- 1. Children learn best when they are personally engaged.
- 2. Children learn best when some part of the learning includes purposeful movement.
- 3. Children learn best when they hear the WHOLE song while being engaged in doing something related to PART of the song.
1. The brain craves variety, but needs repetition. Teach the same song over the course of a couple of weeks using a different activity each time.
2. The brain needs a change of pace and a new focus about every 4 to 5 minutes. Teach several songs in your 15 minutes, using a different activity for each song – with at least one of the activities having some movement.
3. The brain needs contrast to learn best. Contrast the style of songs you teach on one day. Contrast the type of activities you use to teach the song.
The Overarching Cover
1. Use the principle of line upon line, precept upon precept to teach a song. Don’t try to teach every part of the song in one or even two sessions. Teach it little by little. Children can be engaged even when they don’t know the words.
2. As you teach a song, you must sing more than you talk. Instructions should only be two sentences. Testimony should only be two or three sentences. As we go through each of the singing time examples, we will step back and look at each one to see if they follow these principles.
3. As you are learning something, the emotions you feel will be better remembered than what you teach. Are the children feeling a sense of play? Are they intrigued? Are they engaged? Do they feel safe? Can they feel your testimony?
Props that Help
1. Scarves. These don’t have to be square. You can have a arm’s long, skinny scarf that is part of your hand movements to teach a song and wave with the motion of the song.
2. Paper plates. Use them for patterns to cross the body, keep the beat, “shimmer” across in an arc, or any number of things.
3. Paper Cups. Pop, turn, and tap to a variety of patterns as you move with the steady beat of the song.
4. Rhythm sticks or unsharpened pencils. Roll, click high, and click low to a variety of patterns as you move to the steady beat of the song.
5. Ribbon wind wands. Swirl in figure 8’s, circle overhead, and snap to a variety of patterns as you move to the steady beat of the song.
6. Egg shakers. Shake, shake, and freeze to the steady beat.
7. Drums or boxes or cans. Thump lightly or beat loudly according to the pattern based on the steady beat of the song.
8. Dinger. These have to be something that has a dinging quality (a metal water bottle, a finger cymbal, and such) as you tap it. Use this as part of a rhythm band with several instruments playing on a specific beat of the pattern.
9. Egg carton guiro. Turn the egg carton over and rub over the bumps on the bottom to get a guiro sound on a certain beat of each measure of music in the song.
Multiple Intelligence Categories that Help
(Ways that individuals take in information best. Each human uses at least one or two of these as their favorite way to learn)
1. Purposeful Movement to a Steady Beat.
2. Words, words, words – if a child reads, figure out the words that do not belong in the song (eraser pass). Figure out what the letter code means. Figure out the missing words in the song. If the child doesn’t read, use concrete word actions – actions that stand for the word.
3. Visual Intrigue – figuring out how to put pictures in order, or a color code, or why circles are a certain color on a melody map.
4. Meaningful Music – Rhythm bands, handbell song charts, any movement to the beat, or melody maps.
5. Logic and Patterns – use patterns of movement, patterns of color, patterns of sound, and patterns of letters whenever possible. Use number puzzles, or any kind of puzzle.
6. Testimony – Teach with short, sincere, and applicable testimony.
7. People Interactions – interacting in a group setting in order to learn best.
8. Nature – relate parts of the song to things in nature, including smells and sounds.
Mindful Teaching – questions to ask yourself as you teach
- Am I involving each child with a movement, a puzzle, or a challenge to do something?
- Am I focusing the child on some aspect of the song with the activity while allowing him or her to hear the whole song multiple times?
- Am I changing the focus about every four to five minutes with a new song and a new activity? Do the songs and activities contrast with each other?
- Am I singing much more than I am talking?
- Am I playing with the children, and do they feel safe?