Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Joone by Emily Kate Moon

Hi! I'm Carolyn from Kindergarten: Holding Hands and Sticking Together.  Today I want to share with you my favorite book, Joone, by Emily Kate Moon,  because it's such a wonderful addition to any child's bookshelf,  and a perfect mentor text for teachers.

You know how sometimes something (a piece of furniture, an outfit, a book) just "speaks" to you? Well, the moment I saw the cover of Joone, this book spoke to me.   Here's proof that it's my favorite book.  I can't even put her in my shelf with the other books, because I love to see her little happy face! (By the way, the Skittles are for my little late bus kids who put up all the chairs for me! They do all this work for me and get one Skittle-  or two or three.  I have willpower not to clean out the jar.  Some days it's harder than others...) Anyway, back to my post!


Here is how Emily Kate Moon describes her sweet character:

Why, Joone is the cutest little girl to hit the pages of a children’s book! She does cartwheels, collects rocks, and spells her name with a smiley face... need I say more?

This description is from Amazon:

Joone likes the color orange, ice-cream sandwiches, and playing outside. She lives in a yurt with her grandfather and her pet turtle, Dr. Chin, who rides around on her hat. Grandpa teaches Joone something new every day. Sometimes Joone teaches him something new, too, like how to make a daisy chain. Together they enjoy life’s small joys—sunsets, tree houses, and most of all, each other.

Emily Kate Moon’s debut picture book is a charming tribute to the outdoors and a tender portrait of a grandfather and granddaughter’s loving relationship. Fans of Ladybug Girl, Freckleface Strawberry, and even Dora the Explorer will fall in love with this independent, free-spirited little girl.

My favorite detail of the book may be the fact that she spells her name, Joone,  with a smiley face instead of a "u."  That made her special right from the start.

Joone is a great conversation starter for a lesson about being yourself.  Children need to hear and know that it's okay to be different, and have unique talents, likes, and opinions- that's what makes each child who  he/she is and what makes us all special.  After the children hear all of Joone's fun and different interests, they immediately start thinking of  and sharing their own.

In fact,  my friend and our technology teacher, Jen, loves Joone so much that she bought it for everyone to sign for her friend's baby shower, because she said she wanted the little girl to grow up just like Joone.  What a fun, special idea!

As a teacher, you would think Emily Kate Moon wrote this just for us.  I just used it as a mentor text this week for adding details to illustrations and writing.  We talk about adding at least 5 details to our pictures.  We "decided" on this number because they are five, so that's just perfect.

After we talked about what details are (something that adds more information and tells us more), I began our lesson by reading this page of Joone to the students, without even showing the picture.

When they heard a detail, they had to hold up one finger.  This page- with only this much text-  gave us five great details about Joone.  We shared the details after I read the page. When I showed the children the illustration, they could see so many more details from the wonderful illustration!

Joone is also a perfect mentor text for small moments and narrative writing.  It's hard to find good books to introduce this concept for writing.  This book is full of special, small moments, and it lets the children see that those special, small moments make wonderful stories to tell and write about in their own books!

I made some writing prompts to use after you read Joone to your class.  If you would like a copy of them, just click on the picture!

We drew our own pictures of Joone! They loved adding Dr. Chin (her turtle) on top of her hat.

Emily Kate Moon has a wonderful website.  She shows real, true examples of her work.  The kids were amazed.  They could really see how even a famous author sketches, plans, and makes decisions about what to draw and write.  They can see the process at work!

Many times I think children (even adults) don't consider all the steps that go into that finished product.  We read a book and take for granted that it looks so polished and doesn't have a mistake in it!  I think the children loved seeing this process so much because their work is always a work in progress.

Plus- this was probably their favorite part of the story!

