5 Years of “Uh-huh!”
Today marks the 5th anniversary of the YouTube video for the song “Uh-huh!” off of Super Simple Songs 2.
That’s a lot of head nodding.
We made the song because we wanted to help our young English students in Tokyo move beyond formulaic yes/no responses to more natural, kid-like responses. If you ask a native-English speaking child, “Do you like ice cream?” she will almost certainly NOT answer “Yes, I do.” Kids say things like “yep” or “uh-huh!” So, while it is important for children to understand and be able to use expressions like “Yes, I do” and “No, I don’t”, it’s also important for students to learn some of the more informal, natural expressions that children use.
This song also helps children learn the rhythm of English. English learners often have a very hard time hearing and saying “Uh-huh” and “Unh-unh”…two similar sounds with totally different intonations. Children who learn this song get a quick lesson in the importance of intonation.
We had a lot of fun with the song in class, and then a little more than 5 years ago, Jeremy-sensei disappeared into an empty classroom with 2 puppets and his Macbook, and emerged a couple of hours later with this gem of a video (the first of several classic Jeremy-sensei videos).
It was a hit right away and to this day we still receive video responses from people of all ages. Here is a playlist of people performing “Uh-huh!”
With kids, try singing it with puppets! (A fun activity is to first make puppets and then sing the song with those puppets.) During the instrumental part in the middle, it’s fun to ask questions to elicit “uh-huh” and “unh-unh” answers. For example, “Do you have a dog?” “Do you have a cat?” “Do you have a lion????”
To celebrate the 5th anniversary of “Uh-huh” on YouTube, we’re giving away a free download of the Super Simple Songs CD of your choice! Simply answer this question in the comments below :
“How many times is the expression “Uh-huh” sung in this song?”
(One entry per person. Contest ends Friday, October 28, 2011 at 11:59pm GMT. If more than one person answers correctly, the winner will be chosen at random.)