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Archive for the ‘Songs’ Category

London Bridge Is Falling Down

Posted by lbbartolomeo on April 29, 2018

Always a favorite with kindergarten, London Bridge is a classic.  Pair is with a book written and illustrated from an historical perspective, and you have a double winner.

Screen Shot 2018-04-29 at 9.38.20 AM

How to Play: 

  1. Walking in a circle, the children start singing the rhyme and walking under the bridge.  They follow each other one after the other.  “London bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down.  London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady.”
  2. When “My fair lady” is said, the bridge lowers their arms around one of the players and traps them is inside the bridge!
  3. They rock the child back and forth for the next verse “Lock her up.”  We talk a lot about doing this action in a gentle way.  “Take the key and lock her up, lock her up, lock her up.  Take the key and lock her up, my fair lady.”
  4. When that verse ends, the child that was locked up has to sit in the mush pot (in the middle of the circle) until the next child is caught by the bridge.
  5. When two people have been caught, they create a new bridge, which also tries to trap people! Now the group walks through both bridges during the song, doubling their chances of getting trapped!  I try to initially help students place their bridges in the circle’s pathway, but they soon learn to do it all by themselves.
  6. Eventually you will have a room full of bridges and one child left trying to make it through safely!

Peter Spier is one of my all-time FAVORITE illustrators.  I love the details in his books.  He loves to add whimsy and humor in hidden places.  This song makes great science connections as you sing a verse about the composition of the bridge and whether it will be strong enough.  The subsequent verse lets you know the outcome!  Kids LOVE finding out what’s going to happen next.  There are verses about smoking and chaining up a dog, which is a perfect chance to talk about the time period in which it was written and the change in thinking today.

London Bridge by Peter Spier

Posted in England, Game, history, London Bridge, Origin, science, Subject Integration | Leave a Comment »

She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain

Posted by lbbartolomeo on April 24, 2018



I teach this cumulative song in kindergarten every year.  After learning it, a great activity is for partners to create a new verse.  I ask the Ks, “What else would we want to do to get ready for a guest at our house?”  With their partner, they create a new verse with motions and sing it for the class.  Then we get a coloring sheet and color in all the known verses, and add a picture to the empty square with our new verse.  They take the paper home with “homework” being for them to sing the song to three people!

Our version of She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain is:

  1. She’ll be coming ’round the mountain.
  2. She’ll be driving six white horses.
  3. We’ll all go out to greet her.
  4. We’ll take her out for pizza.
  5. We’ll give the dog a bath.
  6. She’ll be wearing  pink pajamas.
  7. We’ll give her purty roses.
  8. Student verse.

The song is available on Amazon and iTunes.

Posted in Composing, Cumulative Songs, She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain | Leave a Comment »

Bell Horses

Posted by lbbartolomeo on August 26, 2017

IMG_5526This is a great song to teach SLS and quarter note/rest and eighth note pairs.  Here’s my process.

After learning the song by echo singing with a pat/clap steady beat pattern, I told the Ss the history of the song from the info I found HERE.  That info led me to have the students get in groups of 3 with two horses and a driver.  I cut lengths of rope for the reins that went around the torso area of the two horses in front, with the driver holding the ends behind. We trotted around the room after singing the song, with the idea that the horses had done their work for the day and were heading home.  We switched until everyone had been the driver.  Lots of giggles and fun!

  • The next music class we sang and clapped the rhythm, then partners got bells or other non-pitched metal percussion and played the rhythm as they sang.
  • The third music class, as a group, we sat at my large rhythm chart, and together determined the rhythm of the song.  How I made my chart is located HERE!


  • The fourth music class, partners got a 16 beat template, an envelope with the necessary rhythmic icons, and then wrote the rhythm.  After a few minutes of them working on it, I clapped the first line, let them look at what they had, then I put it on my large chart for them to check and see if they were correct. I continued this method until all 4 lines were complete.  Then one partner touched the answers as the other partner clapped and sang the song.  They switched roles.

Here’s the version of Bell Horses that I use!

Screen Shot 2017-08-26 at 11.27.08 AM

Posted in Bell Horses, Manipulatives, Quarter note, quarter rest, SLS, Template for rhythms, Two eighths/Qt. | Leave a Comment »

BIG Rhythm Chart

Posted by lbbartolomeo on August 26, 2017

IMG_5528I needed a big chart for K-2 so that we could write song/rhyme rhythms.  I wanted something cheap! 🙂 I bought a black foam board (20×30″) at Dollar Tree, then added strips of thick paper such as card stock to form the pockets.  The actual rhythms are written on blank 4×6 note cards.  I laminated them but that isn’t completely necessary.

A foam board is about 20″ wide.  The pocket strips were cut to 20″ wide and about 2″ in height, and then I glued the strips on the left,right, and bottom edge, and then a vertical line about every 4.25″, enough room to slide a 4″ note card into.

Screen Shot 2017-08-26 at 10.51.54 AMThe glued bottom edge serves as a stop for the note card.  The red lines on the photo to the right show where I used glue.




This picture shows rhythmic icons, which required that I copied images onto the note cards.  This is what I use for the song “Bell Horses”.IMG_5526


Posted in Bell Horses, Quarter note, quarter rest, Rhythm Chart, Stuff, Two eighths/Qt. | 1 Comment »

12 Days of Christmas

Posted by lbbartolomeo on December 13, 2012

the12daysofchristmasI LOVE pop-up books.  This is a fascinating book with beautiful pop-ups of the twelve days.  I use it in grades K and 1.  We begin by counting to twelve, then backwards from 12.  I sing the song slowly as I unfold each page.  The repetition of this cumulative song in combination with the book really cements the song.

