Wednesday, November 12, 2014

©2014 Brigid Finucane: Merit School of Music, Chicago, IL / 847-213-0713

Participants will learn a wide variety of strategies and musical techniques to extend book use. These approaches can be immediately put to use in the classroom to more fully engage students and encourage student learning. I hope that by sharing these successful and pleasurable musical literacy activities, participants will have the confidence to adapt them to their individual sites and experiment further.

Music/songs share many elements with the books we read in the early childhood classroom. 
Music/songs use symbolic notation, are rhythmic and sequential (there are beginnings, middles, ends) provide vocabulary enrichment, teach tenses and plurals, are rich in poetic language, allow visualization, and encourage good pronunciation. Music is also reductive – it gets to the heart of things very quickly.

When a book is sung, it goes beyond the simple and everyday – it’s elevated into a new and 
special experience. A musical book engages, invites positive communal participation, opens teaching opportunities and provides non-stressful (group) pronunciation practice, especially important for children whose first language in not English. It delights.

-Where is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox, illus. by Judy Haracek. ISBN: 0-15-204907-X. This book about opposites exudes charm, sweetness, and humor. Barb Tilsen’s ( lilting, happy melody is the perfect vehicle for the text, encouraging everyone to sing along.

  • The addition of singing and musical elements provides a deeper listening
    experience, enriches vocabulary, and allows for kinesthetic responses
  • Mindful selection promotes cultural literacy, connects children with poetry, visual
    arts, diverse traditions, rhyming and other reading readiness elements.
  • Books move from static to participatory.
  • Book form teaches sequence and develops reflection.
  • Simple musical concepts are introduced: expressive voice (high, low), tempo,
    qualities of movement (legato, staccato), and dynamics (piano, forte).
  • Community is fostered through singing and responding as a group appropriately at appropriate time.
  • Pleasure, a love of books, and an interest in reading are all promoted.

Choose a book you love. There is no need for the mediocre offering. Fine collections are available in our libraries. A good librarian will have many fine suggestions, as do co-workers, other teachers, list- serves and parents of the children we teach. Bookstores that offer weekly Storytimes highlight current titles of note. Websites, like Isabel Baker’s “The Book Vine for Children” ( have vetted the thousands of new books that are published yearly, while still containing a strong emphasis on classics.page1image24616 page1image24776
Use Expressive voice and comparatives. As Chicago singer-songwriter Susan Salidor ( says, “Early childhood music is all about high and low, fast and slow, loud and soft.” This is worth remembering when approaching a book. Early childhood books make great use of language rich in imagery and rhyming, further amplified by illustrations. Don’t rush. Let the children have time to drink it in.

Presentation and the power of chant. Approach the presentation of early childhood picture books as you would a song or poem. Upon inspection, you will notice standard structures are observed from book to book (pages are multiples of eight due to printing protocols), and syllabication is consistent, allowing for rhythmic reading or chant. Use that to your advantage. Remember: “Beat Always Stays the Same, Rhythm’s What You Sing or Say!”

Be prepared and have a plan. Read the book aloud before bringing it into the classroom. Discover passages where you stumble. Experiment with voicing and pauses to heighten the impact of the story. Determine whether you want this to be a listening experience, or whether student participation will promote the enjoyment and aid focus and comprehension.

TIME FOR A STORY: Transition Songs to Gather Children for Storytime
How many of you use a transition song to invite children to Storytime?
Ideas to Share:

Choose a favorite, familiar song and piggyback, or add, new words to transition children.
1. An easy and singable melody is Mary Wore A Red Dress, an American heritage greeting song used in Merit early childhood music classes. Words might be,“Time for a story, story, story, Time for a story this fine day.”
2. Skip To My Lou: “Stor- stor- story time (x3) Let’s all read/sing a book.”
3. Twinkle: “Now it’s time to read a book. Come to circle, take a look.”
4. These Are My Glasses from Laurie Berkner’s CD, Whaddaya Think of That? The song can be downloaded from iTunes, and may also be chanted. Lyrics and directions below are from Laurie Berkner’s web page, glasses.html ,but can be further extended by using ASL. Use ASL dictionaries to research the signs for “glasses”, “read, read, read” and “look, look, look.”

