Thursday, 1 August 2013

Where are my chickens and my hens? - Avalon Update.

So what’s new in Vashi? We’re halfway through our adventure…scary stuff! I’ve decided that I don’t want to leave. Becky and I were discussing how we felt about India and we were both told before we left that India gets in your blood. We can definitely see why!

At the start of July, I was struggling with what do to with the nursery children. I spoke to my parents about it and they were very helpful. ‘Oh Cathryn, the songs we used to sing with you. Little Bunny Fou Fou! Try that, you used to LOVE singing along, scooping up the field mice and ‘bopping’ them on the head!’ I thought it was worth a shot so I tried it with all three of my nursery classes. It was a success and yes, they too, love singing:

Little Bunny Fou Fou hopping through the forest, scooping up the field mice and BOPPING them on the head!

They also love making ‘goon’ faces at me - another key part of the song. If you would like to know more about what becomes of the troublesome Fou Fou, google ‘The Singing Kettle.’ It, like sing up, is a great resource with a variety of songs to sing with younger children.

I had my first workshop with the day care children this week. They are a mixed bunch of children aged between about 5 and 13. For this, I started with a ‘copy what I do’ exercise. I had the kids arranged in a circle and then did various silly things to make everyone comfortable and laughing and also make their attention focused on me. Then we moved on to one of my favourite songs:

Where are my chickens and my hens? 2,3,4. Where are my chickens and my hens? 2,3,4. Where are my chickens? Where are my hens? Where are my chickens and my hens? 2,3,4.

A tap (beat) is passed around the circle as we sing the song (like a kind of hand rhyme) and the person who the tap lands on (at the end of the song), has to act like a chicken in the middle of the circle whilst the rest of us try to stifle laughs and giggles. We did that a few times so I had a nice little coup of chickens by the end. The kids were having fun and it put a smile on my face to see the urgency of which some children corrected my chicken wing flapping technique.

We then sang ‘Bongalow.’ Another song I picked up at university. This is great for learning each child’s name and making everyone feel involved as each person is called upon separately to show us how they ‘bongalow’ (dance). Becky’s grade 2 classes love this one also! They have some of the most enthusiastic and imaginative dance moves I’ve seen of young children. I then spent the rest of the session doing rhythm games with them and at the end, took requests for songs they would like to learn. We’ll start learning those today.

In my kindergarten classes I’m starting to do newer songs with them. I’ve done ‘I’ve been eaten by a boa constrictor!’ with my junior kindergarten class. Thanks be to Hannah Evans of Bath Spa University for teaching me that one. There are more sing up songs I’d like to teach them and I’ve got the backing tracks for them on a CD. Use of the CD is great for adding variety and keeping them engaged; some songs are unaccompanied, some are accompanied with the uke and other instruments and others are accompanied via backing tracks.

Muktangan workshops are in the process of being organised and there should be lots to report on that after the week of Indian independence day.

I hope everyone’s enjoying their summer. Speak soon!

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