This week, we continue our romp through some American classics, including Oh Suzanna, She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain, Bill Grogan's Goat, and You Are My Sunshine. We learned new words to these songs last week, and this week we are adding rhythm sticks to our repertoire, learning to tap out rhythms on two thin sticks, while continuing to sing and really memorize the words to these songs.
By adding a new skill to a known song, we continue to learn the words while also adding a new skill, making our musical engagement more sophisticated, and also more fun! We continue to explore movement to the beat by creating simple folk-style dances, too.
We're reading song-based picture books of many folk songs, and we're also playing a fun group movement game from Trinidad and Tobago, called "I Let Her Go-Go." We do a lot of repetition of songs, games, and other exercises in kindergarten and first grade in order to truly ingrain the skills in our minds. This makes the learning "deeper," rather than "broader."
There's a lot of improvisation in the classes. Rather than setting up a firm lesson plan and sticking to it rigidly, I'll often respond to each classroom's energy on any given day and adjust the lesson, sometimes giving kids an opportunity to sing solo songs, make up words, teach the class words to a song, or try out new movements to old songs. Working with their energy helps to ensure that the lesson fits the students exactly where they are best able to learn on any given day.