"Ka-shee-shee, say it with me!"

Oh boy, everyone was very sleepy in class today! I think the gloomy weather and allergy season was to blame for the absence of the majority of participants today, however, the rest of us soldiered on and I was VERY excited to sing some new songs with the group today. We started with a review, singing "Roly Poly", and "Where Is Thumbkin". Then I introduced a new finger chant called "One Little Finger". It focuses on using the whole hand to count to the number 5. We began by tapping the pointer fingers together, then putting them up in the air, down to the ground and in our laps. We did the same with two, three, etc. It was fun to see even the littlest ones trying to find three fingers on each hand. What a challenge! To follow, we woke up all our body parts with "I Wake Up My Hands". I asked the group to spread their arms out as wide as they could, and taught them another new song called "I Shut The Door". Once we shut the doors, we pretended to climb the bus steps for "Wheels On The Bus". (LOTS of non-locomotor movement today!). We took the bus to Old MacDonald's farm, where I asked the children, "What animals do you see?" Remembering that I had "quizzed" them on animal sounds and signs last week, I wanted to see what they could come up with on their own. Some of the answers were frog, cat, dog, pig, chicken, bird, crocodile, mouse, bug, rooster and cow...WHEW! After singing through ALL the animal verses, we stood up and sang one of my favourite songs, "Elephants Have Wrinkles". It was a great time for me to assess which children were able to find specific body parts (feet, knees, hips, ears, nose and teeth), and it was nice to stretch our bodies after sitting (and focusing) on the floor for longer than usual.

We stood for this week's IOTW. Hailing from Brazil, the Caxixi (pronounced as Ka-Shee-Shee) is a percussion instrument consisting of a closed basket with a flat bottom filled with beads and/or seeds. Like a maraca, it is sounded by shaking. First we practiced saying this new word all together to a rhythmic chant which the group echoed, "Ka-Shee-Shee, say it with me!" We passed one pair around the circle as we sang a couple of songs, "Shake My Sillies Out" and "Hey There Shakey Shakey". It gave everyone a chance to imitate and explore this new sound without the pressure of having to "perform" for the group. I decided to bring out the maracas to compare the similarities and differences, and demonstrated a rhythm that could be played on either instrument.

After handing out the rest of the non-pitched percussion (drum, maraca, tambourine, clave sticks), we incorporated the Caxixi rhythm into "Jamaica Farewell" for our jam. It was encouraging to hear how well the group was able to keep the rhythm going while singing a melody simultaneously. If we had tried this activity in the first week of class, I am not sure we would have been so successful! We finished with the parachute, which is always a highlight for the children. I decided to keep the Caxixi with me and play along to the various song samples while sitting underneath with the children.

Singing goodbye was thankfully a little less dramatic than last week, and with a couple of yawns being passed around from face to face, I sent them off for lunch!