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Previously published articles by Miss Jackie Silberg


Musical Ideas to Start the School Year!

by Jackie Silberg

Let each child bring a favorite CD to school.  This makes the child feel important and gives the teacher an insight into what kind of music the children enjoy.
 
Tape sounds that are familiar to the children in your classroom (traffic, the playground, classmates’ voices, teacher’s voice, etc.)  Play “Name That Sound.” Let the children identify the sounds on the tape.  (This is wonderful for developing listening skills.)
 
Sing songs that develop sequencing, such as “What Do You Like?” by Miss Jackie, “The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” and “Old MacDonald.”  Sequencing, a very important prereading skill, is one that can be practiced easily through music.
 
With the use of a drum (a hand drum, preferably), develop concepts of fast/slow and loud/soft.  Ask the children to move to the music as you hit the drum, first quickly, then slowly.  Ask the children to clap their hands or stamp their feet accordingly as you hit the drum loudly and softly. 
 
Tell a story using program music.  After the story has been told, play the music and let the children listen for specific parts.  Suggested pieces with specific stories that go with the music include “On the Trail” from The Grand Canyon Suite (by Ferde Grofe), “Pictures at an Exhibition” (by Moussorgsky), “Swan Lake” (by Tchaikovsky) and “Morning” from The Peer Gynt Suite (by Grieg). 

Go through all of your  rhythm instruments with the children and find words to describe their sounds—happy, sad, excited, angry, scared, etc.—then play this game.  “How did you feel this morning, John?” the teacher asks one of the children.  John then comes up and plays an instrument describing his feelings. (Note: this game can help young children get in touch with their feelings.
 
Find pictures to illustrate lyrics of songs that the children know.  Hold up a picture as the children sing the song.  For example, hold up pictures of each finger as the children sing “Where is Thumbkin?”  (During the last verse—Where’s the whole family?” –you could hold up pictures the children have outlined of their own hands.)  Other easily illustrated songs are “The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,” “Five Little Monkeys” and “The Wheels on the Bus.”  Musical games such as this one are visually stimulating and develop thinking skills.
 
Pass out rhythm sticks of various colors to the children. (Rhythm sticks usually come in primary colors.) Have the children hold them in their laps.  Sing a familiar song such as “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” The teacher holds up a color card (for example, blue) and those children with blue sticks hold them in the air and pretend to conduct  When the teacher puts down the card, the children put down their sticks.
 
Here’s an example: (Blue card) “Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are.” (Red card) “Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky.” (Green card) “Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are.”
 
This game teaches color identification, matching and develops gross motor skills.
 
Make your own wind chimes by hanging nails from a string.
 
If you have access to a piano or autoharp, you can give a wonderful science lesson.  Pluck the largest, thickest string; watch it vibrate.  Pluck the smallest, shortest string; you can hear the high sound but cannot see it move, because it is vibrating so fast. (This is how sound is produced: the movement of air.) 

Another experiment demonstrating vibration is stretching a rubber band while a child plucks its center. The more tightly you stretch the rubber band, the higher its sound; the more loosely you stretch it, the lower the sound.  This is a visual and auditory experience of how sound is produced.

early childhood books by jackie silberg

Creative Dramatics Help Children Communicate

Article by Scott Weissman

When I was four I spent every night fighting aliens and sea monsters from my supersonic submarine-spaceship. I employed my magical powers to defeat these creatures and, after each success, was rewarded by the president of the universe. Although I’m now an "adult," my life is still full of fantasy and pretending: I am a teacher of creative dramatics and an actor. I have not found a more powerful tool than creative dramatics to further the social, intellectual and personal growth of the young child.

The young child is especially spontaneous and creative, already an actor, constantly pretending and inventing and imagining. To use creative dramatics is simply to encourage what is natural to the child. A supportive environment in which children feel free to explore their genuine feelings should be provided. Here are some specific exercises that can be used with three- to five-year-old children.

Shake It Up
Have the children isolate different parts of their bodies and shake them. They shake their heads, hands, feet, toes, etc. This warmup helps develop motor skills and, for younger children, cognitive skills as well (they identify and move each body part).

Human Mirror
Have each child find a partner and ask the partners to face one another. One person is designated as "leader" and the other as the "mirror." You can have them switch roles any time during the exercise. The leader starts the motion and the partner mirrors the leader’s every movement. Encourage each pair to really stay and work together. This exercise teaches cooperation and heightens a child’s concentration abilities. I like using "Human Mirror" before asking children to do more academic work.

