Submitted by Tami Mangusso, Aurora, Colorado

Idea posted May 11, 2004

I came up with this activity that I call "Oh, Fiddle Sticks!" to help my students with a visual for teaching rounds.

Goal: To pass the movements around the circle without making a mistake.

Have the class sit or stand in a circle. The teacher (leader) will do a movement for eight counts. The student to the teacher's right will then start the movement. As the student does the first movement, the teacher will start a new movement. Each movement is passed onto the next person until it gets back around to the teacher. I started this activity with just two movements (patting and clapping), and I told the students to notice how every other person was doing the same movement. They were really amazed by this. If someone messes up, the class will say, "Oh, Fiddle Sticks!" and everyone must find a new spot in the circle. Once my students got the hang of this activity, we changed the counts to four and added another movement. Right now we are up to three movements. I would like to get it up to four movements and begin to use the round "Row, Row, Row Your Boat." Here's how it would work:

The leader would do two movements, and then sing the first two lines before the next person begins.

Row, row, row your boat = pat for four counts

Gently down the stream = clap for four counts

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily = snap for four counts

Life is but a dream = make circles around your head with both hands for four counts (like making the motion "you're crazy")

I've been doing this activity with my fourth graders, and they really enjoy it. You could easily turn this activity into a game by eliminating those who make a mistake. You can make it more challenging by adding more movements and lowering the count to one or two counts.

This activity is also good for keeping the beat. (Some of my classes had a tendency of speeding it up.)

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