You may ask why we need to complicate things with props and visuals. Actually, for about a third of the children in your care it facilitates learning!
Here’s my rationale: children are born with a Primary Learning Style:
While our Primary Learning Style is how we optimally process information, we all access the other learning styles to unravel the data coming at us. Providing an image related to song content increases understanding and memory, assists processing, and invites participation by children right off the bat!
For example: “We’re going to sing a song about ducks,” I tell the children. “In this song we’ll quack, waddle, and pretend there’s water running off our feathers!” If that is all I offer the kids, some of my Visual Learners may not have heard what we’re doing because they’re still trying to get a picture in their brain of what a “duck” is! If I don’t demonstrate what “waddle” looks like and invite them to wiggle their tailfeathers, my Kinisthetic Learners, who need to have a physical relationship with the topic to be explored, may have no idea what “waddle” feels like. Having a felt piece to put on the board, or a duck puppet they can touch will get them up to speed! During music time, my Auditory Learners are usually just peachy because they are getting the information they need from my mouth to their ears.
Hey - see the "duck sticks" in the bag on the floor above - and the duck book on the other side? I'm all for visuals!
Let’s add visual images with an inexpensive and easy-to-make flannelboard! You can get your materials at a craft store (Joanne’s, Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, etc)
You will need:
1 foam board (about 30” x 20”)
Packing tape, matte knife & scissors
Flannel (about ½ yard)
2. Cut foam board in half with sharp matte knife to make two 20x15” boards.
3. Put foam board on flannel. Cut flannel 3” bigger than board on all sides.
4. Fold long sides onto board, tape in place. Fold corners as if wrapping a present, tape in place.
VOILA! You’ve got a flannelboard!
NOTE 1: Using flannel (not felt) allows the cover to be laundered as needed. My white board gets smudgy-looking every few months, so I rip off the tape, pop it into the washer/dryer and after a quick touch-up with my iron it goes back on the board.
NOTE 2: This kind of board is easy to paint on, too! I use Scribbles fabric paint to make a bare tree for adding leaves, snowflakes, raindrops, etc. Or my leafy tree – done with a sponge brush – for apples, cherries, birds, etc. Still washable – just hang to dry and don’t iron over the paint!
NOTE 3: Flannel comes in many solid colors and patterns. Experiment! I use solids for color identification songs, while a printed cloud background is great for birds, kites and planes!
NOTE 4: I have a small easel (from Office Depot) to hold my board so that I can walk away from it to pass out the felt shapes to the children. It's a wonderful addition to using flannelboards!
Now you’re ready to cut felt shapes to go with your song! Here are a few of my favorites.
FOR RIGHT NOW – “I’m a Little Seed”
Tune: “I’m a Little Teapot”
Lyrics: I’m a little seed in the dark, dark ground
Out comes the sun, yellow and round
Down comes the cool rain, soft and slow
UP! the seed begins to grow!
First make your felt shapes – “dirt”, enough raindrops for every child to put one on the board, sun, tiny seed, plant and flower. There are patterns for these pieces on my website’s Song of the Month page for this song, or on my Tiny Tunes cd. Have children create the flannelboard picture piece by piece (learning about what seeds need to grow in the process) before singing the song.
Movements: curl up on the floor in a tiny ball. Then stretch hands high overhead to make the sun. Wiggle fingers to the floor as rain. Pop back up, hands high, to be a flower! What color is each child’s flower? Repeat the song.
|Here is the Beehive|
FOR SUMMER – “Here is the Beehive”
No tune – a fingerplay! Hide the "bees" inside your fist - pop up one finger at a time as they come out!
Hear it on my Season Sings cd.
Here is the beehive
Where are the bees?
Hiding inside, where nobody sees!
They’re coming out now –
I purchased this adorable felt set from a wonderful vendor at the CA-AEYC conference a few years ago. Unfortunately there is no identification on the package. Anyone know? Produce your own hive and 5 bees – decorate with fabric paint if you’d like!
FOR FALL – “Leaves are Falling”
Tune: “Jingle Bells”
Hear it on my Season Sings cd, soundclip HERE.
Falling on my nose!
Leaves are falling, leaves are falling
Falling on my toes!
On my head, on my ears
Even my elbows!
Leaves are falling, leaves are falling
When the brisk wind blows – WHOOSH!
Movements: Shake hands quickly overhead, then touch each part of the body as it’s sung. Repeat, speeding up the tempo with each repetition! Remember to start at a very moderate tempo so that you can go faster!
Your flannelboard: I used brown fabric paint and a brush to create the bare tree. Fabric markers or paint for the grass at the bottom. Cut leaves of different colors – red, green, brown, yellow and orange. Have each child put a leaf on the tree before starting the song.
GREAT PROJECT: I made small flannelboards for each child in my class (yes, I don't have a life sometimes!) I gave them brown markers to draw a tree, green for grass. They chose felt leaves I'd cut - and they had their own flannelboard song to take home and sing with! A ziploc bag is taped to the back of the board to hold the leaves. They loved it!
Other great songs for the flannelboard:
|Sea Shell, Sea Shell|
(SOTM means it was a Song of the Month on my website.
BLOG – it was featured on PreKandKSharing!)
Sea Shell, Sea Shell – June 2012 BLOG
|Black Bat Farm|
Black Bat Farm – October 2004 SOTM
|Little Mouse, Little Mouse|
Little Mouse, Little Mouse – February 2011 SOTM
(in this picture it was Turkey, Turkey!)
Pumpkin, Pumpkin –
Ok - now I admit I am not artistic. Things CAN go wrong.
I was creating a new "multi-cultural" face for "Everybody Has a Face" - my "Ernie-like" face (left) was getting old. But I gotta say - this gal (right) came out looking a little scary. Yikes!
So you can't go more wrong than I have - just start over!
Let’s review – a flannelboard with felt visuals that go with a song can increase understanding and memory, assist processing and invite participation by all children in your group. What are you waiting for??? Get cutting!
Yours for a Flannelboard Song!
“Miss Carole” StephensMacaroni Soup! Active Music for Active Kids!