Thursday, June 18, 2015


c.2015. Elsa Sreenivasam. Detail
Songs, Resources and Apps

Ms. Brigid here, from Merit School of Music  in Chicago, IL sharing summer songs and a great resource for quintessential camp songs – Green Ghoulie. I stumbled upon this site several years ago, and was instantly charmed with both the collection and the endearingly goofy presentation by the two main perpetrators, Pete Vingeant and Bryan (with no last name). Check out Baby Shark to see a hilarious progression of song styling and and hairdos! I've included one of the two videos below. On the site, all videos appear above song lyrics.

Summer is a time for reflection, renewal and collaboration. Which songs were sure fire hits and worthy of carrying forward? How can connections to classroom themes or curriucula be deepened? What extensions can be put in place, e.g., movement, instruments, dramatizations, partnering with a story?, etc.  I’m grateful that several times a year our Merit EC and General Music teachers come together to discuss these issues. The following are a few of the songs from our end–of–the–year sharing.
Sally Go Round the Sun
Sally go round the sun,
Sally go round the moon,
Sally go round the chimney pot
Every afternoon. Boom!

Hold hands and walk in a circle. On “boom,” change direction of circle. Practice the “boom” change of direction separately before you start the dance – and walk lightly with feet to the beat. There’s nothing like plodding to make one feel they’re in music prison!

c.2013. Brigid Finucane

This song is also useful to reinforce days of the week. After the “boom,” we freeze as I rhythmically chant, “Sunday and Monday.” The kiddos echo, “Sunday and Monday.” We sing the song again, moving in a circle. After each “boom”, I pause again, adding another day: “Sunday, Monday, Tuesday,”  until we cycle through the days of the week. On the last repetition, we walk four steps in and out of the circle – on the beat - and jump in place on the “boom.” It’s fun to repeat it, getting softer until it’s barely heard….from mp to p to pp.

After children are confident with the succession, add two or more days at a time. Try learning the days of the week in another language.  Esperanto, anyone?
There are so many fun ways to approach Sally Go Round the Sun (of which there are MANY versions). Some prefer to sing chimney top(s) rather than chimney pot – an archaic term that has fallen out of use. Although I prefer the archaic in all things, sing what comes naturally to you!

This YouTube shows dancing in concentric circles and singing the song in a round. Though three part rounds are waaaaaaayyyy out of the realm of our K and Pre-K kiddos, two concentric circles are fun to try. I often use a double circle for space reasons – so that we can move rather than plod (the grownups plod a bit in this video – just sayin’).

BRIGIE TIP for making a double circle lickity split: Make a large circle. Drop hands. Count the children – aloud: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4,  1 – 2 – 3- 4, etc. Every fourth child goes into the center and makes a second, smaller circle. The ratio works.

Frogs in the Meadow
Sound Touch icon
Before singing the song, introduce your kiddos to the wonder and variety of frogs – and the sounds they make – through these  two marvelous iPad apps: Sound Touch and Video Touch Animals – made by the same developer. Frogs do not say “ribbit”!
Sound Touch Lite (FREE). 180 sounds and images great for auditory discrimination. 
SoundTouch ($4.99) offers 360 sounds and images. There are 6 high quality photos of different frog species in Sound Touch. Each is accompanied by the sound the frog makes.
Video Touch - Animals (1.99 – prices fluctuate) has48 fascinating video clips of animals, including four of different frog species My kiddos are mesmerized!

Frogs in the meadow.
Can’t get them out.                                    (Shake finger on beat)
Take a little stick                                         (Mime holding stick.
And stir them about.                                    Stir in wide circle with full body.)
Leap! Leap! Leap!                                      (Leap three times)

c.2015 Elsa Sreenivasam. Detail
·      Sing the song while class listens.  Pat the beat on knees while singing (I like to hold a beanie frog in my hand and bounce it on my knee). Jump your frog forward (on floor) while chanting “Leap! Leap! Leap!” Ask – “How many ‘leaps” did my frog take?” (three) Invite kiddos to sing, using their fists for frogs.

·      Stand up. Sing the song with suggested motions, or what you determine is best. Jump in place the first time, then model leaping into the circle the second time.
·      Line up kiddos, 4 at a time (mas o menos) and have a leaping contest.
o   Speed version: Stand on the perimeter of your classroom rug. Designate 4 sides of square and choose which side will leap first (one side at a time). Proceed to next side, until everyone has a turn.

·      With parachute. Place beanie frogs on parachute. Ask participants to sway side to side while singing song (move parachute side to side. On each “Leap” – bounce parachute so the frogs go flying up into the air. Retrieve frogs from the floor, and do again. Many options: Sitting, standing, children under parachute or not, etc. Using comparative voices and movements is also fun.
NOTE: There are many versions of this song, and many melodies. I even found a chase game – for lack of a better word – that I’ll try next year with older kiddos. For now, I’ll use this version that has been a sure-fire hit ever since I learned it from Ms. Stephanie at Ronald Knox Montessori School twenty years ago!

Thanks for reading! I hope you’ll join me next month for more summer songs.
Until then, happy singing!
c. Brigid Finucane
Call Me For Your Professional Development!
I’d love to help your school or community blossom musically!  My specialty is music and literacy teacher training (with a dose of technology), singing games and dances from around the world, and more! If you’re local (Chicago), I’m Gateways registered and IAC approved – at least for the next three years! See my contact info below.  Please look for my workshops through Illinois Children’s Home and Aid.

Merit School of Music, Chicago
…Call on Merit School of Music! Our onsite school is in the West Loop. We work in the schools throughout the area providing band, orchestra, percussion, choir, early childhood, and general music instruction with project based units including Recorder, Music and Storytelling and Songwriting. We do great work! YoYo Ma is a supporter!

Chicago Families
Please come to Merit’s Storytime sessions – the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month. It’s free, fun, and facilitated by singers and storytellers Amy Lowe, Irica Baurer & me. Stories and songs start at 11am, and we end with instrument exploration and family networking.  Breaking news: Storytime will continue through the summer months, so come on down!
The next session is June 22.

And in the End
My posts are historically archived below. Click a link to read about Chinese New Year, Pete Seeger, Music and Literacy, Listening Locally to Musicians from the Midwest, Great Lakes and Ontario! Then Pass It On!

I am continually inspired by The Children’s Music Network (CMN) community. an international group of socially conscious musicians, educators, librarians, families, songwriters and good people, who “celebrate the positive power of music in the lives of children by sharing songs, exchanging ideas, and creating community.” Please visit CMN, and find a gathering in your region.

©2015 Brigid Finucane  * 847-213-0713 *


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