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The P.R.I.Z.E. Method of Teaching Songs and Chants
Charlotte Diamond


These teaching tips are excerpted from Charlotte Diamond's Musical Treasures: 
      A Songbook with Activites for Teachers and Families

P. PROPS, PUPPETS & DRAMA - make the words come alive visually
R. RHYTHM and MOVEMENT - find the beat and move to it
I. IMAGINATION - stimulate creativity, a sense of wonder and discovery
Z. ZIPPER SONGS - write new songs by adding variations to those you know
E. ECHO - CALL AND RESPONSE - the easiest way to teach a song

Try these ideas with any song, poem or story!

Appeal to the eyes!

• Props enhance the visual impact, add a sense of fun and comedy, reduce the inhibitions of the teacher and the children and increase comprehension of the words.

• A felt board with felt figures or stick puppets with paper figures can animate a story or song. For example, a Slippery fish is eaten by an Octopus, who is eaten by a Tuna Fish, who is eaten by 
a Great White Shark...etc.

• Puppets allow the focus to pass to a puppet, teddy bear or stuffed animal who can present a different point of view. Puppets encourage conversation and problem solving. Do you have a classroom mascot like the Hug Bug or another animal that can spend time with a child on a special day?

• Drama encourages children to enter the world of fantasy and imagination through simple costumes: hats, dark glasses, boots, umbrellas, a laundry basket, Dracula cape and binoculars, dog ears, slug antennae, face paint, ribbon sticks and bubble wands. Change your voice to suit the characters, such as, Dracula, a Dog, a Bear or Sasquatch.

• Suggested songs: "I Wanna Be a Dog", "Dicky Dinosaur", "Slimy the Slug", "The Hug Bug", "Looking for Dracula", "The Laundry Monster", "My Bear Gruff", “Puddles”, “Octopus”, “I am a Bubble”, “Singin’ in the Rain”, “Snuggle with Your Puppy”

Let’s get moving!

• Children love rhythm; it makes the lyrics of a song or chant easier to learn and to remember. Hand claps, finger snaps, and sound effects help to develop a sense of rhythm.

• Rhythmic body movement encourages physical or kinesthetic involvement with the song, 
for example, sign language or gesture, simple dance steps and clapping with a partner.

• Ribbons and scarves follow the flow of the music and allow a child to explore the space around her/him.

• Songs that come from other lands or cultures are easier to teach when we start with the rhythmic pulse of the music. Make simple percussion instruments based on authentic instruments, such as, maracas, claves, guiros, tambourines and rain sticks.

• Suggested rhythmic songs - "La Bamba", "Stop and Listen", "Co-operation", "Rubber Blubber Whale", “Dicky Dinosaur”, "Zulu Carol", “Feliz Navidad”, “All the Nations Like Banana", "Bats ta pâte", “The Carousel”, “Hush Little Baby”, ”Morningtown Ride”, “Giddyup Pony”, “Splishin’ and Splashin’”, “New Potato Polka”, “All Mixed Up”.

Talk with our hands and body!

• Rhythmic movement unifies the group. Holding hands in a circle is a wonderful way to begin and end the day. “Donne-moi la main” (Give Me Your Hand) “Toma mi mano”

• Movement increases attention span and participation. When a movement crosses the body midline, both sides of the brain become involved. (Four Hugs a Day or 10 Crunchy Carrots)

• Sign language increases comprehension and introduces the language of the hearing-impaired.

• Suggested songs: "Four Hugs a Day", "May There Always Be Sunshine", “Spider’s Web”, “Each of Us Is a Flower”, "Dicky Dinosaur", "What Kind of Tree Are You", "Octopus", "Sing in the Spring", "5 Little Sparrows", "Listen to the Water", "De Colores”, “Roots and Wings”, “Sh! Sh! Fingers”, “Leave the World a Little Better”, “Look Through the Kaleidoscope”, “Lucky Streak”.

Let’s pretend!

• The magic words, “Let’s pretend” always evoke a sense of mystery, suspense and discovery.

• Use music to stimulate a child’s creative development through word-play and role-play. A stormy day, a special event, classroom news, such as a new puppy can lead into song or story. Be spontaneous when children have a keen interest in a topic.

• Draw while listening to music. A song can create a mood or expand on a theme.

• Suggested songs and stories: - “Looking For Dracula”, “Two Books”, “Fly High Unicorn”, “ Spider’s Web”, “The Carousel & My Favourite Things”, “Dragons and Dinosaurs”, “Goodnight Mistress Moon”, “I Wanna Be a Dog”, “Skookumchuck”, “My School is the World”.

Let’s make up a new song!

• Encourage children to compose their own songs by adapting songs they already know. For
example: “I am a Pizza” could become “I am a Sandwich”, “I am a Taco” or “I am a Bubble”. 
• Take the pattern of “My Bear Gruff” and add other animals whose names end in “uff” - Puff, Fluff, Tuff and Ruff. Change “I Wanna be a Dog” to a Bear, a Whale or a Seal.

• “May There Always Be Sunshine” - May there always be eagles, whales, rhinos or other endangered species. May there always be friends, sisters, brothers, cousins, grandparents.

• Suggested zipper songs: "Listen to the Water" , "It's a Rainy Day", “Sing in the Spring”,
“Sh! Sh! Fingers”, "What Kind of Tree Are You?" (What Kind of Fish Are You?), “Splishin’ and Splashin’”, “We Need Water”, “Leave the World a Little Better”(a little kinder, a little brighter)

ECHO SONGS (Call and Response)
Let’s take turns being the leader!

• Echoing is one of the most effective ways of teaching lyrics and melody to children.
The group can be divided in two, one group leads and the other echoes.

• Echoing is excellent for teaching English as a Second Language, or introducing another language. The teacher can hear more clearly the response of individual children. The children can see how the teacher forms the words, then imitate mouth shape as well as sound.

• Suggested Echo Songs: "I am a Pizza" (Je suis une Pizza) (Soy una Pizza), "Puddles", "Sasquatch", "Looking for Dracula", "The Days of the Week", "The Zulu Carol", “I am a Bubble."

Remember to include quiet songs during the day to rest, soothe and nurture our softer side.

See all of our Suggestions for Using Music with Children

These teaching tips are excerpted from Charlotte Diamond's Musical Treasures: 
      A Songbook with Activites for Teachers and Families

Many thanks to Charlotte Diamond for permission to display these teaching ideas.
© Charlotte Diamond. All rights reserved. Used with permission.


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