Not the Easter Bunny… The Instrument Bunny!!
If you have a rabbit puppet, this lesson is for YOU! I’ve been buying more puppets and experimenting a lot with puppet use for instruction in the classroom lately. I definitely got inspired when I recently attended a local Orff chapter workshop with Lynn Kleiner of Music Rhapsody. She uses puppets a lot to encourage music making, manage students, and have tons of fun. I saw several of Lynn’s example lessons using puppets at the workshop and I left that day with a couple puppets and a book of her lessons (not to mention a lot of inspiration). GREAT purchase, totally worth it…
OH, oh, oh! And if you don’t have a rabbit puppet then check out this adorable one from Folkmanis and get it TODAY! I have one that’s not as cute, but it’s my hope to upgrade to the amazing Folmanis version ASAP. Heck, while you’re there check out the “fluffy cat” too! I’ve been using that puppet to teach the “Naughty Kitty Cat” song and game!
The Instrument Bunny Comes to Play
I had a bunch of separate things that I wanted to do in this lesson and the instrument bunny helped me tie them all together! I wanted to work on steady beat, do some echo clapping, work on pitch matching, read rhythms from flashcards, and slowly transition to reading while clapping or playing rhythm sticks. OH, and I wanted to use my pastel egg shakers (perfect for Easter/spring, right?). That was a lot to accomplish with kindergarten, thank goodness for that bunny… here’s how it worked!
A week or two ago my KDG folks heard about the terrible leprechaun that was terrorizing our classroom and trying to steal our instruments. This was a really fun lesson from last year that incorporated a “trapped” leprechaun and finger cymbals. Read about that lesson when you click here. When the instrument bunny showed up she told us that she had come to chase off that instrument-stealing terror of a leprechaun and while she was there she was going to help us with the instruments. She said, “Please don’t mistake me for that other bunny from this time of year… you know, the Easter bunny. That’s my cousin. People always mess us up. I’m not him. I’m the INSTRUMENT bunny!!”
She also wanted to introduce us to a new instrument! She was careful that we remembered she was not the Easter bunny but the INSTRUMENT bunny. “Now don’t get confused when I pull out this instrument. It might make you think I’m the Easter bunny but I’m NOT!” Then she would pull out the pastel colored egg and the kids would laugh. A rabbit pulling out a pastel egg at this time of year looks like an Easter bunny thing, right?
She would tell them about egg shakers and then asked them to listen. “What do you think is inside making that sound?” Sidebar: my egg shakers are pastel egg shakers purchased years ago from West or maybe Woodwind Brasswind. They are sealed and I honestly don’t know what’s inside, but for the sake of this lesson…. My students would debate what material is inside to make the shaking sound and then the instrument bunny would tell them that it’s actually sand inside. “And oh my gosh, I love going to the beach and playing in sand, except it usually means that I get all covered in sand. I can never seem to get it all off, no matter how much I shake!” Then while the instrument bunny was holding the egg shaker in her hands she would shake back and forth as if she was trying to get sand off her body. “Oh my goodness! That shaking off the sand makes me think of a song I know!”
Then we put our egg shakers away and went over to read some Note Neighborhood flashcards (my kids love the neighbors and can’t wait until they’re old enough to meet the “Sassy Half!). We read some rhythms and then went back and clapped while we read the rhythms. The instrument bunny came over to approve of what we were doing and then caught a couple kids reading, “Oh so well! I’m impressed!”
Later that week the instrument bunny came back during our rhythm reading time to bring us some rhythm sticks to click instead of clapping. She showed up and said, “I have a great surprise, Mr. Row, but I’m not sure the kids can handle it yet. Maybe have them read and clap again.” After each example she would coo, “Oooooh! Good…. but maybe give them a HARDER one!” And then once we had clapped through all our examples she introduced the rhythm sticks and let us use the sticks while we read.
The kids had SOOOOOO much fun with the bunny and it made introducing two new instruments (egg shakers and rhythm sticks) easy and fun. If a kid was starting to get off task with the sticks then the instrument bunny herself would intervene to remind them of the proper behavior. “Hold on, Mr. Row! I see someone back there who forgot “resting” position. Can I show him how to do it right?” So much fun, so much easier than what I would have done otherwise, and now I can use the instrument bunny in the future!
How did I fit in all those goals? Here’s a sketch of my 25 minute lesson.
-In between each repetition of the poem I would clap a pattern and students echoed.
-Sit and do steady beat on knees, shoulders, hands, etc. for a few minutes.
-Meet instrument bunny and talk about leprechaun
-Get out egg shakers and talk about how to use/not use… what’s inside the shakers
-Sand in shakers=transition to “Sandy Sand” song from Lynn Kleiner with CD
-Stand, sing back “oh yeah” in the song, and SHAKE off some sand!
-Drop off egg shakers and hit the rhythm cards for a few minutes
-Start by reading and then switch to reading and clapping (next time reading and rhythm sticks)