Joone thumbnail sketch - Emily Kate Moon

Filthy Joone Sketch - Emily Kate Moon

Pencil and gouache of Joone - Emily Kate Moon

Emily shared this great printout at her website to teach children how to make a daisy crown (one of Joone's FAVORITES!) I cannot wait to do this with my class in the spring (except we'll need to use dandelions because we have LOTS of those, but...  it will be a beautiful flower crown, nonetheless! Joone would approve, I'm sure.) You could also send this paper home with the children after you read the story, so they could try to make a crown at home. She has a sweet coloring sheet for Joone, as well.  

Thank you for stopping by and meeting my sweet friend, Joone.  If you haven't met her yet, I can't wait until you do.  You'll just love her.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Zombies Are Coming!! and spiders, and bats, and pumpkins.......

I believe in hands on Kindergarten.  Hands on First Grade too.  As a matter of fact I cannot think of a grade that could not use a good healthy dose of hands on.  Hi!  I'm Terri Izatt from KinderKapers and I wanted to talk to you about using stuff in your classroom.

Numbers is the first place I think of using stuff....all kinds of stuff to touch and count and manipulate.  Five year olds are very tactile.  They are not that far removed from the stage where absolutely everything goes into a the mouth.  Their fine motor skills still need work so big things are better, and I am always on the lookout for great things my Kinders can use as manipulatives for math.  The more they touch, move, and manipulate stuff, the easier it is to understand those abstract things we call numbers.

Halloween isles are filled with good things to use.  When I saw a package of eyeballs I just knew I needed them.  It didn't take long to realize that if I added a cauldron I would have all I needed to play a missing addend game.

The game is great for many different grade levels.  It is simple, but the math concepts and thinking can be complex.  The more you get your students talking about what they did, and what they were thinking, the deeper their understanding will be.  Using math talks and sentence stems is a great way to get started.  Here is one work mat I made to go with the eyeballs.
and here is one to use with those bat or spider rings.....

The game simply goes like this....take a certain number of things (in this case eyeballs or rings), count them so you are sure of how many you have.  Then while everyone hides their eyes, you put some in your container.  Everyone looks and tells you how many they see.  Now for the thinking....how many are in the cauldron?  When they tell you (right or wrong), ask them how they knew.  "What were you thinking?"  It is GREAT to get more than one way to figure out the answer.  Check the cauldron to see if they were right.  More discussion, especially if someone was mistaken.  How could they think differently, what could they have done differently?  My quickest student couldn't tell me how he knew.  When he stopped and thought, the words he used were all wrong.  So we talked about finding the words to explain our thinking.  Building vocabulary...building number sense...getting ready to add and subtract.  All wrapped up in this simple game.

You can create a simple recording sheet by inserting a table and some cute graphics onto a powerpoint slide.  I made this one to use in a center with my cauldron and eyeballs.
This one is free in my store:

You can change this game as often as you want.  I use jingle bells at Christmas and white pompoms in January.

You can use seashells, party favors, glass stones from your floral department, counting bears, dinosaurs, frogs, and let your imagination run wild.  Limit the number of manipulatives for struggling students and increase the number as students are ready.  Turn their recorded games into number sentences when they are ready for more abstract thinking. 

Most important...Have Fun (but don't let the Zombies get you)!  Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

When a Child Dies

In the last month, I have been tangentially connected to a child that died. 

When a Child Dies: Resources, Thoughts, Encouragement and a Poem

One of the original authors here at our collaborative blog posted on her FB page that she was seeking prayers for her young five year old cousin suddenly in the hospital. Within just a couple of days of my seeing her prayer request post and my own fervent personal prayers on his behalf, I saw her announcement that Jack had earned his heavenly wings. 

What possible response is appropriate when the absolute unthinkable happens? 

In my effort to offer some modicum of support in such a difficult and stressful time, I was reminded that I had written a little poem a couple of years earlier, when my friend's preschool nephew perished following his fierce fight with cancer. To send it? Not to send it?

What can you possibly say in the midst of such a tragic and personal moment? Particularly when you are not acquainted with the parents, but merely connected to the extended family. 

Here are some of my thoughts. 

