Hickety, Tickety, Bumblebee

I know that most of you are starting the back-to-school process. So, I thought today’s lesson idea would be useful for those first few days of school, when you’re learning 100+ kindergartner names and reviewing the 500+ names of the rest of your students. If anyone outside the teaching world ever doubts your work ethic, just give them a copy of your class rosters, and tell them that they need to have every name memorized within a month.

On the flip side, if there are people within your teaching world that doubt your work ethic, I’m sorry. Obviously they need to spend a little more time learning and a little less time teaching. Feel free to vent about this topic in the comments section. I’m betting you all have stories to share on that topic…

Anyway, today’s song is Hickety, Tickety, Bumblebee. This song is great for very young students (K-1) and is perfect for those of you who start students with so-mi.

With so many songs about bees, chances are that you already have a stuffed toy bee/puppet or some other similar manipulative you could use for this game. Have students sit in a circle. Start the game with the bee manipulative in your hand and sing the song. Then, walk (fly) around the circle once (to build anticipation), letting the bee fall into a student’s lap. That student will then insert their name at the end of the song and then choose the next student by walking/flying the bee around the circle again. Invite students to start singing along with you as the game continues.

variation 1 (keeping track)
Each student should stay standing after they’ve sang the song and chosen another person. That way, everyone will be able to keep track of who’s already gone. Continue until all students have been named and are standing.

variation 2 (voice choice)
After a student has sung their name, have the rest of the class shout, whisper, and silently mouth the student’s name. This helps to reinforce the different voice choices, as well as helps to keep the students occupied while waiting their turn to be chosen.

variation 3 (add an instrument)
Instead of using a bee manipulative, use a rhythm instrument. Then, when a student is chosen, they can play that instrument to the rhythm of their name. If you use variation #2, then they’ll be able to play the instrument a total of four times during the different voice choices. You might also use an instrument if it’s the first day of class or your students aren’t quite ready to sing alone yet.

variation 4 (add body percussion)
Instead of using one instrument that only the chosen student can play, have students clap/pat/snap the rhythm of each chosen student’s name. You could do this in conjunction with the rhythm instrument or simply use body percussion alone.

Stay tuned next week for a Back-to-School idea for older grades.

12 Responses

    1. Thanks! It's always fun to pull out a few instruments on the first day and hear the "oohs" and "ahhs" from the little ones 🙂

  1. I've been looking for a new song to help me learn names. Love the idea of using instruments and body percussion! Do you have any name song ideas for upper elementary?

  2. I'm teaching K-6 music for the first time, though I've taught music in church my whole adult life (a long time). I'm in a private school and have no curriculum. I'm have no idea how to even get started. I used Pitch Publications' First Week lesson plans and the children all think I'm the greatest thing since sliced cheese, but now I have no idea what to do. I've taught primary grade for over 20 years and am used to having a scope and sequence, curriculum guide, etc. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Donna–There are free curriculum guides/scope and sequence on the internet, but they really are hard to find sometimes. I'd be happy to send you some that I've found so that you can get some ideas of where to go from here. Please send me an email at [email protected], and I'll send them to you ASAP. In the meantime, my best advice is to take it week by week. My first job was in a school that had no curriculum or scope and sequence, so I had to build mine from scratch. It is definitely TONS of work, but you'll get there! 🙂