I had a few requests on my last post to do more non-Halloween songs, so I decided to pull out a blast from the past. Some of you may recognize Oats and Beans as one of the resources in my store, which I published last year. It’s a great song to study during this time of the year, and here in middle-of-nowhere Indiana, harvest time is in full-swing. Friends are posting pictures of hayrides and orchards, and I even witnessed a deer sniffing an apple in our driveway last week. It was an exciting moment in an otherwise ordinary week.
My original intent with Oats and Beans (and the concept of my resource) is to practice do, but for today’s post I’m going to change it up a bit with some more ideas for timbre and small-group arrangements. Songs that tell a story give students ample opportunity to choreograph movements and arrange sounds as accompaniment. In my experience, 2nd graders in particular love working in groups to choreograph movements to well-known songs.
The lesson template below (which you can download for free) is meant to be used as a guide for writing your own lesson plan using Oats and Beans. You can use the excess space at the bottom of the page to sketch out activity ideas or jot down notes on what you’d like to include in your own lesson plan.
Idea #1–The traditional game for this song has students stand in a circle with hands joined, while one student stands in the middle as the “farmer”. The circle steps to the left during the first stanza. In the second stanza, the Farmer acts out the words. The Farmer chooses a partner in the third stanza, and finally the circle moves to the left again while the Farmer and partner skip to the right in the fourth stanza.
*Modification* being a shy child myself (and adult), I’m extremely careful to not place students in uncomfortable social situations. So, if I were to play this game with a class, I would probably allow students to choose partners or a small group to be the “farmers”. Then, as they grew accustomed to the actions, I would give them the opportunity to be a solo farmer if they volunteered.
Idea #2–Once students have internalized the song, separate them into four groups. Make each group responsible for choreographing one stanza of the song. Use the resource below as an easy way to separate students into groups. Download, print, and cut along the dotted lines, making sure that you reserve enough copies for each student. Then, have each student pull one slip of paper from the bunch and match their stanza with others to find their group.
When the groups are finished creating movements, ask them to teach the rest of the class their choreography. Finish the lesson by singing the song with the new movements.
Idea #3–Ask students to arrange found sounds or body percussion to accompany each stanza. Place a limit on the number of sounds they can use in order to maintain a fast-paced lesson. Students can use the chart below to write down the name of their sound (clap, stamp, etc.) or to create symbols for each sound. Stipulate that students play the beat rather than the rhythm in each stanza. This is a covert way to assess their understanding of beat versus rhythm later in the lesson.
The image below gives an example of how students might fill out their paper using body percussion. Each box represents one beat, and you can ask students to fill in the action or even create symbols to represent each found sound.