Remembering Old Songs

Hello ELF Friends,

We started writing little songs about 5 years ago, but only started learning how to record those ideas about 3 years ago.

Early on, it was so simple!  A few teachers were just trying to get something into the classroom by any means necessary.  We used built-in computer mics, old (broken) guitars and a lot of determination to get our ideas into the learning environment.

Over time, we’ve gotten much better (!), but we look back at our earlier work with very fond memories.  Here is a song that we wrote for ELF’s Toys Theme several years ago.  I can still hear the children’s voices singing to it now!

And here are some of our students singing the song in the classroom!

While we’re not satisfied with this track, it was the first time that we decided to add an overdub of the guitar and vocals after doing a straight recording.  I remember thinking at the time that we were geniuses!  Now?  Not so much…but we hope you understand!

Here are the videos that go along with this theme…

ELF has come a long way in a short time and we are so excited about taking things to the next level.  Creating music, videos and other materials for young learners keeps us full of excitement and passion and we thank you so much for your support!

Happy Teaching,

The ELF Team

Exposing Children to Different Musical Genres

Hello ELF Friends,

One of the things we’ve always tried to do with our music and videos is to help expose children to different styles of music, or musical genres.  In our experience, children (and adults!) learn so much easier when music is involved.  It’s also a lot of FUN!

When we first started making videos, we were fairly inexperienced, but that didn’t stop us from trying to have a little fun with the BGM (BackGround Music) parts.  Here is one of our first examples:

We found that the kids smiled and laughed when they heard the funky sounds and decided to experiment more with different instruments and styles of music.  Another early video where this can be seen is in this funky Reggae reading video:

This video hasn’t been as popular as the first, but it’s still a unique, fun way of exposing children to different styles of music…as the Learn to READ!

One of our favorite (and most popular) early videos is this Alphabet and Phonics Video, which uses a gentle African rhythm with a beautiful wooden flute floating in the background:

These types of sounds were so popular that we decided to incorporate genre more and more into the music for our CD as well.  Perhaps the best example of this is, “The Hula Pokey,” which is track #9 on ELF’s 1st CD, “Let’s Take A Walk.”

Recently, we’ve been experimenting with more upbeat styles as can be seen in these two Adjective Videos:

We realize that not ALL kids are naturally drawn to some of these styles of music, but we feel it is part of our job as educators to help expose children to all different styles of music.  We also hope it helps bring the world a little closer together!

Do you have a request for a certain type of genre?  Please let us know in the comments section, our Facebook Page or on our YouTube Channel!

Happy Learning!

The ELF Team

Let’s Take A Walk CD – Children Singers

Hello ELF Friends,

ELF Learning released its first children’s CD 1 year ago. It was a project which took a lot of time and effort, but we are so happy with the results!

What many people do not know is that we used our students as singers on many of the tracks! I wanted to take a minute to talk about their contribution.

From the start, we talked about recording our own students for the CD. We wanted our kids to know that they were the reason that we wrote the CD. We also wanted them to hear themselves each time they listened to the songs. The problem was…HOW?!

As anyone who has recorded children knows, it’s no easy task. It’s especially difficult when you are recording 14 different voices at one time!

We decided to record their contributions in an environment where they were comfortable…the classroom. While this made it easier for them, it was a challenge for us. We needed to keep the microphones far enough away from any one singer, while also getting a strong enough signal.

We decided to use 3 microphones placed high above the students. One was placed in the center and two others were placed to the right and left, but angled in slightly.

The next challenge was to arrange the students according to height. We decided to place the taller students in the back so that everyone could see the direction from the sound engineer.

The most difficult challenge, since we didn’t have 14 headsets (!), was how to arrange the speakers to eliminate as much microphone bleed as possible. Bleed is when sound from headphones or speakers finds its way back into the microphones. We did this by placing the speakers under the microphones and keeping the volume very low. We then depended on a, “director” to help the kids come in at the right time.

Overall, it was a very difficult challenge, but we did it! After a lot of editing and arrangement, ELF was able to include the students who inspired our efforts!

