Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sing a song a day--We're goin' 'round the mountain

A few years ago I was privileged to be able to take a class with Ann C. Kay,  founder of The Center for Lifelong Music Making. It was an excellent class, and I continue to use the ideas I learned as often as I can. The class emphasized using folk songs to help students develop math and literacy skills. 

Since I extended my morning meeting time to build a stronger sense of community in my class, I have been able to do a better job of integrating music. One of my students this year is possibly one of the most naturally talented dancers I've ever had in my class, so I knew he would LOVE the song We're goin' 'round the mountain. He is not only coordinated and smooth in his movements, he even plans the timing so he finishes with a finale at the same time we stop singing.  So there's my WOW for the week. I wish I could post a video of his dancing! The link will take you to a recording and game directions. It's a pretty scratchy recording, but you get the idea. It's a very singable song.

We march in place during the first verse. During the second verse a student is selected to stand in the middle of the group and they do a boring "uncool" motion, maybe just a wave. While they do their uncool motion, I have the other kids do some simple arm movements. When we tell them it was a pretty poor motion we start with our hands on our hips, then put a hand on our chin (like we're thinking hard about this uncool dancing problem), then we put our arms out like we're really explaining our message. For the final verse, the audience claps and the student in the center shows off their "cool" moves.

After the kids have sung the song lots of times and committed it to memory, I have them put it in their poetry folders. The struggling readers are always amazed to learn that they can 'read' the song. I have seen this make a tremendous impact on fluency over and over again. This song obviously poses an excellent opportunity to discuss the apostrophee

The kids REALLY love the dancing, but also like to make the song more academic by having kids build math facts, sentences, words, or equations. I put flash cards with all the "pieces" they need in the middle and just change the words to, 'Let me see you make a math fact.' etc. You could have the class evaluate the math fact--if it's right, say 'that's a pretty good math fact.' If it's wrong, say 'that's a pretty poor math fact.' Once they get the math fact right, you could change the last verse to something completely different like, "now it's time to celebrate, two by two.' That way they still get to show off their cool moves. 

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1 comment:

  1. Wow! That movement and song is so great for them! They must love love love your classroom :) Thank you so much for linking up!


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