Author:  Robert Sabuda

The below video is wonderful because it has bold, large-scale characters and has lyrics included.  It’s the perfect combo with the above book.

Posted in 12 Days of Xmas, Christmas, Songs | Leave a Comment »


Posted by lbbartolomeo on December 4, 2012

The Kenya Rock Star Madness Band came to our school, part of a promotional tour highlighting the new Kenya dolls.  Our students loved their program and their song “Proud” which has a positive message about pride, doing well in school, etc.  I’m going to use this song for our Black History Month concert.  The song and karaoke are available on iTunes!

Posted in Proud | Leave a Comment »

The Monster Mash

Posted by lbbartolomeo on October 20, 2012

My students love this classic song.

The FORM:  Intro A B A B C A B A B A B Coda       All sections are 8- 4/4 measures.

A-verses, B-chorus, C-Bridge

Movement Idea: 

Start lying down. On Intro, slowly stand up, walk like Zombies on A and C, do hand jives on B, slowly lie back down on Coda.

Rhythm Band

The great steady beat makes it perfect for reading rhythms to rhythm band.

Primary can just keep a steady beat using different non-pitched percussion.

Intermediate can manipulate different given patterns for A, B, C.  I use these patterns:  4 quarter notes, 3 quarters and 1 quarter rest, quarter note quarter rest quarter note quarter rest, etc.

Posted in Monster Mash, Rhythms, Songs | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Halloween (H-A-double L-O)

Posted by lbbartolomeo on October 19, 2012

This is an oldie goldie with fun singing and movement possibilities.  Here’s the video.

Introduction A Interlude B Interlude A Interlude C Interlude A Coda


The introduction, interludes, and coda are all the same instrumental music. It’s on these instrumental parts where I like to have movement.  Students get in groups and come up with 8 slow movements. (It is 8 measures of a fast 3/4)


Great fun with students spelling out the letters to the word Halloween with their fingers.

H is thumb tips touching and pointer fingers pointing up like you’re making a football goal post.

For A, keep the H and put your pointer fingers together to form the top point of the  A.

Double L is simply both hands making an L shape. (yes one will look backwards, but hey!!!)

O is just circle your hands into an O shape.

W is like the H but your thumbs lift up to form the inner part of the W.

E is three fingers turned sideways, using both hands. (again one is backwards)

I gave up on N and just drew it in the air!!!


The two verses here can be swaying or walking like a zombie or an endless number of simple moves.  I like to keep it simple because it goes into the instrumental portions with their created movement and I want them to be ready.

Posted in H-A-Double L-O, Rondo | Leave a Comment »

Hush Little Baby

Posted by lbbartolomeo on July 14, 2012

This is one of my FAVORITE songs with so many great resources.  Hush, Little Baby


Using a Feierabend idea, I sing the song to the class without the book.  We may do this for a couple of class periods.  We might get out our stuffed animals and puppets and rock them since this is a lullaby.  Then over a period of a few weeks I use all the media below.

This wonderful book by Brian Pinkney uses African-American characters and some verses not in the traditional folk song.  LOVE IT!

Hush, Little Baby: A Folk Song with Pictures

The next book is illustrated by Marla Frazee and the Appalachian family is stuck with a crying baby.  My kids LOVE the reaction of the baby to all of the attempts to get her to go to sleep.  There’s some sibling rivalry infused, too.

This last version by Sylvia Long has a bunny family as the center of this classic folk song.  It adds a diversity to the main characters in the song.


Find the notation HERE.


The COOLEST video EVER!!!  Bobby McFerrin and a string trio (Yo-Yo Ma on cello, violin, string bass) performing Hush Little Baby in classic Bobby style.

Posted in Hush Little Baby, Songs | 4 Comments »

Yankee Doodle

Posted by lbbartolomeo on June 30, 2012

I love this song for a variety of reasons.  It’s a classic, kids love it, great quarter/two eighth note patterns, and it can be a jumping off point to talk about the Revolutionary War era.

Great Info Here       Wikipedia


I LOVE this video from Sesame Street for kindergarten and first grade.  They giggle non-stop.



So many cute versions.  This one has a trio of girls who are seen in every verse following the dashing young man around.  Kids get a kick out of it.  It goes through three verses.

Product Details  Illustrated by Amanda Haley

This book by Mary Ann Hoberman takes the story and embellishes it to the point that YD and friends open a restaurant called “Yankee Doodle’s Noodles”.  My kids loved it because of the silly word play, fun illustrations, and crazy characters such as a poodle.

Yankee Doodle (Sing-Along Stories)

Teaching Ideas

1.  It has a great steady beat so any activity related to beats, especially marching.

2.  It’s in AB, verse/refrain form so the opportunities for STEADY BEAT movement and non-pitched percussion play are endless.

March on A, turn to your partner and make up a movement for B

With partner do a non-locomotor movement on A, locomotor on B (or reverse it).

Play woods on A, metals on B.

Get in groups of four, everyone has  rhythm sticks and come up with a way to play on A and B.

3.  The verse has a beautiful rhythm of two eighths (6x) followed by two quarters to which you can sing whatever rhythm system you prescribe to.

ti-ti, ti-ti, ti-ti, ti-ti, ti-ti, ti-ti, ta, ta (repeat) then sing the more complicated chorus with lyrics.

As a class, notate it and sing the rhythms.

Take rhythmic notation in grades 2 and 3 on the verse rhythm.

Posted in AB, Movement, Patriotic, Rhythms, Songs, Two eighths/Qt., Verse/Refrain, Yankee Doodle | Leave a Comment »

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