submitted by Mary Catherine from Fun-A-Day.com
As John Funk explains in “Music and Reading”, children can learn a variety of important skills via songs, poems, and chants. I love incorporating them into my preschool lesson plans because the kiddos learn so much while having a ton of FUN! Using pocket chart poems and songs when teaching reading and name recognition is a favorite activity of mine.
Recently, my class and I did just that with the song “Old McDonald Had a Farm”. We’d been discussing apples, pumpkins, harvest time, and farms over the past two months. So “Old McDonald” was a great choice based on our recent themes, and the fact that the kids already knew the song.
To set up this activity, I wrote out the first few lines of the song on sentence strips. From there, I added the sentence strips to our big blue pocket chart. Once that was settled, I asked the children what animals we should have on our farm. They chose cow, chicken, pig, sheep, and horse. I just drew simple pictures of those farm animals on construction paper and added the animals to our pocket chart. (If you’d rather have a printable version of farm animals, I have a free version at my Teachers Notebook shop). We already had sentence strips with our names on them, so I added those too.
Once the pocket chart was ready, I grabbed a pointer and we got started! The sheep was up first, so I made sure to add the appropriate card to our pocket chart. We sang the song together while I pointed to the words on the chart. I didn’t have the last part of the song written out, but the kids were fine singing that on their own.
Once we went through all the farm animals, we decided to add the children’s names to the song. This is ALWAYS a huge hit in my preschool classroom! The kids like to see their names in any of our classroom activities, so that really grabbed their attention. It also made the song even funnier for the children – they were giggling up a storm at “Old McMary Catherine had a farm . . .”! A well-known song, their names, AND humor equaled an incredibly fun learning experience!
What did the kiddos learn from this short and silly pocket chart poem?
- The concept of a word (“a word goes from space to space”)
- We read from left to right and top to bottom
- Name recognition – their own names, as well as their friends’ names
- What we say can be written and what is written can be said
- Simple farm animal words
- Letter-sound correspondence
- And much more!
What songs and poems do you enjoy using in the classroom? Do your students have any favorites?
Mary Catherine is mama to a 6-year old kick in the pants, teacher to a fun group of pre-k students, and the force behind Fun-A-Day! She loves reading (especially science fiction), messy science experiments with her son, and dark chocolate! You can connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and Twitter.