One, Two, Tie My Shoe is a nursery rhyme with many variations across the UK and United States. According to The Kod├íly Center (formerly housed at Holy Names University until May 2023), “This rhyme is one of the English “Lace Tells”, or short songs sung as a memory aid by child workers making bobbin lace in 19th-century England.” You can read more about the history of this song HERE.

The original variations typically counted to twenty, but I’ve used just ten for Pre-K and lower elementary classrooms. I also kept the rhythms to simple barred eighths and quarters so that rhythmic manipulatives could easily be used.

Pre-reading Skills

We often discuss how to prepare our students to read standard music notation. Sometimes, this looks like memorizing the five lines of the music staff, but what about everything that comes before that?

As adults, it’s easy to take for granted the knowledge we’ve had since second grade. Skills such as eye tracking from left to right and keeping a steady beat feel like abilities we’ve had since birth. Yet, we know that isn’t true. It’s important that we give students a chance to practice those pre-reading skills long before they’re introduced to standard notation.

Free Download

One way that students can practice tracking from left to right is to use simple visuals. In the free download below, students can sing the song as they point to each picture. Once they’re comfortable tracking left to right, have them tap the beat on each picture as they sing the song. This download also includes two versions of the song notation, one with colored notation, and other without. For more lesson ideas using songs with quarter and barred eighth notes, click HERE.

This simple song can serve dual purposes by using it with older grades who need additional rhythm or pitch practice. You can ask them to write out the rhythm of the song using manipulatives or have them sight-read the colored notation on mallet instruments.