And some simple research. 

"Life After a Child Dies"
{NYTimes Motherlode} 
"There is no word in the English language for a parent who loses a child. When our parents die we are orphans. When our spouse dies, we are widowed. When a child dies we are speechless." 

"Understanding Grief After a Child Dies" {Compassionate Friends} 
A very simple outline of the absolute range of emotions that can be anticipated. Physical & Spiritual aspects of grief. 
"The grief journey has many emotional peaks and valleys and lasts far longer than society in general recognizes." 

Compassionate Friends has a pdf with a helpful overview of reminders for those whose greatest wish is to support grieving parents. One bullet point that makes extreme sense to me when attempting to support grieving parents: 
"Stay away from "should's" -- for example: You should go out more, try to eat more (or less), go to your place of worship more, read this book, or come over for lunch." 

"When a Child Dies -- A Loss Like No Other" 
{Child Bereavement UK: pdf} 
".....but the pain of shattered dreams is no less whatever the age." 

"Finding my Tribe: A Place for Bereaved Parents to Belong." 
{Blog: The Mourning After Natasha} 
The first hand grieving experience of a bereaved mother. This particular post details the strength she has derived from being with others who have faced their own loss. 
"We've all been there, bawling in our cars," says one bereaved dad, who lost his son six years ago. We nod in unison." 

"How to Talk to a Parent who has Lost a Child. From Someone who has Been There."  10 Things I Wish Every Person Knew about The Death of a Child
{Blog MamaMia} 
First hand reflections four years after the loss of her infant daughter, this article is especially insightful.
"On the surface it appears society is accepting of this unbearable sadness and people are supportive and open to talking about it. However, in my situation I've been surprised by people's genuine kindness and empathy as much as I've been repeatedly shocked & disappointed by their lack of it." 

"After a Child Dies" 
{Christian Century: Religion Online}
"People will say, for instance, that time heals all wounds. But about two years after Daniel's death I was feeling not better but markedly worse. I was so discouraged and often so physically and emotionally anesthetized that I began to do research on the clinical findings about parental grief. I undertook this research mostly as an attempt to figure out if I was losing my mind and if I would ever start feeling better about life."  

When a Child Dies. Surviving the Death of Dreams. 
{Beliefnet: Inspire your Every Day}
Thoughts on building a legacy in honor of your child.
"Regardless of the brevity of your child's life, you can build a legacy out of the love you hold by allowing it to spill over into the lives of those you don't even know yet." 

Picture Books about Death and Grieving 
{Blog: No Time for Flashcards}
First hand review of five picture books, each with a theme of death. The 27 comments in response to this blog's collection offer additional 'favorite' books for children in response to death.  

Take away: Say something. Do something. 

I am a person of faith. My faith has been rocked on more than one occasion as I have dealt with the challenges of Planet Earth. My own divorce, my subsequent custody battle over my daughters. My own two diagnosis with Breast Cancer and all the surgery and treatment, have each sensitized me and in some way prepared me for my daughter's current divorce proceedings complete with custody battle. I know sorrow. I get grieving. I have some degree of sensitivity. 

Yet. My life's experience is in no way even in the ballpark of dealing with the death of a child. I know that. Every child's death is completely unimaginable.

Yet. I offer my simplistic poem here. Not as a bandaid for a tragedy. Depending on the family and the parents, my writing might be the absolute furthest thing from what they want to hear. 

Yet. For Carter's family for whom it was written and for Jack's family weeks ago, the words offered some iota of support. Those families each chose to share the sentiment at the 'celebrations-of-life' for their sons. 

I hope that you never need to have my sentiment for a family for whom you care deeply. 

P.S. This is a photograph taken of little Jack's nurses' station hospital monitor. Many who have seen it can clearly see the 'image' of what appears to be a child sized angel engaged in conversation with Jack. Not only do I see the two speaking to each other, but it gives me an unbelievable amount of strength for my own journey.

