Monday, July 29, 2013

Singing Games post 1 :)

Lucinda, our WONDERFUL teacher
Alright.  So we had 6 hour long classes where Lucinda Geoghegan from Scotland taught us SO many games.   My plan is to give you two posts now (week 1 and week 2) with the song and game info as an index of all the games she taught- where they originate, basic info about them and attach her handout via dropbox. If I already use the song to teach a concept I have put the concept in parenthesis.  Some I have not retrieved yet so I haven't decided what element they would fit best in my classroom.  On the handout is staff notation of all the songs as well as game directions.  Then, as I teach some to my students I hope to post videos of us playing.  I think this will be the best way to get them all out there.  She gave me free reign to share any way I can!

Many of the games she taught and then we put them into cannon, put parts of the songs into our "thinking voices"or changed directions/ partners, etc.  She was great and continually making the games harder and harder for the kids so they don't get bored!  Kids don't always want to do the same thing over and over and she taught me so many ways to differentiate and continually challenge my kids.  Be sure to push the classes that can handle it.  These games are so fun!

Tip: For the tricky dances or partner clapping games I have eager students come in at recess to learn it first BEFORE I teach it to the rest of the class so they can help me demonstrate.

If you want directions to many of these games- check out her book! All of these songs and games are
copyrighted in the Singing Games and Rhymes Series published by the National Youth Choir of Scotland.  (Get it here).  I LOVE this book. Seriously. Get it.

Week 1:

Hi-Lo Chickalo- This is a partner clapping game.  First you sing it as written and then sing it "backwards"  To extend you can have students stand in a circle facing a partner, and then turning around on the last beat of the song to have a new partner the next time.  You can also have 1 student sing the Hi-lo version, while the other sings Lo-hi.

Double Double This This- Another partner game.  She had us standing in a circle and switching on a signal or saying certain words in our "thinking voice".

Apple Tree (do)- A circle ball passing game where students pass to the beat, but are to pull their hand away on the word OUT.   If they don't pull their hand away OR pull it away at the wrong time they go into the dungeon for one round.  Add more balls or put it into the thinking voice for more of a challenge.

Sheep in the Meadow- This is a game to get to know the students birthdays.  They sing the song then tap on their legs as they say each month.  They STOP tapping on their month.  Have the students put the months into their thinking voice then find others who were born in the same month as them by watching around the circle as they think the months.

Land of the Silver Birch (Low la)- This is a tricky partner clapping game that is REALLY cool when done in cannon.  I was really excited about this one because my students know the song but no game.

My Paddle's Keen and Bright (Syncopa)- Canada Same as Silver Birch in that it is a tricky partner clapping game that can be done in cannon OR you can have students stand in groups of 4 and each line is with a different partner (person to their right, person to the left, person across, etc.)  I am so eager to teach this one because my game for this song is a pretty basic passing game.

London Bridge- Very similar to what we all know and love instead of someone getting out, on the second verse those across from the arch (which was chosen during the 1st verse) walk under the arch never letting go of hands to turn the circle inside out.

Go Round The Mountain (m-r-d)- This can be a concentric circle song OR a stick game.  Both versions are very fun and take a lot of thinking for those in 3rd grade.

Hot Potato Pass it On- This is a stick passing game that changes directions.  Very fun!

Bells in the Steeple (3/4)- Double stick passing game in 3/4.  Always looking for 3/4 songs!

Naughty Pussy Cat (s-l-s or s-f-m-r-d)- Maze chase game- similar to Our Old Sow if you know that game.

Epoi Tai Tai (syncopa and whole note)- New Zealand Mauri SongSame version as I know only we stood in a circle facing partners so we could change partners on the last beat of the song.  This is a great one for putting certain words into a thinking voice.

Circle to the Left (tika-tika)- Circle Arch game.  Those who are caught under the arch become a second arch.  There are continually more arches each round until only 1 student is left who is NOT an arch and they get to run through the arches as fast as they can :)

Wash The Dishes- 4 person "basket weave" game.  Very cute for the young ones.

Four White Horses (low so)- Neat version of this game.  My friends and I changed it a bit so I will be posting a separate post on my new version that I will teach from now on that involves changing partners, etc.

Round and Round (bom makeleli)- Name game with ball bouncing.

Acha Bacha Chant- Ball passing game- ball changes directions at end of each line.

Good Day to You (dipi du)- ball passing game with changing meter (3/4 2/4)

Down the River- ball passing/ ball bouncing game.  Can be done in cannon with 2 circles.

Check back soon for a week 2 overview post and possibly one with info from the 20 minute session she will be giving later this week!

Again, if you want directions for all the games, instead of just an overview of what the game can teach, all of these songs and games are copyrighted in the Singing Games and Rhymes Series published by the National Youth Choir of Scotland  (Get it here).


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Hi! Can anyone use these? Or, do you have to be a certified Kodaly practitioner?

    1. Anyone can use them, but the file shared was made for people who attended the workshop as a reminder of how to play the games, not as a file to teach teachers the games. If you get the book mentioned in the post above you can get more info on many of the songs mentioned.

  4. If I wanted to buy a book for a 7 year old, which book would I buy? Thanks!

  5. I would get the singing games and rhymes for early years. ~Emily

  6. I stumbled across this blog and am sooo excited to get this book! Thank you so much Emily. I have Orff level 1 and am working on level 2 but it's great to have some Kodaly to add to my toolbox. :)

  7. Which books would be appropriate for grades 1-6? Thanks!

    1. I think Middle years would be best. That is the one I have. Early years is geared more toward preschool age.