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Dramatic Possibilities With Chants
Sonja Dunn

Excerpted from All Together Now: 200 of Sonja Dunn's Best Chants.

Chanting, by its nature, is dramatic. Its possibilities are limited only by the imagination of the creative leader and the child participants.

Capitalize on this by making strategic use of mnemonic devices, or props that aid memory. It works well to show a key symbol, such as a pop bottle, before launching into "Pizza and Pop,"I pull such items from my story skirt or story hat. If you¹re planning to present a lot of chants or stories, I recommend that you adopt one of these ways of introducing chants. [Instructions for making a "story skirt" are included in the Appendix of All Together Now.]

Chanting offers wonderful opportunities for creative movement. When you first present a chant, model miming, such as washing your hands in Cleano. Then let students experiment with miming, too. Some chants, such as Keeping Fit, call for lots of specific actions. Or, add your own gestures,such as making an arc with both hands to suggest a rainbow. Alternatively, introduce all the mime and rhythm-keeping activities before you speak. Students can practice fine and gross motor skills as they find movements to match the chant.

Chants allow children to appreciate non-verbal communication. When you present a chant, remember to make thoughtful pauses -- even lively music takes rests -- gestures that reinforce the meaning, and animated facial expressions. These will help children interpret the chant and respond to it appropriately. For example, scowling and hands on hips would reinforce the lines of The Sharing Rap. Students can later join you in interpreting the text non-verbally.

You will also recognize opportunities for dramatic extensions. The text of a chant will suggest possibilities to you.

Published with permission. © 1999 Pembroke Publishers. This chant and 199 others appear in Sonja Dunn's All Together Now: 200 of Sonja Dunn's Best Chants.

It can be purchased in Canada from Pembroke Publishers. Also available from Amazon.com


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