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Sample Content

Alabama Gal

Teaching the Song With the Poster
Teaching the Song With the Poster
Preparing to Use Instruments
Preparing to Use Instruments
Instrument Demonstration
Instrument Demonstration
Beginner Level Play Party
Beginner Level Play Party
Intermediate Level Play Party
Intermediate Level Play Party
Advanced Level Play Party
Advanced Level Play Party

Materials:

  • Poster (download from this page.) Watch this video for tips on putting posters together.
  • Glockenspiels (optional).

Lyrics:

Come through ‘na hurry,
Come through ‘na hurry,
Come through ‘na hurry,
Alabama Gal

I don't know how, how
I don't know how how
I don't know how how
Alabama Gal

I'll show you how, how
I'll show you how, how
I'll show you how, how
Alabama gal

Well ain't I rock candy
Ain't I rock candy
Ain't I rock candy
Alabama Gal

Recommended Grades: 

K-6

For Grades K-2:

Children enjoy learning the song from the poster.  Once they have learned the song, try these activities:

Activity 1, skipping with the phrase (see animation):

  • Have the children stand fairly evenly spaced around the room.  You can tell them “not too close to a wall and not too close to another person,”  or state the obvious: “you need to have enough space around you so that someone can skip there.”
  • One child is the skipper.  He skips around the room until he tags another child on the last word of the phrase: “gal.”  He sits down, and the tagged child begins skipping around the room.
  • When all are seated, the game ends.

Activity 2, Instruments (see videos):

  • Prepare the glockenspiels for grades K-1 by removing all bars except octave C’s and the F in the middle (see video). With second graders, just use your best judgement based on their skills about how many bars you'd like to remove, if any.
  • Prepare the kids for playing the instruments by having them sit criss-cross on the floor.  Pat the beat on your knees with both hands, then on the final “gal” reach forward and hit the floor with one palm.  You can point out that they hit the floor at the same time they tagged someone in the skipping activity.
  • Transfer this movement to the instruments:  play unison Cs on the beat until the final work “gal” and strike the F with one mallet. 
  • If you have only a few instruments and a large class, sit in a circle.  Start with two glockenspiels, each played by the child on either side of you.  When they've finished playing one verse, they pass their instruments in opposite directions around the circle.  (You can see a demonstration of this approach in the video for "Gentle Song." This way, the other children can see that an instrument is quickly headed their way!  When not playing, the other children should continue singing and doing the body motions that mimic playing the instrument.
  • When the kids are ready, you can have some kids play the instruments while others play the game.

For Grades 2-6:

Alabama Gal is a classic play-party!   You can use the intermediate version or the advanced version, which includes reeling down the set. Begin with two lines of kids, facing each other in a longways set. 

Intermediate (See Animation):

Works well with a large group:

Come through ‘na hurry: 1st couple sashays down the set and back up:  8 counts to go down, 8 back up

I don’t know how: All couples swing right arms for 8 beats, then left arms for 8 beats  (or touch right hands and turn 8 beats, then left hands and turn 8 beats.)

I’ll show you: Peel the banana, then head couple makes an arch.

Well ain’t I rock candy:  All go under the arch and back up the top.

Advanced (See Animation):

You need to have just four couples for this version, so you might want to have multiple dances going at once. 

Come through ‘na hurry: 1st couple sashays down the set and back up: 8 counts to go down, 8 back up

I don’t know how and I'll show you how:  The partners reel down the set by swinging one and a half times around with each other, then with the person in the opposite line, then back once with each other, then on down the line.  Take four beats to swing with each partner.

Ain't I rock candy: Head couple stays at the bottom of the set and makes an arch, while the rest "peel the banana" and go underneath the arch and back up to the top of the set.

Suggestions for Teaching:

  • Have a boys’ line and girls’ line the first time you play.  The kids might protest at having to have an opposite-sex partner.  However, especially with the advanced version, you can explain, "this way, if you make a mistake and end up in the wrong line, it will be very obvious and you can fix the problem!"  Then you can tell them that if they do well, you'll let them choose a partner next time.

Adding Instruments for Improvisation:

  • Set up barred instruments in F pentatonic (F, G, A, C, D)
  • The class sings the first verse while playing the simple accompaniment shown in the video.  Then, they play the accompaniment again while one student improvises a melody on the pentatonic scale for 8 bars (the length of one verse.)  The class then sings the second verse while continuing to play. Continue this pattern until all children have had a turn to improvise. (See "score for improvisation") You can also listen to the audio recording for an example.
  • Make sure the kids are seated in a way that makes it clear who the next soloist is--for example, in a circle.
  • Note:  If the accompaniment is too loud to hear the soloist, either emphasize to the students the importance of playing softly.  You can also have just a few students playing the accompaniment during the solo if necessary.

Skills and Concepts:

  • Low so:  approached from low la.
  • Do-Based Pentatonic: contains every note of the pentatonic scale.
  • (syncopa): featured repeatedly, at the beginning of the first three lines of each verse.  The repetition is great for reinforcing the concept.
  • Phrase: using the skipping activity for younger children
  • Repeat Sign: As shown in the poster for repeating lyrics and rhythms.
  • Improvising Melody: On barred instruments as individual sololists

Little Circle, Little Circle (Pig Drawing Song)

How to Draw the Picture
How to Draw the Picture

Lyrics:

Little circle, little circle, bigger circle
Little circle, little circle, bigger circle
Half circle, half circle, bigger circle
W, W, E, E, E

Recommended Grades:

1-6

About the Song:

Songs that describe how to draw a picture are very popular in Japan--they're called "Ekaki Uta." This American drawing song is almost certainly a variant of "The Teddy Bear Drawing Song," versions of which are common in Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Japan.  This one was collected in Chicago in 2012.  Nearly every child in the school knew it!  It seems to be popular everywhere in the U.S.  The melody is almost identical to "Paw Paw Patch."  See the animation to learn how to draw the pig!

