Friday, August 30, 2013

Dancing Bears Song

My junior kindergarten students learn about bears in the fall and I'm always trying to come up with some new songs and activities to enhance their studies of bears. Of course, I came across a poem called "Dancing Bears" but didn't like the words or the rhythm so I came up with this: Late at night, the moon is bright (X X X X) Bears are dancing in the light (X X X X) Round the circle here they go, they're bear-y hairy, bear-y slow (X....) Bear-y funny dancing bears. (X X X X) The X's are where students clapped for 4 beats, then we transferred that to triangles. The "X...." after "slow" in the third line is where we played a roll on the triangle. I played a simple bordun on the Orff instruments and they loved it.. giggles galore! Melody is as follows: Sharing instruments the first few times is tricky; helping them to understand that we have to share and take turns, etc. I set up the triangles as pictured (the line yellow and blue line is a stretchy band and creates a barrier so we know not to run over and pick up instruments to play). Then I create partners and demonstrate with one group of partners how one partner sits in front and one in back. I use a funny nonsense poem or nursery rhyme that is 8 beats long and speak it rhythmically. Whenever I speak this, students know (through my highest grades) that they have to switch. We use this system whenever we share instruments and it makes switching fun and quick (8 beats long). Be consistent with whatever you use; I use one poem with JrK and Kindergarten, add another to the repertoire in first grade, etc. They LOVE this!!! Once I have demonstrated how to switch with one partner group, I ask partners to go to a particular color and I choose who goes in front and who goes behind. Once they are there, I tell them they can play as loud/fast as they want to for 5 seconds and I hold up five fingers, then four, etc. until I have a closed fist. Then we practice switching and I give the partners a time to play also. PLAY is important; not only to play when we tell them to, but to explore making sound; it is the beginning of improvisation.. noisy, chaotic, but soooo important!! And FUN! Once they have learned how to do this, I take the spots away: We only do spots 2-3 times, then they've got it figured out! Happy end of the first week for most of you.. I'm ending my second week! Wahoo.. long weekend.. :)


  1. love the stretchy bands--looked online and they are expensive. West has them for $85. Where did you buy yours?

  2. Hi Sharon- I made mine- call one of the hosiery companies.. I think I called L'eggs or Hanes and asked to buy a box of the WHITE nylons that were seconds.. they were about $20.00 a box and I ordered two boxes which, if I remember right, made quite a few bands. Dye the hosiery using your favorite method, then you cut them the legs apart (put the leg sideways to you and cut- you'll end up with an "O" once stretched)into about 4" strips; You then pull A strip through the B strip part way and then push A strip back up and over B strip back through A strip.. not sure if this makes sense...? Let me know if you need more detailed instructions. These are wonderful and I've had mine for 7 years or so and they've maintained their shape even after all the many uses they get!

  3. Where did you get the stretch bands?

    1. Hi Angela, if you'll look at the earlier reply on Sept. 2nd you'll see that I made them. There are instructions for "how to" also. Let me know if you need more info. I love them and they've held up so well!