Monday, April 16, 2012

Showers & Flowers = Beat & Melody
      Miss Carole here, of Macaroni Soup, and I’m LOVING the Spring weather we're having in Chicago!  How are things where YOU are?  It's a perfect time for singing and chanting to practice keeping a steady beat and matching pitch.  Mister Rogers wrote that children are born with rhythm and pitch.  Then how do we get 4 and 5 year olds who struggle to find and keep a beat or can’t carry a tune?
                                               LACK OF EXPOSURE!
     Sometimes it’s the simplest of activities that have the greatest impact on learning.  That doesn’t mean you have to have "musical talent."  My Mom, a preschool teacher for 35 years couldn’t “carry a tune in a paper bag” – that’s what she’d say – but it never stopped her from singing with her classes every day!  Off-key sometimes, yes, but no children were harmed in the process.  Quite the contrary!  The local Kindergarten teacher once told me that she could always tell which children came from my Mom’s school:  they were the best listeners, followed directions well, and were usually the first readers in her class.  So let’s get singing for Spring!

     Putting the beat into your body gets it into the brain, too!  Marching, stamping, clapping, jumping and tapping are great ways to keep the beat.  Here’s two of my favorite activites– and you probably already know the words and/or melody!
Rain, rain, go a-way
Come a-gain a-nother day.
Little children want to play
Rain, rain, go a-way!

What to do:  Start out patting the rhythm on the floor with your hands.  Hit the floor on the underlined words, and you’ll have the beat.  Be sure to start out slowly – it’s not a race.  Children get their natural rhythm from Mom’s heartbeat!
     Change (without stopping the beat) to clapping your hands for the next repetition of the verse.  Then softly pat you shoulders.  And finally silently tap your head.  You may choose to “mouth” the words at first, but once the children have the beat and know the poem, just tap, audiating the melodic rhythm.  You should all end at the same time!

What are we doing:  we’re practicing finding and keeping the beat, we’re developing a group dynamic in working together, and we’re putting the beat in our body and brain.

A garden of children!

Try the next one with a flannelboard demonstration to get everyone onboard.  Don’t have a flannelboard?  Cover a 24 x 14” piece of foamcore board with blue or white flannel.  Use packing tape to secure it to the back (easy to tear off when the flannel needs washing).  Use my patterns below or make your own to create the felt pieces.  But sure to cut enough raindrops so that every child will have the opportunity to put something on the board. 
I’m A Little Seed  (hear it here)
      Tune:  “I’m a Little Teapot”
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!

What to do: 
Line 1: Curl up on the floor on your knees, tuck arms in 
Line 2: Sit up, put arms over head to make a "sun" 
Line 3: Wiggle fingers as hands move downward like the rain 
Line 4: Stretch up tall, or stand, hands reaching for the sky!

     Be sure to ask what color the little flowers are in your class!  Then get small again and repeat the song.  Children may tell you what kind of flower they are – I had a garden of roses the other day!  You’ve not only done music – you’ve included a science lesson on germination.    ...From my garden to yours!                                                                        

       Yours for a Song!
     Miss Carole


  1. What fun activities ... perfect for a gardening unit (or just for spring fun in general)! I pinned your post to my Gardening/Botany Unit Study Pinterest board at

  2. Thanks, Deb. This morning one of my Toddlers popped up at the end of "I'm a little Seed" and shouted - "I'm a TULIP!" Cracked me up! Enjoy!


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