Alice and I wrote these jazz chants to give students an engaging way to learn to read. We chose themes to match the units we were studying at the time. Teachers can write their own chants to fit the material and vocabulary for their own units of study.
Jazz Chants are snappy, rhythmical poems and rhymes that can be said with a swinging rhythm --similar to rap or rapping. Students may perform these jazzy poems in small or large groups. Some jazz chants have a chant that is read along with the poem or rhyme (similar to a musical descant, which is sung above or super-imposed against the main musical text). To perform the piece, one group chants the descant while the other group recites the poem. Rhythm instruments can even be added to enhance the beat, if desired. Bilingual/ESL students need reading practice for fluency and pronunciation. This activity provides these opportunities as the students must read and re-read the material for final group performance.
An additional benefit of jazz chanting is that the students have the chance to develop a sense of the rhythm of the English language and to obtain practice using idiomatic phrases and expressions.
Bilingual/ESL students from other countries enjoy learning about Alaska animals. We have chosen some of the students' favorites to include here.