You Bring out the Animal in Me
Take a trip to the zoo or look in animal picture books. Have each child pick out a favorite animal. In the classroom, they then imitate the movements and sound of the animal they have chosen. Encourage them to really move and sound like their particular animal. At a later point, suggest that their animals have learned to speak English. The children can then share with the class what life is like as a cat or a dog or a giraffe. Use your own creativity with this exercise—the possibilities are limitless!

Living Story
Read the children a story and have them act it out. It is helpful to provide props for this game and to assign the children parts for which they seem unsuited. For example, a shy, reticent child might play the Big Bad Wolf while a more aggressive child might play Little Red Riding Hood. In this way the children explore sides of themselves that they are not used to showing. This exercise is important to the development of a positive self-concept. Children learn they have many sides to themselves in an environment which encourages and supports them exploring these many sides. They then become more accepting of their own variety; they become more fully themselves.

These exercises are but a small sampling and demonstrate the versatility of a "creative dramatics" approach to educating the young child. You can use this approach to communicate cognitive, motor, social and interpersonal skills. and the learning will become dynamic, fun, immediate and experiential.

Ten Laughing and Having Fun Games for Toddlers and Twos

18 Five Minute Games that Develop Imagination

When you only have five minutes or less, here are some wonderful games that you and your children will love:

1. Imagination -5 minutes

Develops creativity

Pretend to be a leaf up high in a tree.
All of sudden the wind blows you off the tree and you are floating very gently to the ground. What do you see as you float downward? Where do you land?
Model the movement for the children and let them pretend to be the leaves. When they have reached the ground, let the children share what they saw on the way down and where they have landed.

2. A Different Simon - 3 minutes

Develops thinking skills

Play a version of Simon Says. Instead of Simon doing actions, have Simon make sounds. Simon says "cough." Simon says "sneeze." Simon says "laugh," etc.

Instead of saying Simon, let the leader use his own name or make up silly names of cartoon characters and favorite TV personalities.

3. Fortune Teller - 5 minutes

Develops imagination

One child is chosen to be the fortune teller. If you can find a crystal ball and some kind of interesting hat to put on the fortune teller's head, this makes the game even more fun.

The fortune teller sits at a table and one child at a time comes forward and sits in the chair opposite him.

The entire class chants:

Fortune teller, fortune teller
Can you see?
When ----(child's name) grows up
What will she be?

The fortune teller rubs the crystal ball and gives an answer.

Before you play this game, it is a good idea to talk about the different kinds of jobs that grownups have.

4. Ride a Little Horsy - 3 minutes

Teaches - fun

Pretend you are riding a horse. Hold on to the reins as you say the following poem.

Ride a little horsy
Down to town
You better be careful
So you don't fall down

When you say the words "fall down" everyone falls down.

You can say this poem very slowly and very fast. Great fun!!

5. Can you guess? - 5 minutes

Develops imagination

Pretend with the children to do many different things. Hit a baseball, jump rope, put on boots, etc. Make up many things and do each of them with the children.

Now ask one child at a time to pretend to do something without telling the class what it is.

When the child is finished, let the class guess.

6. Magic Wand -5 minutes

Develops imagination

Make a magic wand from rolled up paper or buy a commercial one.

Give the wand to a child and have him say the following

Aba ca dabra
Ziggety Zee
You can be a ......

Point the wand to one child and tell him what to be. The child then acts out what he is told.

Animals are good ideas to suggest to the person holding the wand.

7. What Would You Do? - 4 minutes

Develops thinking skills

Talk with the children about different kinds of jobs. Community helpers are a good place to start.

The teacher says:

What would you do?
What would you do?
What would you do if you.......
Were a ---- (name of job) ex: police officer?

Choose one child who wants to give you the answer. When that child is through, ask the children if anyone else has an idea about what he would do if he were a police officer.

8. Silly Singing - 3 minutes

Develops humor

Choose a song that the children already know and change the words.

For example "Yankee Doodle." Instead of calling it "macaroni" let the children make other suggestions. Call it "pizza" call it "ice cream," etc.

Here are some other ideas.

In "Skip to My Lou" one of the verses says "flies in the buttermilk, shoo, fly, shoo." Change "flies to another insect and change "buttermilk" to something else to drink. It could be "ants in the orange juice." etc

Remember "Alice in Wonderland?" Twinkle, twinkle, little bat....Ask the children what else could twinkle...snow, moon, lightening bug. Make up new verses.

9. Making Wishes - 5 minutes

Develops imagination

Use the magic wand from another game and this time choose someone to be the fairy godfather or godmother.