Teaching Suggestions:

  • PreK-K: Draw the picture for the kids.
  • Grades 1-3:  Have the kids draw on their own pieces of paper while they sing.  You can also have crayons or markers for the kids to color the pigs when they're done with the drawing.
  • See if the class can invent a song about the pig they've just drawn.  You can encourage details like the pig's name, where he's going, what he's doing that day, and who his friends are.
  • Grades 4-6:  Try teaching it alongside a number of other drawing songs.  (You can find more drawing songs on the search page under "Genre.")  They will be excited about the concept and learn each one very quickly.  You can challenge the kids to make a simple drawing and then invent a song about how to recreate it! 

Skills and Concepts:

  • (tiri-tiri):  Use just the first two lines (little circle, little circle) for great examples of tiri-tiri!
  • (ti-tiri): the words "half-circle" perfectly demonstrate the ti-tiri.
  • Low Ti:  The "ti" in this song is part of a clearly outlined dominant chord
  • Form: Taking just the text, you have AABC form.  With the melody, it's ABAC.
  • 2/4 Meter:  This is a great example of 2/4 meter, since it has no pick-ups.

Bobo Ski Waten Taten

Animation of the Clap
Animation of the Clap

Lyrics:

Bobo ski waten taten
Eh, eh, eh eh boom boom boom

Bobo ski waten taten
Eh, eh, eh eh boom boom boom

Itty bitty waten taten
Bobo ski waten taten
Bobo ski waten taten
Freeze, freeze, American cheese
Please don't show your______ to me

Recommended Grades:

4-6

About the Song

This handclap is popular on the east coast, particularly in the New York City and Long Island areas.  It's been played there for at least 30 years!  Depending on your area, as soon as you start teaching it, the kids might burst into song, leap up, and begin the handclap!  You may hear some versions that don’t repeat the “bobo ski waten taten” at the beginning.  Do whichever version you like.  Even though it's best to introduce the song in grades 4-6, because of the complexity of the hand clap, you may still find your younger students coming in to class and performing it perfectly, having learned it from their older siblings!  Clapping directions are written on the score, but you may find the pattern easier to learn from the animation.

Kids will come up with all sorts of ways to fill in "please don't show your ___" to me.  Here are some suggestions to get them going:

  • teeth: curl lips under
  • elbows: stick elbows to sides
  • knees: go to kneeling position
  • face: turn head to the side
  • ear: raise arms in the air so that the top of the arm covers the ear
  • eyes: close eyes
  • front: turn around and try the handclap behind your back.  Usually impossible but quite funny!

Skills and Concepts:

  • (Syncopa/ti-ta-ti)  The entire first half of the song (up until "itty bitty") is great for syncopa!
  • Low Sol: this note is introduced just under la, and then jumps back to it from mi.
  • Do-based pentatonic (do, re, mi, low la, low sol).

Bate Bate Chocolate

Using the Poster
Using the Poster
Animation of the Game
Animation of the Game

Materials: (Optional):

  • Poster (download from this page.)

Lyrics:

Bate, bate, chocolate
Con arroz y con tomate.
Uno, dos, tres, cho!
Uno, dos, tres, co!
Uno, dos, tres, la!
Uno, dos, tres, te!
Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!

About the Song:

This chant is a Mexican children's playground game.  The words may be referencing the making of mole sauce, which includes tomato and cocoa. You can let the kids know that the sauce is delicious, unlike eating a tomato with a chocolate bar, which might not sound appealing.

Recommended Grades:

K-3

Teaching the Song:

  • After using the poster to teach the song, invite one child up to help demonstrate the spinning partner activity with you.
  • After that child learns the game, have another child come up and take your place, so now two students are demonstrating--one who learned it with you, and one who just observed. 
  • Gradually add more pairs until you have reached the maximum number who can safely execute the game in the space you have.  Because the spinning at the end of the chant requires a lot of room, you may want to have only a few sets of partners go at a time while the rest of the class watches.

Skills and Concepts:

and (titi and ta):  This chant contains only quarter notes and eighth notes, and is wonderful for practicing these rhythms. Having so many eighth notes in a row sets this chant apart from the typical "titi ta" songs.

Steady Beat:  The children's move their arms back and forth with the beat.

Accelerando:  At the end of the chant, the word "chocolate" may be said faster and faster.

4/4 Meter:  Each phrase of this chant falls nicely into a 4-beat measure.

Testimonials

This is the BEST website I’ve ever used for songs, singing games, Orff extensions, and general music curriculum. I have been using it now for 7 months and my students LOVE the music available on the site. The demonstration videos of singing games are helpful for both teacher and students, as well. The website offers the music, demo videos, PDF downloads of songs, Orff arrangements for some of the pieces, printable posters, and more.
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I'm in my 4th year of teaching PK-7--the only music teacher at a small private school. What a delight to come across this site! I've been searching for a subscription to refresh my music curriculum and this has surpassed my expectations. My students love the activities and visuals. The helpful videos are brilliant and make it so much easier to learn new material before teaching it. Thank you for inspiring my approach and saving me valuable time.
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Can I just tell you how much my students and I LOVED some of the songs that you share? I'm forever hunting through library books and always looking for older songs that incorporate movement. Your collection is beautiful. I must say thank you!
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