Lyrics: These Are My Glasses (L. Berkne
These are my glasses-                         make glasses with your finger 
This is my book-                                   hands pressed together
I put on my glasses-                            put on glasses
And open up the book-                       open your hands
Now I read read read-                       make V with 2 fingers, other hand flat
                                                                    squiggle V over flat hand in a line 
And I look look look-                          V fingers move forward
I put down my glasses-                      put "glasses" down
And WHOOP - Close up the book!   clap hands together

1.Many songs have been made into books that can be enjoyed by both children and adults.

“Little White Duck, ” “A, You’re Adorable,” and “My Favorite Things” are other fine examples. Consider turning the pages of the book while playing a recording.

-What a Wonderful World by George David Weiss & Bob Thiele. Ashley Bryan, illus .0-689- 80087-8. Glorious illustrations, positive images of world, different cultures, etc. The story goes that this song was written specifically for Louis Armstrong in the late 1960’s to quell civil unrest, since he was a beloved civil and cultural ambassador. Many versions are available. No sheet music.

2.There are a number of deservedly popular books that reference a well know melody and add or “piggyback” their words onto it. These books wouldn’t work as well, or at all, if they
didn’t have a very specific song and melody as their foundation. Examples: “The Seals on the Bus” by Lenny Hort & G. B. Karas, and “Cows in the Kitchen” by A. Anderson (Skip to My Lou).

A. I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont. David Catrow, illus. ISBN: 0-15-202488-3. Tune: “It Aint’ Gonna Rain No More.” Exceptional illustrations (even though the little boy is creepy.) A great book for colors, patterns, rhyming, body parts....and slightly subversive fun! NOTE: Syllabication is not completely accurate. Be sure to practice before presenting.

B. The Aunts Go Marching. Maurie J. Manning. ISBN: 1-59078-026-4. Tune: “The Ants Go Marching.” “Dressed in raincoats and carrying umbrellas, a platoon of aunts march through the rainy city streets led by a little girl with a drum in this cumulative rhyme.” (from cover). Clever illustrations of numeric expansion highlight this funny take on the classic childhood song.
NOTE: The reference is an “in” joke that might amuse the grownups reading the book more than the children.
: Have children act out. Everyone march in place. Math connection/ doubling, counting in 2’s etc.

For books that don’t have their own melody, use a shared, or “piggyback” melody. Many
rhyming books for young audiences share a similar syllabic count. Try piggybacking books to common melodies including London Bridge, Frere Jacques, Skip To My Lou, Twinkle, etc.
-I Went Walking by Sue Williams. Julie Vivas, illus. ISBN: 0-15-205626-2. Listeners echo each line. Charming and gently humorous, especially good for younger children. Great for reflection (What animals do you remember seeing?). Tune: Are You Sleeping/Frere Jacques or Twinkle.

-Up, Down and Around by Katherine Ayres. Nadine Bernard Westcott, illus. ISBN: 978-0- 7636-2378-4 (hardcover edition). A delightful, rollicking rhyming book about planting a vegetable garden and discovering which plants grow up, down or vine around. Humorous illustrations. Tune: Skip to My Lou, London Bridge.

Make list of familiar childhood songs, pick a book, see what works, & make magic happen! Determine whether you want it to be a listening or an echoing or participation experience.
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Play the singing game before or after presenting book
-Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush by Sophie Fatus. ISBN: 978-1-84686-035-5.
Four children from different cultures -Europe (substitute Chicago), Mali, India, & China - show how they get ready for school through bright & breezy illustrations (which could have been bigger – since they are lost on a larger group). Sheet music & CD sung by Fred Penner.
NOTE: After each verse, I point to each child and say “ Chicago, Africa, India & China.” Literacy extension (per Dr. Jean workshop April 2011, Whitewater, WI):
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Here we go round – draw circles iron the clothes – horizontal lines mend the clothes – draw X
wash the clothes – vertical lines scrub the floor – draw capital V’s
bake our bread – draw spirals (think “G” or cursive “J”) 
smile and sing – draw small connected waves or scallops horizontally, then vertically (half-circles).
Partner activity: Invite children to draw letters on a partner’s back.
Why Chosen: Multicultural content, inclusiveness. Classic children’s singing game that can be adapted for many purposes: Days of week, Reinforce fine motor skills, and Targeting letter formation.

