Submitted by Connie Herbon, Iowa

Idea posted September 4, 2002

A favorite picture book with my second graders is HOW THE SKY'S HOUSEKEEPER WORE HER SCARVES by Patricia Hooper, ill. by Susan L. Roth (Little, Brown, and Company). It gives us a chance to use our weather songs, play unpitched and pitched percussion, add some movement, and sharpen our skills in watching and listening for cues to make a smooth performance. It's also a place to discuss the crossover into the visual arts through the illustrations, which are all collages. (National Standard #8)

There are no page numbers in the book, so I've used text quotes to show where the musical material is added. Other instruments and songs could be substituted, depending on what is available to you. We sing all songs unaccompanied unless doing a formal performance. Most songs are from World of Music (Silver Burdett/Ginn). I have included directions for "Rainbow" (my song) at the end, and "This Pretty Planet" is by Tom Chapin and available in various sources.

I make a cue sheet to put with each instrument telling the words to listen for and the name of their instrument/prop. Lyric cards can be posted for any songs the class does not have memorized. Jobs are divided according to the number of class members, with some instruments doubled if needed. I choose a very alert student to sit in a chair and hold the book for viewing by the viewing class if we are sharing. I read from another copy.

For a formal performance, I edited the reading parts for brevity and used three narrators plus two costumed actors: the old woman and the wind. We also added a bit of stage setting, some props, and a large cloth rainbow behind the students at the end of the story.

Previous knowledge: all songs - Mister Sun; I See The Moon; Twinkle, Twinkle; This Pretty Planet; Raining Again Today; Sunset; Rain, Rain Go Away; same song on bell sets; You Are My Sunshine; Rainbow (see below for this song)
Materials needed: book, teacher's script, lyric cards (opt.), streamers, instruments (ratchet, alto glock, sop. glock, bar chimes or cluster chimes, large Taos drum or other tom tom, alto xylo., bass xylo., hand drums, cowbell(s), diatonic bell sets)
1. Teach all songs
2. Share book with class
3. Discuss and practice all instrumental parts, movement, etc.
4. Combine story, songs, instruments, movement, etc.
5. Share final product with an audience if desired
  • "In the house at the back of the wind... went to polish the sun." (sing "Mister Sun")
  • "...went to dust off the moon." (sing "I See The Moon")
  • "...went to straighten the stars." (sing "Twinkle, Twinkle")
  • "...went to wind up the comets." (ratchet sound while students run around room trailing their comet tails/streamers)
  • "...went to sweep off the Milky Way." (multi. gliss. on alto glock)
  • "...she went... to scrub the planets." ("This Pretty Planet")
  • "...sat with her sewing basket and mended clouds." (chimes)
  • "...not want to let the rain in..." ("Raining Again Today")
  • " or orange glowing like sunset." ("Sunset")
  • "...yellow scarf sparkling like sunrise." (improv. on sop. glock - any pentatonic setup)
  • "...the sun shining on fields or water." (alto glock improv.)
  • "...trips until it was sunny." (sing "Rain, Rain Go Away")
  • "...even the moon... heard him." (angry beating on drums/cowbells)
  • "...I'll come out tomorrow, she thought when the rain called her." (bell sets play "Rain, Rain Go Away" 2X, very quietly the second time as reading continues.)
  • "...shone as much as he could so the old woman could find him." ("You Are My Sunshine")
  • "...stretching in an arc from one end of the sky to the other." ("Rainbow" singing + F/C bordun on alto xylo.)
THE END - all stand and bow together
"Rainbow" (6-93 ch)
(ta ti-ti ti-ti ti-ti ti-ti ti-ti ta Z)
(ta tri-pl-et ti-ri-ti ti-ti ti-ti ti-ti ta Z)

  G-G    A-    G-C'    A-A    G-G    A

Red, orange, yellow, green, before my wond'ring eye.

  G-G-G    A-A-C    D'C'    A-A    G-G    F

Blue, in-di-go, vi-o-let, paint a rainbow in the sky.