This child will get to tap the chosen child on the head when it's time to make a wish.

Say the words:
Make a wish
Make a wish
Now it's time to make a wish

The godfather taps a child gently on the head and this child gets to make a wish.

It's important to talk about wishes before you play the game.

10. Creative cupcakes - 5 minutes

Teaches creative skills

When serving a special treat, give the children cupcakes with white icing.
Give them an assortment of colored sprinkles and let them decorate their own cupcakes.
If you pass out red hots, the children can pretend that their cupcakes have the chickenpox.

11. Imaginary Walk - 5 minutes

Develops imagination

Take an imaginary walk through your school. Ask the children to close their eyes and imagine a particular place in the school...for example, the playground.

Ask the children what sounds they would hear if they were on the playground. As they name the sounds, ask them to make that particular sound.

This is a very good lesson in cognitive thinking.

12. Buzzing Bees - 3 minutes

Develops imagination

Cleaning up after an activity can sometimes be very frustrating.

Pretend to be a buzzing be cleaning up the room or moving from one activity to another. You can buzz around and pick up things or buzz to a learning center or buzz to a cot for a nap.

You could also play the music Flight of the Bumblebee by Rimsky Korsakoff as the children buzz around.

13. The Mailbox - 3 minutes

Teaches about the mail

The mailbox on the corner
Eats all the livelong day
It nibbles cards and letters
In an amazing way
I wonder how it holds so much
If I ate a pie or cake
The way that box eats letters,
I'd have a tummy ache.

This is a good poem to introduce a theme on mailing cards and letters.
Talk about the mail carrier and where she goes with her mail.

14. Pass the Potato_ 5 minutes

Develops social skills

Sit the children in a circle and say the following poem to the rhythm of the song "London Bridges."

Round the circle, here it comes
Here it come, here it comes
Round the circle, here it comes
Pass the potato

As the children are saying this rhyme, they pass a potato from one to another. When the rhyme is finished, the child left holding the potato get to come into the circle and pretend he is eating a potato. He can also tell what kind of potato he is eating...mashed, fried, boiled, etc.

You can play this game with any kind of food that you choose.

15. New Fairy Tales - 5 minutes

Develops creative thinking

Think about ways that you could change the stories that your children already know.

Talk to the children about different ideas and at a different time, you could act out the new stories.

Three Billy Goats Gruff - change the "gruff" to "nice" or "kind" and let the children think of what a nice troll and a nice Billy goat would say.

Cinderella - change Cinderella to a boy and let him have a fairy godfather. As you think through the story you can change the dialogue and the events.

These are wonderful experiments in developing creativity in children by showing them how to look at something from a different point of view.

16. Old Mother Hubbard - 5 minutes

Develops creative thinking

This poem gives children a chance to spread their creative wings.

Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard
To get her poor dog a bone
When she got there
The cupboard was bare
And so her poor dog had none.

After the children have recited the poem, try substituting words. "She went to the cupboard to get her poor dog a ----------." Let the children fill in the words...a pizza, a dress, a hat, etc.

When they can do this, change the word "dog" to another animal. "to get her poor giraffe a cake." "To get her poor hippopotamus a banana."

You’ll have great fun with this nursery rhyme.

17. Wishing - 3 minutes

Develops language

Seat the children in a circle. Start the game by saying "I wish I could take a trip to Disneyland."

Let each child tell repeat the same sentence and putting in their own ideas instead of Disneyland.

This is an excellent game to use when you only have a few minutes. Some other wishes are:

I wish I could give a -----------to my mom.
I wish I could go to the mall and buy ------------.
I wish I could go to the zoo and bring home a ---------

18. Naming Pictures - 4 minutes

Develops imagination

Cut out interesting pictures from magazine and mount them on heavy paper. Show a picture to the children and give it a title. For example a picture of children playing with a ball could be "Watch out, here comes the ball."

Hold up the next picture and let the children give a title for the picture. If they don't have ideas, help them out. After you have done a few, they will get the idea and enjoy using their imagination.

Music About Animals and Insects - by Miss Jackie Silberg

The father in line in front of me at a fast-food restaurant was playing with his young child. "What does the horsy say?" the father asked. The child gave a whinny. "What does the cow say?" the father asked. "Moo," replied the child.

Sound familiar? Have you ever wondered why young children are so fascinated with animals and insects and why they love to make the sounds of cows, dogs, bees, etc.?

Children relate to animal movement because it is similar to their own.