Take a look. Reach your own conclusions.  

The very morning that I sent my poem to Jack's family, I was going back through my phone's photo roll and deleting hundreds of photos in an effort to free up space. 

Following the 45 minute drive to my school visit for the day, my husband gave me a two minute warning, that we were nearly to our destination. Just as we entered the school's parking lot, I had gotten back to several dozen photos I'd taken of a 'thank you book' from Kinders, following one of my visits. 

In the midst of all of the drawings of rainbows and butterflies and me in crazy wild polka-dots..... there was one image of a child's handwriting that I had zoomed in on well over a year ago, cropped and saved. It was in that moment that a few more dots were connected for me.

On a parallel concluding note. I have gathered together 12 Bible passages that have brought me solace in times of sleeplessness and struggle. Perhaps they can help shore you up in times of your own need as well. 

12 Photographic Scripture Verses for Life's Challenging, Tough Times gathered by Debbie Clement

Friday, September 25, 2015

Science with a Song –  Connecting Music to STEAM
Maryann "Mar." Harman
Founder of Music with Mar., LLC

STEAM refers to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math. Music is part of the Art portion and very much belongs in the mix for all the wonderful enhancements it makes to learning.  For this blog, I am focusing on how the A  part of STEAM is weaved into the Science part.
Kids are never the problem. They are born scientists. The problem is always the adults. They beat the curiosity out of kids. They outnumber kids. They vote. They wield resources. That’s why my public focus is primarily adults. Neill deGrasse Tyson

While Neill changes the minds of adults, I will focus on children.   If he can get adults to understand, it will make teaching easier.  Thanks, Neill.   First keep in mind that our job isn’t to teach children to be scientists.  Our job is to awaken that little scientist, because he/she is already there. 

            Child Craft Education had me compose a series of songs to use in a science curriculum for early childhood - the "Celebrate Science Series".  I began researching, my head spinning with ideas.  I was to write five songs for each of the five strands of science : 
Physical Science
Life Science
Earth Science
Inquiry Science
Personal / Social Science

Knowing that music and movement get both hemispheres of the brain involved with the learning process, enhancing retention, I began to put together activities including music (songs, rhythm activities) / movement (dance, drama, games).

Nearly 100% of past winners in the prestigious Siemens Westinghouse Competition in math, science, and technology (for high school students) play one or more musical instruments.  The Midland Chemist 05BRAIN FACT Music creates a positive state for learning because it helps to reduce stress levels, heighten attention, enhance concentration, reinforce memory and stimulate motivation. Campbell, 97; Jensen,00

Albert Einstein said he discovered his theory of relativity through music.

“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a MUSICIAN. I often think in MUSIC. I live my daydreams in MUSIC. I see my life in terms of MUSIC

With all this proof, with so many great minds recognizing the role music plays in helping create a scientific mind, we MUST keep it in our education system.  Let’s explore some ways to do that with science.

Children often look at science as a ‘hard’ subject.  Let’s change that perspective.  Let’s get children to look at science as a very ‘interesting’ subject.  When I was younger, I was told magic was fun, interesting and science was hard.  But, wait.   Magic is science.  Looking at it that way, the subject became so much more appealing.

BRAIN FACT  Moving activates muscle memory, which is helpful for students who can only learn by moving .  Hannaford, 2005

Magnets  Using this brain fact, I asked myself "What does a magnet do?"  
It attracts or repels, much like swing dancing.  I taught the children to do what magnets do by swing dancing.  What better way to remember magnets then to have your whole body engaged in the activity of attracting and repelling?  With the appeal of such shows as "So, You Think You Can Dance", children actually enjoy learning this!
Check this song out on "Music Makes it Memorable".    Magnets

Onto using another BRAIN FACT ~ ~ ~ ~ 

BRAIN FACT When children act out stories, they are reviewing the organization of the story and putting things in sequence, a science process skill. Epstein & Trimis 02 
Songs like “Peanut Butter & Jelly” teach scientific process.   This can be such a fun lesson.   First is the conversation on what is needed, which could lead into who eats these sandwiches and who doesn't.  That of course could lend itself to graphing...  Oh my.....  My teacher Mind!!!!

