Writing Song Adaptations with Children is as Easy as 1, 2, 3 . . . (Book GIVEAWAY)

September 13, 2010

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Book GIVEAWAY of the week: The Flea’s Sneeze by Lynn Downey

Why we love this book:

Something big is hitting our small town next week. It’s the County Fair. This is the perfect time for the preschoolers in our area to study the farm and The Flea’s Sneeze is full of barnyard fun! MacGyver and Miss Enigma are studying a big homeschool theme on the habitats of the world. Starting close to home with a focus on the farm is a great way to begin our study. In the weeks to come, we’ll follow the progression of our habitats study. It’s a really big umbrella for a study of our world.

This post is going to specifically focus on writing song adaptations with children. We will use our theme study on the farm as a sample but of course this can be adapted to any study. We sing about everything! Just ask our children.

We do not write the song adaptation prior to the lesson/ circle time. This is an interactive literacy activity.


Large Chart Tablet

Teacher Markers


Two Early Literacy Books . . .

When we start a theme study we pick two early literacy books to be our anchor read alouds for the study.

Of course we read a variety of farm books throughout our theme study like The Flea’s Sneeze. However, we select two books to return to over and over again. These books fall into our guidelines of: How to Pick Good Books for Preschoolers. The two farm books we selected were:

Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton

I Went Walking by Sue Williams

Day 1: Read Aloud Barnyard Dance and I Went Walking

May we suggest reading Barnyard Dance to the tune of a Square Dance Promenade. The children will have a blast!

Day 2: Brainstorm a list of farm animals with the children.

First we read aloud our anchor books and then invite the children to brainstorm farm animals and the sounds they make. As the children share farm animals we write the animal names on a big chart. We call attention to beginning sounds and letter formation.

“What do you hear at the beginning of dog? What letter should I write first?”

“What do you hear at the beginning of turkey? Timothy, what do you hear at the beginning of turkey? We frequetnly call on children with the same letter sound in their name. They can often hear the familiar sound and make the connection. Early literacy is all about making connections.

Day 3, 4, 5: Writing the song adaptation with the children.

For our farm study song adaptation, we selected the song: I Love the Mountains. It has easy repetitive words and it is very simple to change up the words. Again, we write on a large chart as the children share their ideas. If the children get wiggly we stop and come back to it another day.

Our song Adaptation goes a little something like this:

Down on the Farm (sung to the tune of I Love the Mountains.)

What does the pig say?

What does the cow say?

What does the duck say?

What does the horse say?

I hear the animals down on the farm.

Oink, oink, moo, moo, quack, quack, neigh!

Oink, oink, moo, moo, quack, quack, neigh!

Print this song adaptation FREE: Down on the Farm

Song Adaptation Extension Idea

We do not follow every song adaptation with an activity. We write many songs with the children and we simply enjoy singing them over and over again throughout the year. They love singing the songs they’ve created.

For our farm study and song adaptation we decided to let the children create paper plates to “act-out” the song during sing-along time.

Paper plates are one of our “low-maintenance” classroom staples. We always have them on hand. They are sturdy making them easy for the children to handle and use for art projects.

Step 1: The children each draw a farm animal.

You might have noticed above that the animals don’t look exactly like a pig, cow or horse. Aren’t they perfect?! Rather than “making” a teacher prepared project, the children create authentic art. The duck was drawn by Joyce while sitting at the table with the children. She was engaged along side the children, modeling the extension idea.

Step 2: Write the song adaptation verse on each plate.

What does the pig say?

What does the cow say?

What does the duck say?

What does the horse say?

Step 3: Write the animal sound on the reverse side.

Oink, oink, moo, moo, quack, quack, neigh!

Step 4: Set the children free to create.

One little boy asked, “Do you have any extra plates for me to draw?” The answer, “Of course!”

Next, he requested the plate where the teacher had written, “Oink!”

Look what he wrote! This was completely independent of the teacher. This is why we love working with children. This little boy is developing an early literacy foundation. :)

Step 5: Invite the children to take turns holding-up their plates as you sing the song adaptation, “Down on the Farm.”

The song adaptation might be a little different each time you sing it. When you sing the line, “Oink, oink, moo, moo, quack, quack, neigh!” the children can flip their plates over.

We’re GIVING away one copy of The Flea’s Sneeze by Lynn Downey

To enter this contest, just answer the following question in the comments section of this post.

This is more of a discussion than a question. The topic is “farm.” Talk amongst yourselves. Share your favorite book, song, activity, field trip . . . (Or just say “Hey.” We’re flexible around here.)

The Rules:

One entry per person, please.

No entries after 8:00 pm Central Time, Thursday, September 16, 2010

The winner must be a resident of The United States.

The winner will be selected at random and announced Friday, September 17, 2010. Check back it might be you!

Posting Today FREE printable book: Baby Goes to the Farm


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Natalie September 13, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Awesome ideas and the book looks like fun. Our favorite book about the farm is “The Cow that Went Oink” by Bernard Most.

Jeannine September 13, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I forgot to add that one to the book selections! That is one of my favorites too! When we’re picking books for a theme we always run out of room for all of them. Thank you so much for mentioning that one! :)

Jayme Spray September 13, 2010 at 3:08 pm

This book is soo neat and so great for this section. I love teaching about the farm because I spent summer’s on my grandparents’ dairy farm learning all about farm life.

maryanne September 13, 2010 at 3:40 pm

We like the book “Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type” for a farm book.

And I was lucky enough to spend the first not-quite-seven years of my life on my grandfather’s corn farm – across the street from my great-uncle’s dairy cow farm. Farms are a child’s paradise!

Ellie September 13, 2010 at 4:29 pm

The books that immediately come to mind are “A Prairie Boy’s Summer” and “A Prairie Boy’s Winter” by William Kurelek. They are for more advanced readers, but a young child could certainly appreciate the wonderful illustrations. They are good resources for talking about the actual work of the farm and the interaction of farm, environment, and community.

Anne September 13, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Recent farm favorites include The Big Sneeze, in which a chain of events are triggered by the farmer’s sneeze, and Moo, Who?, in which a cow forgets her moo and must be reminded by the other animals.

Alice September 14, 2010 at 12:04 am

I love farms, in fact we just moved out to a small bit of land and I’m hopeful we’ll have our own small farm started in the next year, complete with chickens and donkeys and a nice garden!

Brandy September 14, 2010 at 6:35 am

There is so much to learn from visiting and discussing farms. My children have a great interest in the way farms work. My children and I are reading Charlotte’s Web for our bedtime read aloud right now and it is such a wonderful story that takes place on a farm and it has lent itself to many discussions. This is one of those books that even if they are able to read it themselves, I’d rather go through it with them for the very reason of the many discussions we gain from it. Not to mention it is just so stinking funny to see the laughter on my kids’ faces when Wilbur tries to spin a web. The visual the author paints of this sends my kids into hysterics! I can see them learning and having a love of language. Books are one of our very favorite things!

Robin September 16, 2010 at 3:04 pm

I like the book A Leaf Blew In.

Anne September 23, 2010 at 12:33 am

Thanks for linking up at Feed Me Books Friday! Always enjoy your activities! When I’m lacking creativity, my go-to song adaptation is this is the way we… (fill in the blank with whatever we’re doing). Not the most brilliant, but it entertains the kiddos more than bland directions.

Jeannine September 23, 2010 at 4:29 pm

“This is the way we . . . ” is a popular adaptation song for us too. You’re so right, the children love following the directions you’re giving when they’re singing along!

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