At my school we have half-day kindergarten classes, and these students do not typically attend music, art, or PE class. Some kindergartners who need extra help with reading or with English language acquisition stay for an additional half-day of intervention in these areas. These students get 25 minutes of the special area classes every third day. This is technically a “duty” for the special area teachers because we do not assess these students, but we try to provide meaningful experiences for the kids in that short amount of time.
One of the favorite activities for the kindergartners on music days is dancing. We do lots of different creative movement activities with different selections and genres. Each song is known by its dance; for instance, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is “the tiptoe song.” To give the kids the choice of which songs they want to do, I used to have them just tell me, but then I got SMART (pun intended). I created a SMART Notebook file with an icon for each of our songs that links to the song on Spotify. When it is a child’s turn to choose the dance, he or she simply comes up to the SMART Board and taps on the icon that represents their song choice. With Spotify open on the computer, the music starts automatically.
Below is a video of my kindergarten students choosing and dancing to their song selections. Since filming this, I have changed how I use my SMART Board. Instead of having the same image on the computer screen and SMART Board screen, I use the SMART Board as an extension of the computer desktop. This allows me to keep the internet browser and Spotify window open on the desktop, but only the SMART Notebook file shows on the SMART Board. Much better!
You can download the SMART Notebook file here. I have included circles covering the different icons. I found that it works best for me to limit the number of choices at first and to reveal and learn new dances every couple of weeks. I simply delete the circle that had covered the newly learned song and re-save the file for next time. Spotify can be downloaded here. If you can’t get Spotify on your school computer, below is the list of songs I use on the SMART Notebook file. You can always attach mp3 files of the songs to the file instead.
- The dinosaur song – “We Are the Dinosaurs” by The Laurie Berkner Band from the album, The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band (2010).
- The cat song – “The Cat Came Back” by Pop Goes the Weasel from the album, Toddlers’ Silly Songs (2010).
- The walking song – “Baby Elephant Walk” by Henry Mancini from the album, The Essential Henry Mancini (2010).
- The pretending song – “Last Night I Had a Dream” by The Laurie Berkner Band from the album, Party Day! (2011).
- The kangaroo song – “The Carnival of the Animals: Kangaroos” by Sir John Gielgud/Academy of London/Richard Stamp from the album, Peter and the Wolf/Carnival of the Animals (2003).
- The aquarium song – “The Carnival of the Animals: Aquarium” by Sir John Gielgud/Academy of London/Richard Stamp from the album, Peter and the Wolf/Carnival of the Animals (2003).
- The tiptoe song – “The Nutcracker – Ballet, Op.71, Act II: Variation II: Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy” by Sir Simon Rattle/Berliner Philharmoniker from the album, Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker (2010).
- The robot song – “Baby Robot” by Parry Gripp from the album, Baby Robot: Parry Gripp Song of the Week for October 28, 2008 – Single (2008).
- The elephant song – “The Carnival of the Animals: The Elephant” by Sir John Gielgud/Academy of London/Richard Stamp from the album, Peter and the Wolf/Carnival of the Animals (2003).
- The animal song – “Last Night I Had a Dream” by The Laurie Berkner Band from the album, Whaddaya Think of That? (2000).
- The skipping song – “Bling Blang” by Woody Guthrie/Arlo Guthrie from the album, This Land is Your Land Soundtrack (2010).