Farmer in the Dell by Ilse Plume. ISBN-10: 1567923909. A lovely version set in Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

A. Worms Wiggle (based upon lines from the poem ‘Jump or Jiggle’ by Evelyn Beyer)
David Pelham & Michael Foreman. Pop-up. This book delights one and all. The children quote the whole poems by themselves out of sheer pleasure. Copyright 1988, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. There is no ISBN # apparent.
Why Chosen: Pop-up, rhyming, movement (verbs) rather that sounds of represented animals.

B. May There Always Be Sunshine, adapted by Jim Gill. Susie Signorino-Richards, illus.
ISBN 0-9679-038-6-6.
Gills collection of children’s ideas on back page is fun read to students. Sheet music included.
Extensions: Encourage children to make up their own responses, and even make a class book of drawings from each child. Listen to CD: Charlotte Diamond- 4 Carat Diamond, where the song is sung in multiple languages.
Why chosen: Gratitude, opportunity for solo singing, embraces individual ideas, sign language and book-making extensions.

II. CREATING AN ECHO FROM EXCERPTED LINE(S) OF TEXT TO REOCCUR AT SPECIFIC POINTS NOTE: LOOK FOR books already have a built-in chorus, like: Click Clack Moo by Dorreen Cronin, Shark in the Park! by Nick Sharratt,, Aaaarrgghh! Spider! by Lydia Monks, and Fall Is Not Easy by Marty Kelley.

-Right Outside My Window by Mary Ann Hoberman. Nicholas Wilton, illus.
ISBN: 1-59034-194-5. “
While looking outside the window, a child sees something new each day and through the seasons.” The perfect springboard for scientific observation wedded with the wonder of the natural world and seasonal changes. My melody is loosely based on La Vibora
de la Mar. The text may also be adapted to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
Why chosen: Awareness, nature, seasons, beauty of text and Illustrations.page4image28880 page4image29040 page4image29200 page4image29360 page4image29520page4image30640
III(1). ADDING UNRELATED ELEMENTS TO FURTHER THE STORY “Alright!” or “Oh no!” are spoken after each sequence events in high or low voice.
NOTE: Solo, duet, trio opportunity, or divide into boys and girls after first reading.
I read this book over several sessions, and ask for reflection on what happened thus far.

A. Fortunately by Remy Charlip. ISBN 0689716605.
“Fortunately, Ned was invited to a surprise party. Unfortunately, the party was a thousand miles away. Fortunately, a friend loaned Ned an airplane. Unfortunately, the motor exploded. Fortunately, there was a parachute in the airplane. Unfortunately, there was a hole in the parachute. What else could go wrong as Ned tries to get to the party? Readers will cheer as Ned's luck turns from good to bad to good again, while clever illustrations tell the story of his wacky adventure and narrow escapes.”
Why Chosen: High- low vocal exploration, expressive voice, surprise, improbability, imagination, reflection (sequence), consequences.

B. Fortunately, Unfortunately by Michael Foreman. ISBN-10: 1849392242.

Intersperse repeated chorus of known song, related in subject matter, to chanted text.

A. On the Farm by David Elliott. Holly Meade, illus. ISBN: 978-07636-3322-6.
Exquisite woodcuts are perfectly paired with elegantly reductive poems about animals – domestic and wild – that can be found on the farm. Thrilling and engaging to both child and adult. Partner songs: Grandpa’s Farm, Old McDonald, When Dogs Get Up in the Morning.
Why chosen: Beauty of text and illustrations, inclusion of more than the run-of-the-mill
farm animals, nature, evocative language.

B. Nuts to You! by Lois Ehlert. ISBN-10: 0152050647.
Partner song: Hop Old Squirrel.

On the second reading, pause to let children fill in rhyme..
**Beat always stays the same! Rhythm’s what you sing or say!**
-Oh, A-Hunting We Will Go by John Langstaff. Nancy W. Parker, illus. ISBN: 0-689-50007-6. Matter of fact illustrations are a perfect foil for the improbable situations in this rhyming book.
A winner. Sheet music included
Extension: Kinesthetic connection: Teach simple circle dance, pausing to let children suggest a rhyme or answer the one you’ve given
Why chosen: Classic children’s song, rhyming, movement option, open-ended suggestions.