      Sing the song and then have them tell you the ingredients - peanuts, grapes and bread.  (If you have a child with peanut allergies, you will have to modify the lesson.) The singing of the song itself teaches control of the voice as we sing "Peanut, peanut butter" and whisper "and jelly".  Acting out the words activate the motor cortex which aids in retention and comprehension.

Peanut Butter & Jelly
Peanut, peanut butter (sing) and jelly (whisper)
First you get some peanuts and you crack ‘em.  You crack 'em, crack 'em, crack 'em
Then you squash ‘em, squash ‘em, squash ‘em, squash ‘em, squash ‘em
Then you spread ‘em, spread ‘em, spread ‘em (peanut, peanut butter and jelly)
Then you get some grapes and you pick ‘em, pick 'em, pick 'em, pick 'em
And you smash ‘em, smash ‘em, smash ‘em
And you smear ‘em, smear ‘em, smear ‘em (peanut, peanut butter and jelly)
The you get some bread to make a sandwich
And then you bite it. You bite it. Bite it. Bite it.
And then you chew it. Chew it. Chew it.  Chew it (peanut, peanut butter and jelly)

After the song, make the sandwiches.   While eating the sandwiches, read a book to the children about it.  Perhaps Peanut Butter & Jelly. 

We think we’re just being silly;and all the while, the brain is learning scientific process.  Imagine that.   For other ideas for science songs, please visit :
Check out what's available at Songs for Teaching
Discovery Channel.  (This site does require a membership.)

Using music is a functional and necessary tool in the classroom.  It is getting more main stream acceptance.  A new show on TV has the lead star as a Music Teacher!  Yay!  Even better, this actor uses back beats/rhythm with music to help children learn.  I applaud the show because it displays how well music works in education.  We need more real life teachers doing this.  The number is growing.  Be a part of that number!

For more information, visit musicwithmar.com

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Kitchen Utensils and Paint Do Mix

It's Scott from Brick by Brick. I love to repurpose materials—use materials in ways different from their intended purpose.

I use all kinds of materials for purposes other than the intended ones. This happens frequently at my art table, especially when we're painting. I always say that you can paint with just about anything.

Recently we used kitchen items to paint and explore our creativity.

First we used a salad spinner to paint.

Salad Spinner Painting (Brick by Brick)

We cut paper to fit on our salad spinners. (We cut hearts this time but circles or other shapes would work, too.) We dropped paint on the paper, put the lid on our spinner, and then spun the paper to make cool designs.

Salad Spinner Painting (Brick by Brick)

We had another fun art exploration with paint and forks. Yes, ordinary plastic forks. 

Fork Painting (Brick by Brick)

We learned that you can use forks to make designs in all kinds of ways. You can swipe the fork, press the fork to make prints, drag the fork to make lines, or do all of these to create cool shapes. We even learned that placing different colors of paint on top of one another creates new colors!

Fork Painting (Brick by Brick)

You could use other kitchen items to paint.
  • Use rolling pins to create wide designs. Or drop paint on paper, fold it, and then roll over it with the rolling pin.
  • Make prints with potato mashers, whisks, or cookie cutters.
  • Paint the bottom of muffin pans and create dot or circle designs.
  • Lay out many different kitchen items and paint. Let the kids experiment and explore.
What things from the kitchen have you used to paint? Experiment today!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Pennies, Nickels, Dimes, Quarters . . . and Dance!

Hello Autumn, and Hello EC Community!

We all know that children learn in different ways.  Movement can help to teach and reinforce numbers, counting, and early math skills. Try this quick and easy movement activity about coins and their values.  The activity, presented in two parts, can help young children to learn to identify pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters, and then to recognize that each coin has a different value and what those values are.

