Sunday, May 17, 2015

Miss Mary Mack Can Teach Your Class!

I believe integrating music and art into instruction across the curriculum can improve student performance and create a stronger sense of community in the classroom. I know there is research to support the use of singing and dancing in the classroom. There's quite a bit listed at the Center for Lifelong Music Making, but the most powerful reason for integrating music for me is that I see the benefits in my own classroom. I don't know if it's because I'm happier, the kids are happier, music activates their brains, or some other reason. Honestly I don't care. I know that when I have been able to use the techniques I learned from at the classes I took from the founder of the Center for Lifelong Music Making, Ann C. Kay, my students perform better.

Update: Do you want to read more about the benefits of hand clapping games? Check out this post at the Inspired Treehouse.

My students have recently gotten into hand clapping games. Some of them have lyrics I don't particularly care for, so I've been teaching them some that I prefer. One of my favorites is Miss Mary Mack.

Unfortunately, I cannot find a video I really like for this song. This video is a good tutorial if you aren't sure how to do the hand clapping pattern.

Notice that in the beginning she just does the movements and says the movement she's doing rather than singing the song. *shoulders, thighs, clap, right, clap, left, clap, both* This is a really good way to introduce the movements to your students. Ideally, I would stand with my back to my students so they can copy my movements exactly. I always teach the movements in isolation, and I have the students do them without a partner at first. Actually, when I first teach the hand-clapping, I just do clap, right, clap, left. There's really no wrong way to do it in my opinion, but the combination of the hand clapping pattern and the singing is what really activates the brain. 

I teach the words and game first, then I give the students a copy of the words to practice and read. This is a great song for working on the -ck sound. You can also talk about the final -y sound and -ed endings. You can grab this freebie if you want to distribute the lyrics to your students.

There's also book by Mary Ann Hoberman with some additional verses that I really like. You can hear some kids reading/singing it in this video. (I couldn't get the embed code to work.)

If you like this post and want to learn other ways you can integrate singing and dancing into your day, check out these posts about Little Tommy Tucker's Dog, and Goin' 'Round the Mountain.

Check out posts by other lovely education bloggers at Techie Turtle Teacher's  Movie Clip Monday Linkup!

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