, Hands” are as follows-

Neck, Chest, Elbows, Hands, Elbows, Hands
Neck, Chest, Elbows, Hands, Elbows, Hands
Stomach, Hips, Legs, Feet
Neck, Chest, Elbows, Hands, Elbows, Hands

*to the tune of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes still*

This is a great rendition of the classic and lets us incorporate more body parts… Since we already used “kick” for toes, we are using “” for feet, and “walk” for legs. We haven’t incorporated the actions with these new body parts yet but feel free to comment if you have some ideas of cool actions we should use…. (digest for stomach or what? “Engordar”- to get fat? Hehe)

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