Finger Puppets in the Music Classroom!
Students singing by themselves is a important concept for elementary students. It helps build their confidence and develops vocal independence. The question is, how do we get students to sing by themselves? The biggest advice I have is to start early. If they solo sing in Kindergarten and first grade then they are more likely to do it in forth and fifth grade. Here are a few ways to promote solo singing in your classroom.
Finger puppets are a great way to get students involved! There are many places to get finger puppets since they are relatively inexpensive. HERE is where I get finger puppets for my classroom. They may only last a few years but you can just buy some new ones when they fall apart.
First, I read the book "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See" to the students. We sing the book which prepares us for the next activity. Once we are done with the book, we sit in a circle and I pass out the finger puppets. We will hold up our puppets to see what animal each student has.
I will start the activity by singing a student's animal "Cow, cow, what do you see?"
The student with the cow will then sing, "I see a frog looking at me".
The whole class will then sing "Frog, frog, what do you see?"
Student with frog then sings "I see a (insert new animal) looking at me!"
This activity will then continue like this until you stop the activity or everyone has a turn.
It is a great way for students to find their voice and to assess if they are matching pitch. I also changed the melody of the original song to Sol and Mi to reinforces those concepts and to make it easier for the students.
Conversations With Puppets- Second/Third Grade
Give a finger puppet to each student and have them pair up with a partner. Once they are sitting down, give them a subject for them to sing about (ex. favorite food, the weather, favorite animal, family). Once they have a subject, they must have a conversation with their neighbor but it must be in song. Everyone will be doing it at the same time so it will be a little loud but this also helps them sing out to their partner. Switch subjects frequently and walk around the room to make sure they are using their singing voice.
Before this activity is started, show some examples in front of the class. You may also make some connections to musicals and how they use song to tell stories. Besides solo singing, this activity also promotes improvisation in your students! This is a great way to get your students out of their comfort zone and singing to each other!
Finger puppets are a great way to add something special to your music class. The students will have fun and they won't even know they are solo singing! If you have other ways you use finger puppets in your classroom please feel free to share in the comments below!