On the second reading, make silly changes/ substitutions - e.g. instead of “old mother owl,” say 
“old mother gorilla.” When the children protest, you might say, “Gorillas are brown! Gorillas live in trees!” The children will call out and correct you, in mock outrage – and be on notice that the books is going to be funny.

-Over in the Meadow by Louise Voce, illus. 1-56402-428-8. My favorite version of the dozens in existence. No sheet music.
Why Chosen: Numbers, animals, rhyming, humor, and changed endings.
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A. Sung: Hush Little Baby. American Heritage. Marla Frazee, illus. ISBN: 0-15-201429-2.
Rhyming, sequence, humorous illustrations. In this version of the beloved lullaby the baby just
won’t stop crying!
Why Chosen: Experiencing musical tools, Piano and Forte & Staccato and Legato, and discovering how these tools change language and music.

B. Chanted: Listen to the Rain by Bill Martin & John Archambault. James Endicott, illus. ISBN: 0805006826. Striking illustrations accompany the rhythmic and onomatopoetic language describing language describing the many sounds and moods of rain. < >.

Using a piece of recorded music as a background soundtrack to a book’s text can add a

captivating element, and has the added benefit of slowing down the reading of the book, giving the listeners even more time to drink in the word and illustrations.
Margaret Hooton introduced me to the perfect pairing of Come to the Meadow by Anna - Grossnickle Hines ( ISBN: 0-89919 277-0) to the Soundtrack of Pachelbel’s Canon in D.
A bittersweet story about a child who wants to share the wonders of a springtime meadow with her too busy family, made all the more lovely and heartwarming by the addition of music.

-BOOK SELECTION is of utmost importance. Content, clarity of concepts, sequence of events, richness (and developmental appropriateness) of language, and intention should be considered when making a choice. Make sure artwork delights and moves you as much as the text. Consider what additional elements are conveyed by the illustrations to extend the viewer’s experience.

-PATTERNS HAVE POWER. Choose books with repetitive phrases that can be turned into a melodic ‘hook’ to assist children to jump in quickly participate and stay engaged.

-RHYMING FOR READING READINESS . Rhyming is hard to escape from in many early childhood books that are candidates for musical books. Rhyming is a part of reading readiness, helps with language acquisition, and vocabulary expansion.
Search out offbeat, unusual rhymes that surprise and tickle.

- POETIC FORM. Be aware of poetic form when choosing a book to sing. Make sure that the number of syllables are the same from page to page. Develop a critical ear.

-“IT’S A GIFT TO BE SIMPLE. Choose or create a melody that is simple enough for the children to sing successfully AND for you to remember.



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(Key for “Now It’s Your Turn” Activity on Page 4)

-A Summery Saturday Morning by Margaret Mahy. Selina Young, Illus. ISBN:0-670-87943-6.
Warm Book for a Cold Night., Tune: London Bridge 

-Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle Tune: Are You Sleeping / Twinkle

-Bunnies On the Go by Rick Walton. Paige Miglio, illus. ISBN: 0-06-029185-0.
Shows modes of transportation from bikes and trains to balloons and ferries. Tune: Lightly Row

-Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins. Eric Gurney, illus. Tune: Skip to My Lou

-It’s Not Fair! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Tom Lichtenheld,illus. ISBN: 978-0-06-115257-3
Hilarious rhyming book that starts off local (‘...Why’d I get the smaller half? Why’d he get the bigger laugh?) but eventually asks bigger / global questions, e.g. ”How come she gets all the rings? (Saturn) Why do birds get all the wings?”
A rueful look at the human condition, that asserts, “It’s not fair!” Note: Syllabication challenges. Tune: London Bridge

-Me I Am by Jack Prlutsky. Christine Davenier, illus. ISBN:13-978-0-374-34902.
Tune: I’m a Little Teapot, Baby Bumblebee, Eensy Weensy Spider

