Grinding Corn

Well, it's November (well, tomorrow is November) and Thanksgiving is just three weeks away!!!  I can't believe it!!!

Here is one of my all-time favorite songs to do at this time of year.  I learned the version from Cindy McCaskill (it's my favorite) but I've heard other versions of it:

I use this song to talk with my 1st graders about how different things were at the first Thanksgiving: they had no electricity (No T.V.?!!!  No computers?!!!), no cars, no streets, etc.  And everyone was expected to "pitch in" and help with chores.  I actually have real stones that I use for this song and they keep a steady beat while pretending to "grind" corn. . . and we bring in real corn so they can see all the different colors of corn.

I have created a PowerPoint that I use for this song and we use various slides from it, depending on what we are preparing or practicing in that specific grade level.

In first grade, we use the following slides to read and keep the beat to the song:

I bring this song back in 2nd and 3rd grade as a familiar song from which they will read and practice or prepare new rhythmic and melodic elements.

In 2nd grade, we are practicing half note so we read the song and practice the rhythms from these slides:

We then replace the iconic rhythm with symbolic notes:

And finally we replace the tied quarter notes with notated half notes:

In 3rd grade, we are prepating la,.  We will read the song from the following slides.  We draw attention to the unknown note and it's critical attributes: that it is lower then do and it's a skip below do:

Later, after la, is presented we will come back to this song and read it from the following slides:

I hope you all "survived" Halloween!!!  And Happy November 1st!!


  1. cool! Where did you get your stones?

    1. It was so long ago, and it was in Oregon. . . I wish I remembered!!! :)

  2. Thank you for this! I have used this with First Grades and have made it into a beat-passing game. All students are seated in a circle and begin with a bean bag. I say "Arms up, bags down" and then "1-2-3-grab-pass". One bag is white and marked with an "x". If that bag lands on you on the last syllable of the last word "grind-ing", you are out. You then choose a rhythm percussion instrument to play on the outside of the circle to help keep the beat for those students still passing the bags. One question about your post: I notice a difference between the music notation and your slides with the phrase "Here I am" and "Here am I". Is that intentional or could that be made consistent?

    1. Ooooh!! I love the passing idea, I'm so going to steal that!!!! And thanks for noticing my error on those slides, you're correct! And the slides are out of order. I'm having some problems with Blogger in that when I go to edit it it's not showing any of my images so I can't see the slides. Have you had this problem? Thanks again, I've got it fixed, now just to change it in the post!! :)

  3. I forgot all about this song and it's a fun one! I just presented low la in 3rd and this will be another great practice song. Thanks!


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