Please feel free to mail us if you have any question about how to record YOUR students! We’re happy to help!

Best,

Eric and The ELF Team

NEW Edited Videos

Hello ELF Friends,

When we first started uploading videos of our CD animations to YouTube, we started or ended the videos with short promos.

We learned that those extra parts made it inconvenient to put those videos in playlists for students.

To make things easier, we have edited three of our videos to help parents and teachers make commercial free video playlists.

We hope this helps!

Happy Learning,

Eric and The ELF Team

Fun, Fast Actions and Prepositions Song!

Hello ELF Friends,

Over the years we’ve spent lots of time creating and testing demo songs in the classroom. This is a demo that has not yet made it to a CD, but…it is one of our students’ FAVORITE songs!

Please feel free to download it and use it in your classrooms!

If you upload a performance to YouTube, PLEASE send us a link!

Happy Teaching,

Eric and The ELF Team

New Summer Song from ELF Learning

Hello ELF Friends,

We’ve uploaded a DEMO version of a new summer song that we put together recently for our sister school’s upcoming Summer School Program.  You can download, “I Love Summer!” for free at the link below.  Just click the “download” button and enjoy!

We’ll be creating a video for this (with lyrics) as well, so everyone can enjoy learning together in the classroom…or at home!

Thanks for all your support!

Happy Learning

Eric and The ELF Learning Team

Update – ELF Learning System

Hello Friends,

ELF is getting closer and closer to releasing our learning system for young EFL Learners.  It’s a project that has been in the works for many years and we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  There is still lots of work to do, but we’d like to share with you a few of the key components as well as the projects we are currently working on.

Phonics 1 Stamp Book

Primarily, the ELF Learning System is based on one goal:

To help children learn to communicate in English as naturally as possible.

We don’t want to push or pull.  We want to guide.  We want to guide children using their natural curiosity and love of discovery and learning something new.

To do this, we’re working on a flexible flash card system (both physical and digital) to be used in any order the teacher sees fit, complete with free online support and YouTube videos.  The idea is to take much of the core learning out of the classroom to allow teachers the time to enjoy communicating and expanding upon the knowledge that the children all ready have.

We’ll keep posting updates here on this Blog, so please subscribe and feel free to add comments.

Happy Learning,

ELF Learning

Facebook Page

Hello ELF Blog Friends!

We wanted to let you know a little bit about our Facebook Page.  You can find us at http://www.facebook.com/elflearning.

ELF Facebook Page

You can follow us on Facebook for quick, simple updates about what’s happening with ELF Learning, our materials and our sister school, E English House.

ELF uses the page as a “realtime” source of information, where we ask questions of those interested in contributing to the materials ELF produces.

We started the page about a year ago and have seen a lot of new “LIKES” and activity recently.  We currently have 800 contributors on Facebook!

We hope you can find the time to join the page and contribute.  We love new ideas and appreciate input from people all over the world!

Thanks!

ELF Learning

Counting Video! 0 5 10

Hello Everyone!

First, we’d like to say Happy New Year to everyone out there.  We are very excited about 2012 and all it holds, so we thought we’d start with a bang!

The song below was written as a way to teach young learners the numbers from 0-10 in a fun, energetic way.  Yes, we said 0-10.  We noticed that no other counting songs (that we’ve seen) included the concept of nothing, so we wrote one. 🙂

The song is easy to teach and easy for students to learn.  Simply open and close your hands to make zero, five and ten and then clap your hands!  That’s it!  You can add extra excitement by hopping around the room, dancing and just being a goofball.  Our kids love it and often make up new ways of punctuating the numbers (WARNING – little boys like to punch, so we have them punch up in the air or down at the ground!).

Please leave your comments on YouTube or in the section below.  Also, be sure to “LIKE” our Facebook page (www.faceboook.com/elflearning) and follow us on Twitter (@elflearning) for more updates and news!

Happy Teaching from the Fun Folks at ELF!