I love using folk songs in my classroom, for SO many reasons! There are so many fantastic songs with great games that I use in my classroom, but I also like using these folk songs to improve music literacy.
Even if it is only projecting the melodic contour of the song on my interactive whiteboard, I have found that by allowing students to have a visual representation of what they are singing helps them connect what they have been singing to what they see in front of them.
One of my favorite ways to have students practice this is by having them be the leader of our class. I give them one of my pointers and have them point to each note while the class sings all together. Not only have I seen this improve students’ abilities to track the notes, I have also seen this make it easier for students when we move onto having them notate the melodies or rhythms of the piece on their own.
Some of my favorite resources in my classrooms are my folk song kits. I created these to give students the opportunity to have that visual representation of what they are singing, as I talked about previously. If you want to learn more about these, I have my folk song kit for Apple Tree available for free on my Teachers Pay Teachers store. You can claim your freebie by clicking the image below.
Taking The Next StepPreviously, I have shared how I like to have students do rhythmic notation in small groups using popsicle sticks and other small manipulatives, but I also frequently use a similar method for melodic notation.
As many of you can attest, the erasers from the Target Dollar Spot are perfect for melodic notation. I have personal staffs in my classroom that allow students to put the erasers (which are the PERFECT size to stand in as note heads) on the lines and spaces to show the melodic contour of the song we are working on.
I try to use erasers that have to do with the song we are singing. I’ve seen that students really buy in when using these, and I will never be going back to using standard manipulatives. Once students have notated the melody, they follow the melodic contour of the piece as we sing it as a class.
Some of my favorite folk songs in my classroom are Doggie Doggie, Mouse Mousie, Apple Tree, Wall Flowers, and sooooo many more! Not only do these songs all have easy elements to extract to reinforce musical concepts, but they have games to them that students love and ask for!
If you are interested in learning more about the Folk Song Kits that I use in my classroom, check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Bryson Tarbet is the music educator and blogger behind That Music Teacher.