I enjoy sharing songs that are in a book format with students. “Going to the Zoo” by Tom Paxton is such an example. One can find the sheet music on the inside covers of the book. There are beautiful illustrations that accompany the song about each of the animal. With the predictably of the chorus and the last line of the verse, students can participate in singing as well.
As I turn a page, I have the Elephant and Seals classes name the animals, then imitate me in the animal sounds and actions. For example, for elephant, we used our arm as a trunk and blew our lips out. Then we pointed out a few things in the picture that the animals are doing or what the students see. At the end of the verse, I pause for students to finish “we can stay all day.” I start with leaving out “day” at the beginning of the song and gradually fade out one word as the song goes on. By the end, a one or two student will say, the sentence, “we can stay all day.”
After reading the book, I had students name the animals we saw and made a dance movement with each of the animals. That tested their memory and attention skills to name the animals. Both classes particularly remembered the animals that had defined movements: trunk swaying (elephant), hands clapping (Seals), hands up and roar (lion), and hands flapping (bird). Then we worked their gross motor skills by doing the animal movements in a patterned dance around the room. They love being animals!