Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Leprechaun Waltz

Are Leprechauns real?
My wonderful husband was born in Dublin, Ireland, so I asked him last night,  "Are leprechauns real?"  (We've been married 2 years and somehow we just hadn't found our way to the leprechaun discussion until that moment.)

"The wee people?  Sure, they're real."  He actually called them "wee people".
Then he said, "My Granny Fitz said her mother saw the wee people all the time."
Your great-grandmother saw leprechauns all the time???
Do you think leprechauns would waltz?
"Sure," he said, "Granny Fitz said they lepped around the mushroom rings."

I wished I'd asked him that a week ago when I was talking to my students about leprechauns and celebrating St.Patrick's would have made this song more real for them.:) 
Leprechaun Waltz
Just me singing with simple piano accompaniment 
and improv music for movement segments.

Leprechaun, Leprechaun
Leppin' with me
Under the tree
Leppin' with me

Leprechaun, Leprechaun
Leppin' with me
Let's make a new shape, ooo-wee!

(make body shapes with your partner during the free dance music
that's 8 bars of 1-2-3)

or...find a new partner during the free dance music...

The Process (ages 4-8)
  1. Everyone counts to 3 over and over while tapping beats on their own body.  Can be tapping on just the strong beats...the first beat.
  2. Keep tapping beats on the body as the teacher sings the song.
  3. Learn the words to the song. 
  4. Tap the beats on all the bodies around you while you sing the song.
  5. Make shapes at the end of the verse where it says to make shapes. 
  6. If you've all been sitting, try standing and tap beats on all the bodies while singing the song.  Now when you make shapes there will be some pretty spectacular gangly movements!
  7. I've included a recording for you.  You will hear the piano play "dance" or "interlude" music for shape-making.
  8. Then you'll hear the piano play strong preparation beats that act as an aural signal for the children to find a partner (new or old) and begin the song again.

  • Choose a small percussion instrument to keep the beats instead of tapping beats on the body.  I like using small hand drums, egg shakers, sticks and jingle-bells because they make fun props during the shape-making.
  • If you have children who can not get up and move, make face shapes during the shape-making.
  • If you have children who are not able to control themselves (behaviour disintegrates due to over-stimulation or something similar) during movement times, then make this a sit down activity.
  • Specify if shapes should be independent of others or cooperative with others.
Create a lovely waltz performance (ages 6-8)
  • Turn the song into a lovely waltz.  Talk about how a waltz is an old fashioned partner dance.
  • Ask children to find a partner and stand facing them.
  • Try having all the partners in a circle or in two lines so there is an ordered formation for the group.
  • Have the partners stay connected and touch hands in some way (palms touching or fingers touching or holding hands) and sway to the 3/4 time music while they sing the song.  Do this instead of tapping beats on bodies.  It will look more like an old-fashioned waltz.
  • Eye contact with your partner can be quite lovely during a waltz but if eye contact just doesn't work with your group...try focus on a spot on the wall during the swaying bits.
  • During the shape-making music have them make cooperative connected shapes with their partner.  
  • During the preparation beats, have the children bow and/or curtsy to their partner and move to a new partner to start all over.  
  • Or...stay with your partner, make statues during the prep beats and then begin swaying with the song again.

Lovely Leprechauns Leppin' la!

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