For this activity, I read/ sing/ teach a folk song and then have students write the back-story based on the mood of the song. I typically do it 1x with my students, and then they are ready when a sub is asked to do it later in the year. After having about 15 min to write or think of their stories, I always love to have a few share. Some students have even taken their thoughts home and continued their story and made it into a book! So fun!
2 great examples:
I Got A Letter this Mornin', Oh Yes! - After we learn the song (it's great for syncopation and whole note) I have the students discuss the mood of the piece and then write letters based on the mood. This song while there are not a lot of words, is often called "creepy", "scary", "uneasy" or "sad" by a lot of the students due to the minor mode. Their letters can be to a real person OR a fake person. I have had students write to the moon, made-up friends, or friends who were home sick. We are sure to have correct punctuation and all the components of a letter in our writing.
She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain - For this one I show a video (see below) of the song and then have the students answer the questions: Who is SHE? Where is she coming from? and WHY? Is it is good reason she is 'comin' round', or bad? Students need to listen and hear text clues from all the verses to determine their stories and what motivated the character to "come round the mountain". I like using the plain lyric video so students don't feel like they are stuck within a certain setting or look.
Little ones can also do a version of this activity- where they write only 1 or 2 sentences and then illustrate their thoughts. For example, with doggie doggie, have students think about "Who really did steal the bone and why?" Was it another dog? Was it a different animal? Was it a human?
Other song ideas:
Dinah- Why is Dinah the only one in the house?
Great Big House- Why is the house full of pie?
Who's That Tapping at My Window? - Who is tapping at the window? Why?
What other song ideas and guiding questions could be used? Write your ideas below!