Bee Songs for First Grade

When I took Level I Kodály at PSU, Susan Brumfield taught materials and pedagogy.  In those classes she taught us a lot of literature to use with kindergarten and first grade.  Three of those songs she lovingly titled her "Bee Trilogy".  Here they are with an additional song that I learned from Jo Kirk and some rhythmic and melodic teaching ideas.


Formation: seated circle, with one person, the "bee" on the outside of the circle.
Action:  this is basically "Duck, Duck, Goose" with the outside player, the "bee," keeping a steady beat as they walk around the outside of the circle and on the final word "out" tagging the seated player that they are behind.  That player chases the "bee" one time around the circle one time until the "bee" is tagged or the "bee" reaches the other player's seat.  I have a bee puppet that the player who is the "bee" gets to use. . . this is very motivating. :)

When I play this activity, once we know ta and ti-ti, if the "bee" is tagged they must sit in the "bee hive" (the center of the circle).  While the next game is played the player in the middle must compose a 4 beat pattern using known rhythmic elements.  I have a big poster bee that I got at a teacher store and laminated.  Using a Vis-a-Vis marker they compose the rhythm on the bee.  To leave the center of the circle, the rest of the class must read the rhythmic pattern that the center player composed.


I actually use Burnie Bee as a spoken chant (in our Kodály PST another member shared the melodic version).   Using Burnie Bee as a chant, I have the students perform it with different voices: singing voice, spoken, high voice, low voice, whispering voice, shouting voice, and any voices that they can improvise. 


Formation: seat circle (standing if we perform it later in the first grade year- they have to have the skills to keep a circle round to do this standing).
Action:  one student is the bee and weaves in and out of the "windows" in between the players of the seated circle.  The "bee" lands on the closest player on the text "me" at the end of the song.


This is a finger play:
"Here is the bee hive, where are the bees?"- fingers laced, tucked in towards the palms of the hands- similar to "here is the church, here is the steeple"
"Hiding inside so nobody sees."- turn hands "inside out" so that the fingers are showing
"They are coming out now, they are all alive", fingers "fly" away 
"1, 2. . .etc." count showing fingers.

All these songs are great for preparing and practicing ta & ti-ti, with "Here is the Beehive" adding the rhythmic element quarter rest.  In preparation activities I use cards with bee stickers.   The cards are the beat and the stickers are the number of sounds on a beat.  So, just to clarify: one sticker on a card equals one sound on a beat and two stickers on a card equals two sounds on a beat:

Once ta and ti-ti have been presented the sticker cards get replaced like this:

All of these songs are also great for teaching so-mi (extractable phrases) and la (Bee, Bee (in the so-mi-la turn) & Burnie Bee (in the so-la-so turn) are pure "la" songs while Busy Buzzy and Here is the Beehive have extractable phrases.  Once la has been presented I use these tone ladders and solfa charts to have the students track the solfége of the songs.  These can also be used for warm-up patterns, dictation (teacher sings a pattern on "loo" and students sing back on solfa), etc.  The possibilities are endless


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