Monday, November 15, 2010

Thanksgiving Ideas

I love teaching music during the month of November. There are so many wonderful songs, games and books to use.

Songs can range from table graces to Native American Songs to songs about turkeys. Thanksgiving is a great time to sing a grace around your Thanksgiving table. Even preschoolers can participate and teach guests and family of all ages how to sing the song. When was the last time everyone in your household sang a song together? We just don’t do that anymore.

Two of my favorite Thanksgiving games are “Shoo Turkey” and “Oats, Peas, Beans”. “Shoo Turkey” is a call-response game in which the leader asks a question and the others respond “Yes, Ma’am” to almost all of the questions asked. It is a song from South Sea Island in Georgia, popularized by Bessie Jones. It can be found on her album, Put Your Hand on Your Hip and Let Your Backbone Slip or seen in the video by Linda Goss on You Tube . Her version is closest to my version.

“Oats, Peas, Beans” is a circle game about farming, another good subject for Harvest Time. It puts a farmer in the middle with the circle rotating around. The farmer gets to pick a partner and the partner then becomes the farmer. Let me know if you’d like the lyrics. There are plenty on You Tube.

My favorite Thanksgiving books are:
1. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie, a take-off on the classic lady who swallowed a fly except in this version she turns into a balloon in the Thanksgiving Parade.
2. One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims, using the old favorite about 10 little Indians tune but telling the story about the first Thanksgiving instead. You know the tune, don’t you?
3. Over the River a classic about going to grandfather’s house. You can pick from three books using a classic Currier and Ives illustrations, the story using turkeys instead of humans or a modern family traveling in the family mini-van.

1. “Harvest Home” by Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, who provided music for the PBS Burns epic about the Civil War. I bought it for the harvest cover and my family pretty much wore it out every November. Yee haw! Barn dance anyone?
2. Any Native American recordings.