Coin Dance

Time:  Approximately 20 minutes
Materials:  Separate representations of each of the four coins, on paper or cardboard, large enough for all of the children to see and identify 

Part 1:  Identifying the Coins
    Place the children in home spots evenly spaced throughout the room, or standing in a circle with plenty of room between each child, or standing by tables or desks.

    Show the coin pictures one by one.  Identify them for the children.   Repeat as needed. 

    Now tell the children:  I will hold one of the coins up, and instead of telling me what it is, I would like for you to show me in movement:

If I hold up a penny, I would like you to sit down and stand back up.  

If I hold up the nickel, I would like you to go up on your tiptoes and then come back down.  

If I hold up the dime, I would like you to bounce (bending your knees) or jump.  

If I hold up the quarter, I would like you to march in place.
    Repeat the game as long as the children are engaged and until they can identify the coins.

Part 2:  Identifying the Value of the Coins

    Expand the game by having the children identify the value of the coin (again when you hold up the pictures one by one) by doing the following number of movements assigned to each coin (the same number of movements as the value of each coin).  This is a surprisingly lively activity, even though they will be staying in one spot throughout.

    Penny: The children will go down to the floor and back up once.  

    Nickel:  The children will balance on their tiptoes for five counts.  

    Dime:  The children will do ten small bounces or jumps in place

    Quarter:  The children will march in place for twenty-five counts 

    Encourage the children to count along with you as they are doing the movements.  Repeat the activity another day, and have the children make up their own movements!

Do 10 small jumps when I hold up the dime!

Keep on dancin',





Friday, September 18, 2015


Ms. Brigid here, from Merit School of Music  in Chicago. Thank you for joining me.

Cover Art: Kim Arden,
 Graphic Alchemy
Drum roll, please for two announcements:
1. The Fall 2015 issue of PIO! (Pass It On!) is now live and available! As the new editor, I’m especially proud. Members have access to all the amazing content. The digital format makes navigation a breeze! 
Non-members – never fear.  
Much of the content is available for you to read for free, including A Conversation with Stuart Stotts by Pre-K and K Sharing’s own Carole Stephens! Find out more about CMN’s amazing resources through Lisa Heintz’s Sharing Our Strengths, The CMN Song Library. If you work with babies, Gari Stein’s In Tune with Babies will delight you. 

All Reports are open content, as is New Sounds, which features CDs released by Children’s Music Network (CMN) members. I’ve already had the pleasure of listening to Kristin Lems You, Me, and All of the Above, Barb Tilsen’s Take the Seed, and Patricia Shih’s Lovabies – and my vote is “fabulous!” Three CDs down and ten more to go! I hope you’ll be excited about all CMN has to offer – and become a member!

2. The annual Children’s Music Network Conference, is being held in Zion, Illinois, from October 16-18. This year’s theme is Open the Circle. Musicians, teachers, songwriters, librarians, families, and friends from all over the U.S. and Canada will come together to raise their voices in song, share resources, celebrate the life of Pete Seeger, and attend engaging and relevant workshops on the shores of Lake Michigan. Lots of special events are going to be offered, including nature walks, yoga, a barn dance, and more. If you’re new to CMN, we’ll even match you up with a “buddy” for instant connection! Come for the music – and stay for the laugher and fellowship.

Sing, Sing a Song…and Dance a Dance
Last month’s post, Starting the Year With a Song – and CMN, presented two engaging hello songs to start the year off with: Mary Wore Her Red Dress and Time to Say Hello. Here are two more of my favorites – which also incorporate movement.

Clap Your Hands
Jessica (and daughter) from Intellidance!
Clap Your Hands is an adaptation of Old Joe Clark, an American heritage song, and shares the same melody. The beauty of this song is its versatility. It can be sung while seated or standing, is easily adapted for instrument play, and works as a circle dance by holding hands and dancing in one direction during the interlude. Depending on the abilities of your class, if you want to get fancy, change directions midway! The repetition, labeling, and singing what you do is helpful for young children and English language learners. NOTE: It is perfectly fine to sing the song without the interlude, but I love the plaintive, Mixolydian melody, and the extended option for movement.  