Animal sounds are easy to make and, since little children are learning to talk, it's a lot easier to make one or two sounds instead of an entire sentence. Also, the sounds are fun --and certainly musical.

Adults often introduce children to animals through books or pretend play. The adult usually feels comfortable making a "baa-baa" or "meow" sound. The child then imitates the adult.

First toys are often stuffed animals. When you use songs and movement activities about animals and insects, you can teach children concepts more easily than if you sang about humans. A good example of that is a song of mine, "Baby Bear's Chicken Pox." There are two versions:

"'Waa, waa,waa,' cried Baby Bear. "'I've got chicken pox in my hair.,'" and "'Waa, waa, waa,' cried Baby Grace, 'I've got chicken pox on my face,'" Children respond more readily to the Baby Bear version. It seems more nurturing and, somehow, they identify better.

Moving to music like different animals not only develop gross motor skills but also helps children understand spatial relationships. If an animal or an insect is picking up toys or learning to tie shoes, young children will relate to it very well. It's fun to be a bumblebee--you can buzz to the circle or buzz to a learning center or buzz to your cot for a nap.

Whenever you teach a concept, think about how you can incorporate animals into the curriculum. What parent or teacher hasn't asked a child to be "quiet as a mouse"?

One of the basic tenets of good teaching is to start where the students are. There is no doubt that young children have an affinity toward animals and insects--and that's a good place to begin.

If an animal or an insect is picking up toys or learning to tie shoes, young children will relate to it very well. It's fun to be a bumblebee--you can buzz to the circle or buzz to a learning center or buzz to your cot for a nap.

Eight, Great Movement Activities - by Miss Jackie Silberg

PERSONAL SPACE
Sit in a space far enough away from anyone else so you cannot touch him or her. Slowly reach out and explore all the space around you--in front, behind, next to, above and underneath you. Now use your legs to do the same.

Stretch these parts of your body in all possible positions. Find new ways to stretch. Then, slowly get into a standing position. Keeping your feet stationary, stretch your arms and body in all directions. Explore the space around you.

RAG DOLL
Stand with feet shoulders' width apart. Let your arms hang limp, like a rag doll. Slowly bend over at the waist until your fingertips touch the floor. Remain in this position for a few seconds. Relax totally.

Slowly straighten up, feeling each body part straightening one at a time: first the hips, then the waist, back and shoulders, and lastly the head.

This is a great way to loosen up before doing other movement activities.

MIRROR
Each child has a partner. One child faces the partner and pretends to be looking into a mirror. The "mirror" imitates all of the actions of the one looking into it: if the child looking into the "mirror" jumps up and down, the mirror jumps up and down; if the person turns around, the mirror turns around, too.

Other movements to try might be shaking hands, nodding head, waving arms, making faces, etc.

SHADOW
This is the counterpart to "Mirror." It is played the same way, except that the "shadow" follows the partner as they move around the room hopping, skipping, etc.

Try using music with both "Mirror" and "Shadow." Let the music guide the children's movements.

INDIVIDUAL MAGNETS
Each child sits in his or her own space, making believe that one hand is a magnet and the rest of the body is magnetized.

What happens when you bring the magnet to your knee? Foot? Head? Stomach? Other hand?

ACTING OUT FEELINGS
Talk with the children about different kinds of feelings. Each time you discuss the feeling, let the children make a face to express that feeling: happy, angry, scared, sad, etc.

Have each child act out a feeling by a facial expression, then have the rest of the class guess what that feeling is.

HUMAN MACHINE
One child stands, sits or kneels on the floor. The child may move one body part in a constant motion--for example, moving one knee up and down or moving one arm back and forth. Add the rest of the children, one at a time, each doing a different motion. When all the children are in place, play music with a steady beat and let the "machine" move to the beat.

SCARF GAME WITH PARTNERS
Using a scarf (for each two people) have one throw it into the air for the other to catch before it reaches the ground. If thrown away from the partner, it will create a great deal of action.

Try to catch it with different body parts--your arm, finger, foot, elbow, head, etc.

THREE BEARS WITH A BEAT - as performed by Miss Jackie
Many teachers tell me how much their children enjoy doing this version of the Three Bears!

(Snap or clap or pat, or keep the beat in any way you want, on the words in parentheses.)
.
(Once) upon a (time) in the (mid)dle of the (woods) there were (three)
(bears)(x) (x)
(One) was a (Pa)pa bear, (one) was a (Ma)ma bear, (one) was a (Wee)Bear.
((x)) ((x)).