-Oh, No! by Candace Fleming, Eric Rohmann, illus. ISBN: 978-0-375-84271-9.
Tune: Frog Went A-Courting
-One Red Rooster by Kathleen S. Carroll. Suzette Barbier, illus. ISBN: 0-395-60195-9. 
Farm animals colors, & counting are combined splendidly in this cumulative book. Dramatic play. Tune: London Bridge, Skip to My Lou

-See You Later by Holly Karapetkova. Download through computer’s “wayback” function, May 2005. Tune: Down by the Bay

-Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox. Helen Oxenbury, illus. ISBN: 978-0-15- 206057-2. Tune: Hush Little Baby, It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More

Other songs: Lady w/the Alligator Purse, Muffin Man, Itsy Bitsy Spider, I’ve Been Working on the Railroad

Notation Shorthand
1– 2– 3 -4– 5– 6– 7- 8 l=1beat / ll=dividedbeat/Z=rest(1beat) Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do 
!=2beats/!. =3beats/!=4beats

Frere Jacques: 4 beats patterns separated by (measure) line: / llll/lllZ/ll llll/lllZ//
1        2     3      1                  3      4     5                     5-6           5-4       3     1             1    (low)5    1
Are you slee-ping (x2) Broth-er John (x2) Morn-ing bells are ring-ing (x2) Bim Bam Bom x(2)

Brigid Finucane 
White Cloud Drive, Skokie, IL 60076

847-213-0713 3911 

Merit School of Music, Chicago, IL - – Collaborative blog. 18th of every month.
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Friday, October 17, 2014

Singing Games & Dances - GoAEYC 2014

©2014 Brigid Finucane, Merit School of Music, Chicago, IL
GoAEYC 2014
This interactive workshop expands typical classroom dances and singing games, and fosters community and cultural diversity.  These multicultural dances and musical games that can be put to immediate use!

1. HA HA THIS A-WAY / American Heritage
Circle to partner dance - developmental progression. Note: Chant verbs to improve participation.
Beat & Rhythm: Beat always stays the same. Rhythm’s what you sing or say.
·      Have children walk the beat for half the song, then pat rhythm with a partner.
·      Invite children to give their ideas for other movements - pat, turn, jump, etc.
·      One way to end the song:  Now we are sitting…Just like this.

Autumn extensions: Now leaves are falling, twirling, etc. Now we are raking, “booing,” picking
(apples), climbing (apple trees), etc.

2. JUMP JIM JOE / American Heritage Playparty
Partner circle dance – inhibitory control, sequencing, following complex directions.
Teach dance in a circle first before transitioning to partners.  Two, three or more partners can dance together – a nice feature of this gathering activity.

-Transition rhymes:  - 1, 2, 3and 4…Find a new partner and we’ll do it some more!
                                                    2, 4, 6-8-10…Find a new partner and do it again!
                Find a new partner as quick as can be. Find a new partner before I count to three!

3. HOW PUNG YO (Looking For A Friend) / Traditional Chinese Folk Song
Three different versions:
(1) Make a circle, with one child in center.  This child is “It,” and walks or skips inside the circle while children are singing the first line, then he/she stops in front of another child.  On “Jeeng gah lee ah,” the two bow to each other, then shake hands on “Wah guh sho.” On the last line, they trade places, with the new friend going into the center.  Repeat. Continue until everyone has had a turn (no repeats!).  Teaching Tolerance: I Will Be Your Friend

(2) All the children play, looking for a friend simultaneously. Walk for the first two lines, then turn to a friend, bow and shake their hand. At the end of the song, wave goodbye. Repeat, finding a new friend. Chinese American Service League (CASL), Chicago

(3) Follow directions for #1 (above), but instead of trading places, the new friend holds gently on to the shoulder of the first child (“It”). Repeat the song, adding a new friend with each repetition.  New friends are added to the end of the train, until everyone is selected.
Note: Only the first child shakes hands with other children as they are added. 
Campbell, P.S. et al.  Roots & Branches. A Legacy of Multicultural Music for Children

            Jow yah, joy yah, jow yah jow,                        Looking, looking, looking for,
            Jow do wee guh how pung yo.                        Now I find a good friend.
            Jeeng gah lee ah.                                             I bow to you.
            Wah guh sho.                                                  (I) shake your hand.
            Nee shur wah duh how pung yo.                    You are my good friend.

