It’s October and students are so ready for Halloween! They have been asking about Halloween activities since August! Thus, I am starting early with Halloween activities. All classes are learning to sing and play “Five Little Skeletons” by Walter Bates. I have skeleton cut-outs with movable parts that make it even more thrilling to interact and play. The skeletons can dance and move any way the students make them. The five skeletons start by dancing in our performance area: the piano bench.
Five little skeletons dancing through the door,
One tripped and fell, now there’s only four.
Four little skeletons happy as can be,
One fell apart, now there’s only three.
Three little skeletons stirring up some stew.
One fell in, now there’s only two.
Two little skeletons looking for some fun.
One [jumped] in, now there’s only one.
One little skeleton, nothing left to do.
Halloween, and s/he’s coming for you. Boo!
Students pick up the tune quickly and find the music a little chilling as I play the “Vibes” sound on the keyboard. Many of them sing along and are working on remembering the specific lines of rhymes with numbers that accompany each skeleton. This is a great activity to work on turn taking as there are only five skeletons and each skeleton has a different part. So half of the group are performers and the other half are great listening audience members. After the group turn, students choose to be different skeletons to act out a different part. Most of them want to be the last skeleton to say “boo!”; in addition, they relish in the time they get to play with the movable skeleton parts.
In playing with the skeletons, students are using their imagination and fine motor skills in coordinating the dance and fall of the skeleton. They work on sequencing events of the song to know whose turn it is and then delight in pairing the falling action with words to drop the skeleton off the bench and watch how the skeleton lands on the floor. The song works on counting numbers backwards from 5 to 1 skeleton and students are motivated by the music; they prefer me to play and sing the piano than just singing alone. I am most surprised what a big hit the movable paper skeletons are and all the students want to make their own to bring home. That’s our project for next week!