A(long) came the (girl) with the (gold)en curls.
She (knocked) on the (door) but (no) one was (there).
So she (walked) right (in) cause she (did)n't care.

(Home), (home), (home), came the (Pa)pa bear,
(Home), (home), (home), came the (Ma)ma bear,
(Home), (home), (home), came the (wee) bear. ((x)) ((x))

(change voice with each bear)
"(Some)one's been (eat)ing my (porr)idge!" ((x)) said the
(Pa)pa(bear). "Grrrrrrrr"
(hold hands in front like sharp claws)
"(Some)one's been (eat)ing my (porr)idge! ((x)) said the (Ma)ma(bear).
"Ahhhhhhh" (throw both hands up in surprise)
"(Hey)-baba-(ree)-bear," (said) the little (wee) bear, "(Some)one
has(eat)en my(soup)! Hmmmmmph!" (cross arms on chest and pout)

"(Some)one's been (sit)ting in (my) (chair)!" said the (Pa)pa (bear).
"Grrrrrrrrr"
"(Some)one's been (sit)ting in (my) (chair)!" said the (Ma)ma (bear)!"
"Ahhhhhhh"
"(Hey)-baba-(ree),bear," said the little (wee) bear, "(Some)one has(brok)en
my (seat)!
Hmmmmmph!"

"(Some)one's been (sleep)ing in (my) (bed)!" said the (Pa)pa (bear)!
"Grrrrrrrrr"
"(Some)one's been (sleep)ing in (my) (bed)!" said the (Ma)ma (bear).
"Ahhhhhhhh"
"(Hey)-baba-(ree)-bear, (said) the little (wee) (bear), "(Some)one
is(still) in my(bed)!
Hmmmmmph!"

(Change to a whisper)
Just then Goldilocks woke up. (Scream, arms raised:) "Aaaaahhhhhhhhh!"

She (jumped) out of (bed) and she (beat) it out of (there)!
(point with thumb)

"(Bye),(bye), (bye)," said the (Pa)pa bear. (wave)
"(Bye), (bye), (bye)," said the (Ma)ma bear. (wave)
"(Hey)-baba-(ree)-bear," (said) the little (wee) bear, "(This) is the (end)
of our (tale).

The following article is excerpted from Texas Child Care Quarterly, Summer 2001, Used with permission.

Child-Building : Brain Games for Babies by Jackie Silberg

"Peekaboo, I see you."

When you say these words to a baby, thousands of cells in the child's growing brain will respond. Some brain cells will make new connections. Some existing connections will grow stronger. These connections form part of the complex circuitry that will remain largely in place for the rest of a child's life.

The more you play Peekaboo and other games, the better chance for a baby's brain cell connections to become permanent. On the other hand, connections that are rarely used may not survive. For example, a child who is rarely spoken to or read to in the early years may have trouble talking, thinking, reading, and writing later. A child who is rarely played with may have trouble getting along with people. A child's brain thrives on feedback from the environment. The brain wires itself with thinking and emotional patterns laid down from experiences.

Every time you sing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star or play Pat-a-Cake, you are strengthening and expanding the brain's wiring. Chances are a child submerged in language from birth will learn to speak and think well. A baby, whose coos are met with smiles, rather than a lukewarm glance, will likely become emotionally receptive.The early care children receive has long-lasting effects on how they will develop and learn, how they will cope with stress, and how they will learn to manage their emotions. Infants and toddlers thrive when they receive warm, responsive care. Infants and toddlers can learn a lot through simple, everyday activities. Here are some easy games you can play to encourage that learning:

Games that develop trust and security
Brain research says that holding and stroking a baby stimulates the brain to release important hormones that allow the baby to grow.

Bouncing rhyme - 6 months and older
Seat the child on your lap facing you and say the following rhyme:
I went down town to get me some butter (bounce the baby gently on your knees)
And when I got there,
I fell in the gutter. (Open your knees and, while keeping a firm hold, let the child gently slip through.)

Games that develop language skills
Brain research says that the more words children hear, the more connections their brains will make.

Where's the Chick? - 15 months and older
1. Hide behind a door and say "cheep, cheep, cheep." Ask the toddler to find the chick.
2. If the child has trouble, stick out your head or foot so that you can be seen.
3. Hide in a different place and play the game again.
4. Change the chick to a duckling, calf, or other baby animal. Each time make the sounds appropriate to that animal.
5. After a few times, the child will want to hide and make the animal sounds. Note: This game develops listening skills in addition to language skills.