4. LET US CHASE THE SQUIRREL / American Singing Game
Learned from Julie Swank, Intro to Kodaly, DePaul University, Chicago, IL.  This North Carolina singing game is great fun.
·      After the children have learned the song, count off by threes.
            Ones and twos are trees.  Threes are squirrels.  One child should be “left over.”
·      Two tree children make a tree. Partners face each other, holding hands.
·      A squirrel stands in the middle of each tree. Only one child is allowed per tree.
·      Sing the song, with “trees” holding their branches/bridges down, on either side of their
            “squirrel.” Trees may seesaw their arms to the steady beat of the song.
·      At the end of the song, cry, “whoop” while lifting arms to make a high bridge. All squirrels, including the squirrel in the middle, must find a new home as quickly as they can. When a new squirrel enters a tree, that tree lowers their branches around him/her.
·      A new squirrel is now in the middle. Repeat.

5. AROUND AND AROUND ©2014 Susan Salidor / Scarf play, Stretchy Bands!
Friend and fellow Children’s Music Network (CMN) member Susan Salidor (  has been charming children and the grownups who love and teach them for two decades with her delightful CDs, YouTube videos, classes and workshops.
This is a song she shared 2/17/14 on Facebook (
as part of her continuing series of “Itty Bitty Ditties.” Originally designed as scarf play, the song is also perfect for “stretchy bands.”  Used with permission.
            Around and around and around and around,
            Around and around and around.
            Up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down,
            Up and down, up and down, up and down.
            Rock! Rock! Rock! And freeze!
            And rock! And rock! And rock and rock and freeze!

6. JUMP JOSIE / American Heritage Playparty
This song changes from a circle to a partner dance and from fast to slow.  It also changes from 3/4 to  4/4  meter and from legato (smooth and connected) singing and dancing to staccato (short and separate). It is a great song to reinforce the “two x” math tables.
·      Teach the song with students in a circle.  Move side to side during the first section, then clap hands in the second section, “One in the middle…”
·      On “Oh, my Susan Brown,” make a large “sunshine circle” with both arms crossing.
·      Choose 2 students to be partners. Ask them to hold hands, facing each other.
·      Dancers in the middle, or inside, are jumpers, dancers in the circle are clappers.       The only ones who jump during the second half of the song, are those in the middle.
·      After the song is completed, ask the “two in the middle” to choose new partners from the circle and repeat the song.  After several repetitions, ask everyone to get a partner.  At this point, sing “all in the middle.”
·      Other ideas include using colors (“red in the middle”), clothing (“jeans in the middle”)
            or anything you can think of  - gender, patterns, shoe styles, month born, etc.
·      Other thoughts:  Several couples can start the song in the middle to speed things along. Partners can also “tap tap Josie,” “fly fly Josie,” “turn turn Josie, etc.

7. TUE TUE / Traditional, Ghana
There are as many versions of this song as there are interpretations of what it means!
For a fascinating look at the unresolved, and continuing, conversation, visit Mama Lisa’s blog:
This is a great song for steady beat. Movements can be simple or increasingly complicated!

·      Count “1 -2  -3 -4” a few times to establish the steady beat. 
·      Pattern: Pat hands out in front of body for two beats, then pat knees for two beats.
·      Sing song while clapping pattern with partner.
·       When pattern is mastered, increase the tempo with each repetition.

·      Make a double-ringed circle, with one partner in the inside circle, and the other in the outside circle. Direct partners to face each other. 
·      Divide the ring into “boxes.” A “box” is made from two neighboring couples- 4 kiddos.
·      Ask original couples to greet their partners, then turn and greet the person next to
            them – their “side” partner. Do this several times, to get accustomed to the movement.
·      Using one group, or “box,” demonstrate patting the pattern with the original partner, then with the new, “side” partner.
·      At a very slow tempo, invite students to try the pattern. Sing the song.

