Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bling Blang

I love Woody Guthrie's book, Bling Blang! It comes with a CD of the song that the children thoroughly enjoy. I like to read the book first and sing the chorus each time. The students catch on quickly and sing along. I also demonstrate the movement for the chorus prior to reading the book. It is pretty simple and learning it ahead of time gives the students plenty of practice while I read.

After we read the book, it is time to learn the rest of the movements. I vary how much of the dance we perform, according to the class. Sometimes I start with only the chorus and add the rest on another day. Sometimes we do the verse and refrain, but save the interlude for later. Other times we are able to do everything in one day.  It just depends on what else I have planned for the day and how quickly the students catch on the lesson. The basic movements that I like to perform are as follows:

"Bling, blang, hammer with my hammer": Pound right fist on top of left fist twice, then left on top of right twice. It doesn't really matter which is first - just do one on top, and then the other.

"Zingo, zango, cutting with my saw": Begin with four sawing motions alternating both hands (R, L, R, L) - this will be performed with a partner later. They will join hands and saw back and forth four times.

Pat-pat-clap-clap throughout the verse while facing partners.

Instrumental Interlude:
After students can perform the verse and refrain well, you may want to let them walk around during the interlude and find a new partner.

A note about partners:
I always discuss proper behavior for finding a partner. (i.e. Eye contact with someone means they want to be your partner, never say "no" to someone, and never leave one partner for another one.) Finding a partner can be difficult for certain children. It is even a little trickier during the middle of a song, so I tell the students to raise their hand high if they don't have a partner. The key is to find someone else with a hand raised and then to actually move to that person. It's amazing how often a child will stand with his or her hand up, waiting for someone to appear.

I use this lesson with kindergarten and first grade classes. It is a fun way to work on performing a steady beat. It never fails to bring smiles and giggles.