Sunday, January 12, 2014

Rap a Tap Tap - Music, Dance and Literacy Lesson Plan

Tap your feet and tip you hat, here comes a lesson for Rap a Tap Tap: Here's Bojangles, Think of That! by Diane Dillon. This lively book tells the story of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, considered by many to be the best tap dancer of all time. 

Integrating books and literature into music lessons increases cross-curricular learning and student engagement. However, being in my first year of teaching, I don't already have a collection of books to use. I am fortunate to work at a school that still has a library and in perusing the shelves I found Rap a Tap Tap.

The book alternates between a line of new text and a repeating phrase, perfect for young music learners. I set the repeating phrase to music, taught the words and rhythm first, and then added the music. While teaching the words we practiced using our different voices, our big bear voice, our little mouse voice, and then we used our singing voice.

We read the book together, all singing the "Rap a tap tap" part together. We talked about dancing, about making sounds with our feet, and how that sound could be music.

I asked the children if they would like to see Mr. Bojangles dance. Of course they said yes!

 For this video I played the introduction and then skipped to the part where Mr. Bojangles dances. I first let the kids just watch the video, and then we all stood up and danced with the video on the second viewing.

This video is very fun as Shirley Temple plays a little girl who doesn't want to go to bed. The children can certainly identify with this!  I also like the video because it shows the children that kids their age can do this type of dancing too.

I did this lesson with kindergarten children, so we just explored moving our legs and arms the way Mr. Bojangles does. They have a blast moving their feet and bodies around to the music. If you have some tap dance background, you could do a similar lesson and teach a few steps with older children.


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