In our district, Nursery Rhymes are considered an important form of literature and it has been part of the Kindergarten curriculum for a long time. It is amazing to see how many children are totally unfamiliar with these rhymes. I used to concentrate on these rhymes during December, and the children “performed” them during our Holiday program. My class did several performances for the parents during the year – my goal was for them to feel comfortable in front of an audience, and to have fun with it. I think it is also a wonderful form of PR – parents love seeing their children perform, and it is an opportunity to do some parent education – which is also a big part of kindergarten.
I used some resources that made Nursery Rhymes more fun as well as more exciting as a presentation.
This Bruce Lansky book gave a silly version of many common Nursery Rhymes. I love to encourage the children to play with language and have fun changing books and text. This book was an easy way to re-do rhymes:
For example: “Little Boy Blue, STOP blowing your horn. You’ll wake up the neighbors, it’s 2 in the morn!”
So my Kindergartners learned the standard rhyme and the silly rhyme. I have learned that children are much more comfortable performing in front of a group if they have motions to do, so I added ASL signs to the standard rhymes. I used sign language often because it presented a new challenge to children who were already familiar with skills, provided opportunities for increasing fine motor dexterity, and most of all made children comfortable when they see people using sign language in our community. I am not skilled in sign language but a simple sign language book allowed me to add signs for important words in each rhyme and made it more fun to perform and watch.
Here are the sign language books I used a lot:
I loved teaching the sign language alphabet also – and the kids loved it too!
Another skill I wanted to work on with the children at this point in the year was writing their name using lower case letters. At the beginning of the year I was delighted if they could write their name so I could decipher it, but by this point I wanted to help them write it conventionally beginning with a capital letter and the rest lower case. I got a coloring book of nursery rhymes and used white out on the face of the character for each rhyme. I photocopied the faces of my class and cut them out. We changed the rhymes again to use our own names in each rhyme. For example: Megan had a little lamb …
On the blanks where they filled in their own names they needed to write it using lower case letters. I made a name card using a teacher type font on my computer that was kept in a pocket on the cover of the book. By the end of this book – which took several weeks, most children were comfortable writing their name with lower case letters.
Of course the children added color to their pages, but the emphasis was really on having fun changing the rhyme, and working on writing their name neatly. We also did a craft for many of the rhymes and put them up to decorate the room. I liked doing this during December, especially if I was de-emphasizing the holidays, depending on the make up of my class.
Here is a link to download the blank pages of this book: