Thanksgiving is just around the corner here in the states. So, I did what any food-lover/music teacher is bound to do, I thought of turkey. Today’s post honors that bird with a song that is great for teaching call and response form.


This is a great piece for practicing call and response form with kindergarten or first grade students. I would suggest introducing this song with a recording such as this one, from Lynn Kleiner. That way, your students hear a clear delineation between the call and the response.

Ask students to perform a steady beat motion during the response, such as nodding, patting, or clapping. During “Shoo Turkey”, students can move as though they’re shooing away the turkeys.
As a final step (perhaps in a later class period), ask students to sing the response or the “Yes ma’am” part of the song. After they’ve mastered this, you can break the class into sections. One section can sing the call, while the other section sings the response. Continue moving students between each group until they are confident in singing both parts.


Most kindergarteners are at the stage where instruments are still very new to them. It’s important that they are given clear boundaries for how to treat and play each new instrument. Shoo Turkey is a great song for reinforcing good instrument habits.

Have students play rhythm instruments during the response. Instruments such as egg shakers, rhythm sticks, triangles, or woodblocks are fairly sturdy and perfect for beginners. You could also introduce Orff instruments by having students play a single bar along with “Yes, ma’am”.


This is an easy and quick song to put together for a performance. It’s also a great way to show off your students’ instrumental skills. And the best part, it’s an opportunity to tell parents all about how your students learn call and response form. It’s not just students that we’re trying to educate, it’s the community that supports those students.
I would not suggest having students sing this on their own. It’s extremely wordy for young students, and I believe the effect would be better with a recording. This is a moment to show off students’ understanding of form and their instrumental skills. Singing skills are important, but they don’t have to be the sole focus of every piece in a performance.
I love what the teacher did this video. She showcases her tubanos and has the rest of the students performing motions. You’ll also see that her students are wearing turkey headbands that they created (possibly in collaboration with the art or homeroom teacher).
To spread the instrumental joy around, you can have students stand in lines behind the instruments to take turns throughout the song. If you have the time and donated resources, you could have students make simple corn shakers. That way, when the performance is over, students can just take them home.

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