·      Tell students that there’s another “box” on the other side! 
·      With a group of eight (4 kiddos and their partners / 2 boxes), slowly try the pattern.           
            1. Pat original partner’s hands   2. Pat “side” partner’s hands  3. NEW side partners
·      Sit, facing partner in a double ring.
·      Pat partner’s hands, then your knees for the first four beats.
·      On the second four beats, pat hands with the neighbors on both sides for the first two beats, pat knees for second two beats.  Repeat pattern, starting with original partner.

8. MRS. MURPHY’S CHOWDER / Crescendo circle game
Crescendo means to get gradually louder, in Italian, the language of music. After teaching the
chant, get into a small circle, and very quietly, with feet to the beat, say the words. With each repetition, the circle becomes a little larger, and the words a little louder – until at last, the circle is at its fullest. Crescendo!

9. LUCY LOCKET / England. Tune: Yankee Doodle
This game may be done two different ways: As a chasing game or Crescendo hot /cold game.
(1)  Chasing game: A child with a small purse, handkerchief, etc., circles the ring of seated players as all sing.  At some point in the song – it can be anytime – the child drops the object behind the back of a seated child.  The seated child chases the first child around the circle.  The empty space left by the second child (chaser) is “safe.”
(2)  Crescendo game: A “finder’ is chosen to hide their eyes while a “hider” hides a small object (‘pocket’) somewhere in the room. The object MUST be partially visible.                                                      The finder turns her / his back or leaves the room while the object is hidden – whatever is best for your classroom. The hider then joins the group, and the whole class softly sings the song while the finder looks for the object.  As the finder gets closer to the object, children gradually sing louder (crescendo) until the finder is guided to the object by the singers’ voices. Choose two more children, and repeat, etc.
            Lucy Locket lost her pocket.
            Kitty Fisher found it.
            Not a penny was there in it,
            Only ribbon round it.

10. SOL UTE, SOL INNE  (Sun, Only Sun) / Traditional, Norway
Partner dance created by Brigid Finucane and Amy Lowe. To hear the song sung in Norwegian, visit Mama Lisa’s World:
Students stand with one partner, holding hands.

            Sun outside, sun inside.                                    (Step away from partner, then forward)
            Sun in the heart, sun in the mind.                    (Seesaw to one side, then the other)
            Sun, only sun.                                                    (Double handed “bridge turn”)

11. CHOCOLATE / Traditional Mexican Chant.   Partner activity, steady beat, tempo
There are many variants of this chant, some which allude to mole negro, the rich, spicy sauce whose main ingredient is chocolate (con arroz y con tomate…).
I use the simpler chant, which refers to the molinillo, a wooden utensil that is twirled between one’s palms making the chocolate frothy.  Each repetition is faster than the last.
Children hold hands and “see-saw” their arms back and forth while saying the chant.
Pause briefly at the end of each line, emphasizing the final syllable.
Variation: Try a double-handed “bridge turn” on the last “chocolate!”

                                    Uno, dos, tres, CHO!                          Uno, dos, tres, CO!
                                    Uno, dos, tres, LA!                             Uno, dos, tres, TE!
                                    Chocolate, chocolate,                         Bate, bate, chocolate!

12. UNO, DOS Y TRES – Mexico / Traditional Counting Song.                                                                            
Partner circle-dance created by Brigid Finucane.
Students stand in a circle facing a partner, back to back – in one ring.

             Uno dos y tres,                        (Clap, pat and tap hands together with partner)
            Cuatro, cinco, seis.                        (Repeat)
            Siete, ocho, nueve,                        (Take partners hands, and go halfway round in a two-                                                                        hand turn, changing places with partner)
            I can count to diez.  OR            (On “diez” turn around halfway to face a new partner.
            (Yo) Puedo contar a diez.       Repeat with new partner, etc.)

Resources to know about: New England Dancing Masters (
 and the “Games Children Sing” series (China, India, Malaysia, Japan- book with CD).

Take suggestions and be creative!
 Above all, have fun!

Please contact me with additional questions.
I’ll gladly sing melodies into your answering machines!

Brigid Finucane * 847-213-0713 *
Merit School of Music, 38 S. Peoria St., Chicago, IL  60607.   312-786-9428.
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I’m a proud and grateful member of GoAEYC, GCAOSA, NAEYC & the Children’s Music Network