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The Jolly Miller is a game song featured in one of my favorite resources 150 American Folk Song to Sing Read and Play. It has a simple melody and rhythms and would be a fantastic way to practice or review low so. I’m focusing my lesson ideas on third grade students, but this song could be used with a variety of grades as steady beat practice or review of quarter and barred eighth notes.

The original resource states that students should choose partners and form a ring, with one person (the miller) being in the middle. Then, students walk around to the beat while singing the song. At the end of the verse, the inside partners are supposed to quickly grab the outside partner of the students in front of them. Meanwhile, the miller also tries to grab a partner from the outer ring. Whoever is without a partner then becomes the miller. One modification I would suggest, is to have the miller walking counter to the rings, so that he or she has a better chance of “grabbing” a new partner. Also, you’ll want to remind students to keep the ring large, so as to avoid any student-on-floor collisions.
All students sit in a circle. As they sing the song, two objects (Object A and Object B) are passed around to the steady beat. When the students sing “grab” the students with Object B must try to tag the student with Object A before they make it around the circle and back to their spot. The student with Object A can go around the circle in any direction they choose, while the other students must then chase them in the same direction. Think of it as a slightly modified Duck, Duck, Goose.
Project the following image onto your Smartboard, and ask your students to fill in the missing Solfege. Then, have them sing through the piece in Solfege.
As an alternative, you could also print (and cut in half) the following worksheets and have students work in pairs to fill out the remaining Solfege. Use these worksheets to assess how well students understand the melodic concept.

Do a short improv activity in which students improv simple rhythms using the pitches low so and do. You could have students pair up to improv back and forth on an Orff instrument, Boomwhackers, or bells. Students can warm up by starting with one pitch, then working their way into using two pitches for their improv.Click on the image below to print out a copy of these lesson ideas to keep handy at your desk or in your planner. I’m always open to suggestion, so if there’s another format you would prefer for the lesson ideas, please let me know in the comments section!