Submitted by Mallory Martin, Minnesota

Idea posted March 26, 2013

[Inspired by a MusicK8.com Mailing List thread about missing partners and differentiating between right and left.] My procedure for teaching the song "Bow Wow Wow" to pre-schoolers... with success! The key is to spread it out over many class periods. I do the song in at least six different class periods.

Day 1: Teacher sings the song while students silently listen. Teacher sings again, adding motions (stomp 3x on "Bow wow wow," then pat legs 3x, then clap 3x, then stomp 3x). Teacher invites students to do motions while still listening. Students and teacher sing and do motions. Ask students to add a "jump twist" (180 degree jump) after the last word of the song. Practice singing it 2-3 times with the jump twist at the end.

Day 2: Teacher sings and does motions. Students and teacher sing and do motions (with jump twist) 2-3 times. Teacher demonstrates clapping a partner's hands instead of one's own on "Little Tommy Tucker's dog." Don't forget the jump twist at the end... partners should end up back-to-back if done correctly. Have the class practice it this way 5-6 times, choosing new partners each time (standing in random formation).

Day 3: Students and teacher sing and do motions, miming having a partner. Practice with a partner 1-2 times. Teacher demonstrates (with a student) grasping hands and switching places on final "Bow wow wow," instead of just 3 stomps. Entire class practices with partners 5-6 times, choosing a new partner each time. You may have to stop the song before "Bow wow wow" and remind them to grab hands and switch places each time. Don't forget the jump twist. This is a good time to teach skills for finding a partner.

Day 4: Students and teacher sing and do motions, miming having a partner. Practice as a class 2-3 times, choosing a new partner each time (standing in random formation). Teacher introduces concept of standing in circle. (I find it works best for this part to have an odd number, so I can be in the circle with them to make sure it works.) Teacher helps arrange students in a circle. Try the song, making sure to remind them to grab hands, switch places, and do the jump twist. Check they are all facing a new partner. Continue until all students are back with their original partner.

I do the activity again on days 5 and 6, and the success rate goes up each time. They just need some time to process. The best part is asking their classroom teacher to watch and seeing her jaw hit the floor!

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