Anyway, the opening activity was to write your favorite sounding English word on the board. Once everyone had their words up, I had them choose two words and write a two line nonsense rhyme, just focusing on sound and not meaning. They struggle with rhyming, and making a nonsense rhyme was harder than I expected for them. However, I thought I would share the incredible list of words generated. Each class added their words to the board, so the last class had more words to choose from. Below is a picture of the blackboard after the last class.
Our List of Beautiful Words in English
It is clear to me that the students also chose based on beauty of meaning since most of these words are positive. One student at first chose "cigarette" but then changed her mind. I encouraged her to stick with it; even if they aren't pretty, the word has a great sound. If you can look at the board you will see a few words, like chocolate, were chose more than once. I love the word sunshower, partly for sound, but also because of the imagery. The students were startled that I didn't know "shawty." They told me it was used in rap to mean "cute." The definition I found was a little bit different. It's slang for "shorty" and according to what I read it originated in Atlanta and has been common in rap for some time now. Hey, I never claimed to know everything about English, let alone rap. I am not sure how serious some of my students were in their choices, but overall it was an interesting experiment. My co-teacher felt his class did not take the warm-up as seriously. According to one student, the most beautiful word in the English language is "chicken-man."