Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Tongues out! Tofa, Tafa...
One of my favourite songs (and of my pupils, too!) in the ESL class is “Tofa, Tafa”.
 When I first knew this song in 1994, thanks to a “kiwi” teacher trainer, the chorus of this song was the beginning of “Singing in the rain” song:
 “I’m singing in the rain,
 just singing in the rain,
what a glorious feeling,
 I’m happy again”
I couldn’t find this version in You Tube. Instead of this, there is another with a new chorus:
“I’m gonna reach up high and sing out loud,
 I’m gonna jump and clap, cos I feel real proud”
with the same actions and movements.
I have had lots of fun with this song because my pupils like to sing it when it rains (unfortunately not so often in my country!) and it is a memorable way to end (or start) a session.

Here it is my “activity file” for this song!

Title of the activity

TOFA, TAFA (action song)

Age group / Level
I use it with very young learners, but it works extremely well with olders, too)
I use this song as a rainy day routine on rainy days and as a warm up or class ending. I also use it for revisiting or introducing parts of the body.
When the class is very calm and relaxed and I need to stir it up, some body movement and sing helps me a lot.
Main language (vocabulary, chunks, sounds, …)
Arms, thumbs, elbows, knees, bottoms, tongue. Out and up. Together.
Present continuous: I’m singing in the rain.
The sound /f/
5 – 10 ‘, depending if you have to introduce new vocabulary
Your voice, your body. Children’s voice and body
Grouping and interaction
Whole class or in pairs
Linda Adamson, (1991) Love to learn songbook. Auckland: Scholastic (New Zealand). Love to Sing collection

As children need some room to move and dance, I invite them to stand up, put chairs under the tables, split around the class (or in the nearest hall). I show them the movements, the chorus and how they perform when the leader tells them to do a movement.
           Teacher starts the song with the chorus.
 Chorus: I’m singing in the rain       (dance alone or in pairs)
Just singing in the rain
What a glorious feeling, I’m happy again.
Leader: Hang about Child/group: hang about (arms and elbows up as wings)
Leader: Arms out     Child/group: Arms out
Leader: Tofa, tafa, tofa, tafa, tofa, tafa I said, (swing movement of arms)
Child/group: Tofa, tafa, tofa, tafa, tofa, tafa

Repeat chorus

Leader: Hang about Child/group: hang about
Leader: Arms out     Child/group: Arms out
Leader: Thumbs up  Child/group: Thumbs up (swing movement of arms and thumbs)
Leader: Tofa, tafa, tofa, tafa, tofa, tafa
Child/group: Tofa, tafa, tofa, tafa, tofa, tafa

Repeat chorus

-          Elbows together
-          Knees together
-          Bottoms out
-          Tongues out

Leader: Dig in!   Child/group: Dig in! (finish with the arms and the forefinger pointing the sky)

The first time teacher is the leader, but after two or three goes, one or two children can be the leaders and conduct the whole group.

Observe children participation when singing the song and doing all the movements. Have all children being engaged sing and dance the song?
Observe children when perform as leaders and conduct the song: vocabulary, pronunciation, intonation, rhythm, stress…

ISBN 1-86943-080-8

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