“Barnyard Banter” by Denise Fleming is a great book about farm animals and their sounds. While using a shaker to keep a steady beat, I chanted the words of the book and had the Turtles and Giraffes repeat after me after I read each page. Doing so helps their print awareness, reading skills, animal recognition, reciprocal vocalization, and association of sounds with animals. They love looking at the pictures and reading the words along with me. They especially are enthusiastic to say, “Where’s goose?” and point out the goose’s location on the following page.
In doing the animal sounds, I used different inflections and pitches which students successfully imitate in both rhythm and tonality. After reading the story, I handed out egg shakers for the students to feel the rhythm with me while playing their shaker. We focused on the page with all the animal sounds to play and chant the sounds. They were impressive in shaking their egg in time to their words and to the different rhythm of each of the animals.
This week, I laid out various instruments with the instructions to choose an instrument that sounds like the animal’s sound. This was their opportunity to have choice and control in the instrument to play. After reading a page, I picked one student to play an instrument to reflect the animal’s sound. They demonstrated great waiting, turn taking skills, and listening skills. Some students choose what they wanted to play, not connecting to the animal while a handful of students thoughtfully choose an instrument to express the animal’s sound. For me and the other teachers, it was fascinating to see how students perceived and expressed the animal sounds on the instruments. Several students were stuck on playing the rainstick or cowbell and had to have a turn after seeing their peers play it. A few choose the instrument they wanted to play and made the animal’s sound work with the instrument. Overall, students had a pleasant time exploring different instruments and their sounds while reviewing their animal sounds.