Clap, clap, clap your hands,                        Clap your hands together.
Clap, clap, clap your hands,                        Clap your hands together.
                     Musical Interlude: Sing interlude on “la.” 
2. Stamp, stamp, stamp your feet…
3. Tap, tap, tap your toes…

Turn this into a welcome song by adding names of the kiddos of your class.
Sing, sing, sing hello,                         Sing hello to Briana…
Clap, clap, clap hello,                         Clap hello to Frannie…
Stomp, stomp, stomp hello,                 Stomp your feet to Will…
Reach, reach, reach hello,                  Reach up high to Gari…

Instrument Play ideas:
Rub, rub, rub your sticks, rub your sticks together…
Walk, walk, walk your sticks…
Fly, fly, fly your sticks…
Shake, shake, shake your bells…
Beat, beat, beat the drum…

If you want to learn more about Old Joe Clark, Aubrey Atwater, performer and teacher, presents a deeper look at the song. Her version starts with the dance “interlude.” 

And I can’t resist including this amazing YouTube flashback from 1964 which features the amazing “Stringbean” playing an uptempo version of the song. Enjoy!

Hello, Friends!
CMN friends Fran McKinney and Candy Heitner brought related versions of this partner song to a Midwest Regional Gathering many years ago. It has since become a favorite with my kiddos, who especially love the “boogie on down.” The words are “piggybacked” onto the melody, Good Night, Ladies. NOTE: In the spirit of “everything I know I learned from YouTube,” I was surprised that most of the videos' melodies went directly from Good Night Ladies to Merrily We Roll Along – which I’ve always thought of as a distinct and separate song. Something more to research!

Dance Directions:
Introduce the song, asking students to listen and rock side to side with the beat. I model rocking with “windshield wiper hands,” which makes the transition to the partner dance smoother.

  • On the second repetition, the class stands in a circle, and echoes while rocking. At this point, it is still an individual activity. Add actions.
  •  Invite a child to be your partner, and demonstrate the dance. Pointing out that all movements are performed gently is never wasted…though sometimes ignored!
  • Ask children to turn to their neighbor – the person standing next to them. It’s important to minimize chaos while teaching the dance. In 3-5 year old classroom, consider matching older students with younger, since shaking hands can be tricky. NOTE: Take time to talk about shaking hands. Demonstrate that arms cross the body. I ask the children to make an “X” with their hands, then tap the hands that need to be dropped.
  •  Dance!
  •  Find a new partner and dance again. Then again!
  • Add other language, e.g., Shalom, neighbor; Bonjour, neighbor; Hola, neighbor; Joon san, neighbor; Merhaba, neighbor, etc.
Hello, neighbor! / What do you say?                         (Both hands are placed flat on partner’s hands.
It's going to be / A happy day.                                    Rock side to side)
Greet your neighbor.                                                  (Shake hands with partner)  
Boogie on down. / Give a bump & turn around.        (Wiggle body  / Bump hips / Turn around once)

This is a great parent/child activity – for a dedicated music class, family gathering or Informance. BONUS: This song can also be used for a goodbye song!

Goodbye friends. (x3)
We’ll see you all next week. (Cha Cha Cha!)

Happy Singing!

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 It’s free, fun, and facilitated by singers and storytellers Amy Lowe, Irica Baurer & Brigid Finucane. Stories and songs start at 11am, and we end with instrument exploration and family networking. The next session is August 24. Starting in September, Storytime is going to be offered once a month on the 2nd Monday.

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 * gardengoddess1@comcast.net

Blog History
June 2015. Summer Songs

Aug. 2014. Educators Who Care, Share. Singers, Sites & Songs – Part II: Midwest & Great Lakes (Listening Locally)          

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