I posted a few weeks ago about a great little song from Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang, Farm Animal Friends. It's a great tune for the classroom or at home. As of this posting, it's available as a free download at the Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang website. Can't beat free! While you are there check out some more of their fun songs.
I wrote a long while back about how Eensey Weensey Spider (or Itsy Bitsy Spider) was voted the most popular children's song in America in a poll conducted by ZeroToThree. org. Understandably so. Great melody. Fantastic images. Fun fingerplay. And a nice, concise message about perseverance.
However, for some young learners, the combination of singing and doing the fingerplay can be a little intimidating and frustrating. Some toddlers may become frustrated when they can’t make the spider gesture with their fingers, so make sure that you take your time with this song. Before actually singing, sit down to talk about spiders. If you have a stuffed animal spider, or toy spider, sing the song for your kids once using the spider as a prop. Or, read an “Itsy Bitsy Spider” picture book first.
Then say, “Can you make a spider with your fingers?” Show them how to put their thumb and forefinger together and walk their fingers up. Put the tip of your index finger on the right hand on the tip of your thumb on the left hand…walk your fingers up…putting the index finger of your left hand on the thumb of your right hand.
Don’t worry about exactly how you put your fingers together. Most children won't gain the manual dexterity to do the fingerplay just right until they are 4 or so. Younger children without the dexterity to do this yet can just twist their hands next to each other. Or, as Tanja-sensei recommends, just walk two fingers up your arm.
Here's a fun, step-by-step post from Thingamababy.com about how to perform the Itsy Bitsy Spider. When you are finished with that get ready to do the Eensey Weensey Spider with Jeremy-sensei:
This internet thing is pretty cool. In the past two weeks I've had a chance to communicate with teachers and musicians in Japan, Chile, Argentina, South Korea, Taiwan, France, and the U.S., mostly by contacts made through this blog and through the Super Simple Songs youTube channel. Amazing.
I had a brief exchange with a teacher about the popularity of the Five Little Monkeys. She was was working on a play and chant with her students based on those 5 monkeys teasing Mr. Crocodile and wrote, "BTW… what Is it with 5 monkeys doing everything??"
Good question. What IS with the 5 little monkeys doing everything, why do kids love it so much, and why has it become a staple of preschools everywhere?
Well, it starts with the rhythm of the lyrics. You can sing and chant the lyrics in any number of ways and it always rolls off the tongue just right.
And then you have another hallmark of great songs and chants for preschoolers...repetition. Like the Wheels on the Bus, The Hokey Pokey, 5 little ducks, etc., the verses stay the same with small changes each time. This allows young learners to gain confidence in their ability to sing the song, an important factor in their "I can do it by myself" stage, while still challenging them a little bit.
It's also comforting to know that Mama is always there to take care of the monkeys when they fall. Falling off the bed and bumping your head sounds a bit rough, but young kids bump their heads 5 times a day. It's nice to know Mama will be there for you.
It's an active chant that's easy to make up gestures for. And perhaps above all, it's one of those songs/chants which you can immediately picture in your head. Monkeys are FUNNY! Monkeys jumping on the bed??? VERY FUNNY!
Here's our version of 5 Little Monkeys...music by Troy-sensei, video by Jeremy-sensei. Enjoy!
Just stumbled upon a great song for young learners and emerging speakers at youTube. Love it. Very simple but beautifully crafted.
Thanks to Patricia for sharing the video. I had a chance to talk with Patricia in Paris by Skype yesterday, and it sounds like she has a really great project going. This song appears on a CD of 3 gorgeous, original compositions, with instrumental versions and audio exercises, and a 60-page book of watercolor illustrations that children love looking at. You can find out more here, or at Patricia's blog.