Yankee Doodle

Hi everyone!  I hope you had a GREAT Thanksgiving!  I'm going to be breaking out the seasonal songs and games with my kids this week.  We have a little less then 3 weeks until Winter Break with one of those days being a late start.  So, I will see my Kinder-3rd graders 3 times and my 4th & 5th graders 4 times.  There's not really any time to start any new conceptual learning so this time will be spent with a lot of reinforcement of known concepts and a lot of prepping and repertoire building for when we get back.

My 5th graders are currently prepping ti.  This is the EARLIEST I've ever been able to do ti and I'm quite giddy.  They will also get to at least tim-ka (dotted eighth-sixteenth) before May and that too makes me giddy.  I have NEVER taught tim-ka!!  This is in part to it being my 3rd year with the majority of the kiddos and the other I really believe is that I'm teaching children who speak my same "native tongue."  You see, I worked in a "bilingual" school for 10 years prior to being at Red Hawk.  Bilingual is in quotes because it really was an English-language acquisition school.  90-94% of the students' first language was Spanish which means, with me being an English speaking teacher, they were learning in their second language or in a language which was new to them.  As much as I tried to learn repertoire that I could use in my teaching that was from their culture it couldn't replace the fact that I did not grow up with that musical language.

Wow, that was a tangent!

At any rate, back to ti.  My fifth graders are preparing ti, which means we're singing and playing and moving and creating with a lot of repertoire that includes ti.  This brings me to Yankee Doodle.

Mallory Harrison, our past ROCKE president, learned a hand clapping pattern at the OAKE National Conference last year at one of the sessions that she attended.  At Susan Brumfield's ROCKE workshop last year she briefly showed it to me.  I'm not sure if I remembered it correctly but here's the gist:  she learned it to Yankee Doodle (which, there is a fun play party for this song in "The Handy Play Party Book".  If you don't have this book, buy it for yourself as Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa present, you deserve it!).

Here's the "A" section, I'm sure you all know the song:

The hand clapping pattern, facing a partner, goes:
right hand (of partner)
clap (own hand)
left hand (of partner)
clap (own hands)
both (hands of partner)
clap (own hands)
both hands with partner, with inter-linking fingers.  (weave fingers like you are "folding" your hands, then twist your fingers so that they are towards you and your palms go to your partner).
back (against own hands)

Then the pattern repeats.  The 7th step is the hardest (and the hardest to explain)

This was a lot of fun, but we like to kick things up in the music room, so after the finger-weaving pat they changed partners (we were in concentric circles).

Here's a little video of one of my 5th grader classes so you can better see it:

I hope you all have a GREAT week!


  1. Hey Amy,

    As always, I love your posts. It's great to read about and learn from your teaching. I'm glad you took your tangent! I teach in a school that's about 96% English Language Learners and it's tough! I so often get frustrated that I can't teach as many songs or as quickly as I would like. The kids have acclimated to me and know what I expect and so they work quickly and take a lot in, but there's only so much that they/I can do. Do you have any thoughts? Tricks? Tips? Anything that you picked up when teaching ELLs that would help me out? I'm learning much as I go, but I would love to hear what you have to say.

    Great post as always!


  2. I love the hand clapping game! I want to teach yankee doodle but didn't know what to do with it...this is so helpful! :)


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