schoolhouse rock with my brother
June 17, 2010 5:23 AM   Subscribe

Help my brother sing songs with kindergartners as part of his student teaching curriculum

What are some good songs and resources for songs that my brother can share with his kindergarten class? My brother plays guitar and sings. He would like to sing songs appropriate for children just entering kindergarten, learning their letters, reading, numbers, socialization, behavior, anything and everything etc. but particularly songs that are "learning" related.

My brother just started student teaching in a kindergarten classroom. The school is year-round. Next week the current group moves on to 1st grade and a new group of fresh kindergartners comes to him. My brother figures there must be a wealth of sharing info out there that can point him towards songs to sing with the kids.
posted by DuckGirl to Education (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Two songs I used that were always well received:

Wheels on the Bus
High Hopes

And it might sound odd, but They Might Be Giants have a number of songs that are great for kids (and even albums for kids)
posted by Gorgik at 6:32 AM on June 17, 2010

Check out the They Might Be Giants albums, Here Come the 123s and Here Come the ABCs. I listen to them with my 2 year old and he loves them and tries to sing along. I've been wandering around my office humming 'Oh no, no, I Never Go To Work' too, which is annoying the heck out of everyone.
posted by IanMorr at 7:12 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Alice the Camel is really fun, and teaches subtraction. That whole Kiddidles site is pretty decent, if a bit skewed toward the religious. Plenty of non-religious kid standards there too, plus some midi tunes for reference.

Some other fun ones from that site:

S-M-I-L-E (spelling with letters, and laughing!)

The Ants Go Marching (numbers and rhyming)

Apples and Bananas (listening to vowel sounds, plus general silliness)

B-I-N-G-O (more spelling, plus an early literacy skill I forget the name of that has to do with hearing a letter/sound that's supposed to go in a blank/clapped space...)

Down by the Bay (rhyming, extreme silliness, lends itself well to adding verses spontaneously - I like doing "did you ever have a time/when you couldn't make a rhyme?" as the last verse ala Raffi)

The Farmer in the Dell (sequence/storytelling)

The Fox (another good story song, plus listening skills if you get the kids to sing the repeated lines at the end of each verse)

The Green Grass Grew All Around (sequencing on steroids!)

If You're Happy and You Know It (listening and following directions; lends itself to endless reinvention)

Old MacDonald (another one that lends itself to new verses)

Over in the Meadow
(more animals and counting; lots of versions of this out there to choose from)

There's a Hole in the Bucket
(cause and effect, hilarious)

Etc. Etc. There's a lot more there.

Some other resources:
Raffi and Laurie Berkner are two good kids' performers to listen to, both for songs and for delivery/performance. I know some people are sick of Raffi, but there's a reason he's so ubiquitous - almost every song of his I've ever tried has been a huge hit with the under-6 set.
posted by Knicke at 7:13 AM on June 17, 2010

May I introduce your brother to Ralph Covert: Ralph's World
posted by SuperSquirrel at 11:25 AM on June 17, 2010

If he looks up a book by Choksy on the Kodaly method of music education, there is a collection of songs at the back, ordered by age group, according to what kids at particular ages are able to sing successfully and in tune.

There are TONS of books full of age appropriate songs that are still cool. I'm sure he could get some from the school music teacher...
posted by bardophile at 11:36 AM on June 17, 2010

We also have the They Might Be Giants's kids CDs (Here Comes the ABCs, Here Comes the 123s, and Here Comes the Science (our favorite)) and they are fantastic. Most of their songs are on YouTube for perusal in case he wanted to check them out before buying (Never go to work, Meet the elements, Nonagon, I'm a palenontologist, all great stuff).
posted by katers890 at 3:31 PM on June 17, 2010

Tony Chestnut knows I love you (Toes knees Chest nut(head) nose I love you. My Daughter's class loved this one. Not actually a video of her, because my batteries ran out on Eileen.
posted by saffry at 4:22 PM on June 17, 2010

Open Shut Them is a good place to start (a lot of kids will have learned this in preschool and they might be able to add extra verses)

The Princess Pat

The Shark Song

Boom Chicka Boom - this one is especially fun because the kids can make up their own "styles." In my kindergarten class, baby style (talking in a baby voice) and hair style (shaking your head) were popular, but it gives them the freedom to make up their own styles. And if you can't hear it in the video, the first style suggested by one of the guys is Janitor Style (we called it Sweeping Style) and the lyrics change to "Broom, sweep-a mop-a sweep-a mop-a sweep-a broom" instead of "Boom chicka rocka chicka rocka chicka boom"

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly - there are some great books to show kids while singing, which is great for kindergarteners who often need visual elements to engage them.

Kookaburra, or any song about animals. If you can add some puppets in you're golden.

Our music teacher always ended with Inch Worm and the kids lost their shit over it. The teacher had a little worm puppet that crawled over their heads and shoulders while she sang it. I have no idea why, but they LOVED this this.

From what I observed, anything with dancing or puppets or something else active or visual really engaged the kids a lot more than just singing. Kindergarteners do well when they can involve their body as well as their mind.
posted by easy_being_green at 10:21 PM on June 17, 2010

I highly recommend the book Rise Up Singing, it's full of folk songs that you can search by song subject, country of origin, and songwriter. It has chords and lyrics only, so you have to know the melody.
Woody Guthrie is a great source for songs. This Land is Your Land is the most well known, but he has many more that are full of American history and stories. He also has some kids songs that I'm not as familiar with.
Along those lines, Pete Seeger is another great source (and living legend). He lived through and sang about many of the same experiences as Guthrie, and has spent many decades singing in schools and has many songs appropriate for kids. He's also an excellent story teller.
Pretty much anything by the Beatles is a big hit, especially Yellow Submarine.
Some other songs that I have found successful (I do a lot of music w/kindergarten-age kids):
On Top of Spaghetti
Puff the Magic Dragon
Charlie on the MTA - a fun song about a man getting trapped on the subway in Boston when he doesn't have the required exit fare. The kids love shouting out "Poor Charlie!" during the choruses.
Rattlin' Bog - very similar to The Green Grass Grew All Around
Waltzing Matilda
The Cat Came Back - dark but fun, and the kids love it.
The Titanic - not the Celine Dione song, but an old folk song about the sinking ship. Again, rather dark, but upbeat and the kids like it.
The Wabash Cannonball - another old folk song about a mythical train that hobos could ride all over the country in.
Yoda - Weird Al's take on Lola. You generally can't go wrong with something Star Wars related.
Also, there are lots and lots of camp songs that have movement and hand motions that get the kids really involved.
posted by convince_me_to_join at 6:11 PM on June 19, 2010

As Knicke mentioned, Raffi's song's are great.

Also I had a great book/cd combo by Nancy Cassidy (yeay for Klutz!) with some really fun silly songs. I personally like "Chicken lips." She even has chords and lyrics on her website.
posted by radioamy at 11:36 AM on June 20, 2010

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