Games that develop fine motor skills
Brain research says that small-muscle exercises stimulate brain growth. Researches have verified the positive effects of finger and hand movements on the brain.

Flashlight fun - 12 months and older
Here's what you need:
-flashlight
1. Shine a flashlight on different places in the room. Shine it on the wall, the door, the floor, and under the covers, for example.
2. Each time you shine the light on an object, say what it is: "This is the wall." "This is the doorknob."
3. Show the child how to turn the flashlight on and off.
4. Let the child shine the flashlight on an object and tell you what it is.
5. Give directions: "Shine the light on the ceiling." "Shine the light on the window." The child will understand what you are saying even without being able to say the words.
6. Make a bird shadow on the wall. Cross your wrists with your palms facing you. Extend your fingers (the wings) and touch the fleshy part of the thumbs to form the bird's head. Move your hands to make the bird "fly."
7. Look at pictures in a book or a magazine using the flashlight.

Having fun games
Laughter reduces stress, which enables a child to learn better. Brain research says that laughing changes the chemicals in the blood and helps to boost the chemicals needed for memory.

Knees Up - 10 months and older
This is a great diaper changing game.
1. As the child lies face up, say the following English rhyme and do the actions.
Knees up Mary Muffet. (Bend the child's knee up and bring it back down.)
Knees up Mary Brown. (Do the same with the other knee.)
Knees up Mary Macaroni. (Bend both knees at the same time.)
Take my hand around the town. (Take the child's hand in yours and move it in a circle.)
2. Repeat the rhyme and change the body parts.
Toes up....
Fingers up...
Arms up...

Games for stimulating vision
Brain research says the neurons for vision begin to form around 2 months.
Stimulating vision will help make the visual connections.

What do you see? - Newborn and older
Stimulate the baby's vision in a variety of ways. Place a mirror in the crib, or wear a brightly colored scarf when giving a bottle. Hold the baby in your arms and walk around the room touching and naming things: "Here's a furry teddy bear. How does that feel?" "Here's a shiny doorknob." "Look at this blue blanket." If you spend lots of time holding, cuddling, and playing games with the children in your care, you will be richly rewarded with babbles, smiles, and squeals of laughter. You will also give the children the important learning experiences they need.

You can truly make a difference in the lives of young children!

TEN WAYS to TEACH A SONG - by Jackie Silberg
1.
Sing the song you want to teach for the children. Let them listen to it at least three times. Sing the song again and leave out a key word; let the children fill in the blank. For example: "Twinkle, twinkle, little ____________."

2. Another tried-and-true method is call and response. This works well with very repetitive songs. For example, the leader may sing The bear went over the mountain; the children then sing the phrase back. In this case, the first three lines are the same.

3. Try speaking the words first and ask the children to say them back. When the class has learned the words, then put the melody with them.

4. Use the rhythm of the song to teach it to the children. Clap out the rhythm first and ask the children to clap with you. Then, say the words with the rhythm. Example:
Twin-kle Twin-kle Lit-tle Star
/ / / / / / /

5. Talk about the words of the song. What does the song mean? For instance, in the song Yankee Doodle, focus on the action. What is happening? Where did Yankee Doodle go? How did he get there? What did he do once he arrived? Encourage the children to think about the words; this will help them to remember the song.

6. Use pictures to reinforce the words. For instance, the song 'The Lollipop Tree' talks about lollipops, ice cream cones, and trees. Find pictures of all of these and hold them up while you sing the song.

7. Another way to use images to reinforce the words is to use a flannel board to illustrate the song. Make flannel board patterns of a lollipop, an ice cream cone, and a tree to illustrate The Lollipop Tree. Combine this technique with #1; substitute the pictures for the words lollipop, ice cream, and tree.

8. For a variation on the call-and response method, use puppets to be the leaders. For example, teach Mary Had a Little Lamb using a puppet that looks like a lamb to help the children remember the words.

9. Sing the song in a loud or soft voice, depending on which is appropriate to the song. Or, try using a different voice to reinforce the meaning of the song. For example, you could teach a Halloween song in a low, spooky voice. Teach the song The Eensy Weensy Spider in a high, soft voice.

10. Use a guitar or autoharp to accompany yourself as you sing the song for the children. Or, try tape-recording the accompaniment beforehand, and then turn on the tape and sing along with it. This technique leaves your hands free to use gestures or employ any of the above visual reinforcements. Above all, teach songs that you enjoy--the children will like them, too!

©Copyright 2011 Miss Jackie Music Company/Jackie Silberg