Saturday, September 5, 2015

Bow Wow Wow - A Song with Many Uses

Little Tommy Tucker’s dog gets a lot of mileage in my classroom! 


In first grade, I teach the song then teach the simplified version of the game. After the kids get a hang of the simplified game, we make it more challenging and do a partner switch (see below). It’s the perfect song to teach rest AND the perfect song to teach ‘do’ (in second grade).


Tips for teaching the song:

1. Sing the entire song and ask questions: “What is this song about?” “Who does this dog belong to?”

2. Echo-sing each phrase – In the past I had the class echo-sing the phrases in order. And I had students who sang phrase 4 (Bow Wow Wow m-r-d) instead of phrase 1. Every. Single. Time.

This year, I had them echo-sing phrase 4 first. Then phrase 3, then 2, then 1. BINGO! It worked perfectly.
- Bow wow wow (m-r-d)
- Little Tommy Tucker’s Dog (ss-sl-sm-d)
- Whose dog art thou? (m-mm-m)
- Bow wow wow (d-d-d)

After singing the phrases in reverse order, I said, “Whoops! Mrs. Sweet did it backwards, can we sing it in the correct order this time?”

It was magical.

3. Next add the hand motions while we sing.
- Bow wow wow – shake fingers at partner (or stomping feet is fun!)
- Whose dog art thou? – hands out to the sides
- Little Tommy Tucker’s dog – roll arms in front
- Bow wow wow – shake fingers at partner (or stomp)

Now, it’s game time!

Simplified Version of the Game:

1. Face your partner and sing with the hand motions.

2. Teacher adds a “shh!” on each rest. “What did I add that time?” (shh!)
 “How many times did I say ‘shh!’?” (3) Let’s sing it together.

3. “This time, on the third ‘shh!’ jump. Let’s practice – jump/shh!” If you don’t let them practice, they will do it anyway. Bless.

4. “Now, watch and see what I do on the jump.” Model how to turn and face the person on the other side of you when you jump.

Go back and forth a few times until they get it.

Usually, this takes up all the “game time” in one class period. It’s a ton of fun for first graders to jump and turn to a new partner! And no touching involved!

“Challenging” Version of the Game:

1. “That’s too easy! Let’s make it more challenging.”
Make sure your circle is boy-girl, to help you on the next step.

I show them with my partner (in the middle of the circle) how to grab hands instead of rolling arms in phrase 3. After grabbing hands, we trade places. Practice this ad nauseam.

2. Then do it one time with the song. 

This is what they do:
- Bow wow wow (shake fingers or stomp)
- Whose dog art thou (hands out to the side)
- Little Tommy Tucker’s dog (grab hands with partner and switch places with them)
- Bow wow wow (shake fingers or stomp & jump on the rest to face the new person behind you)

This is what I say:
- “Bow wow wow – not yet.
- Whose dog art thou – grab hands
- Little Tommy Tucker’s dog!
- Bow wow wow – jump!”

After the first time or two, I don’t sing with them, I just add the words in the rests: “not yet!” “grab hands!” “jump!”

I can tell who didn’t switch because I have a boy-girl circle. There should not be two boys or two girls in a row (except where I had extras).

3. After singing and switching a few times, I say, “That’s too easy! Let’s try to do this twice in a row without stopping!”

Build up to three or four times in a row. When you get back to your original partner, you’re done! The shocked faces and giggles when they get back to their partner are priceless.

Rest & Do


Bow Wow Wow is fantastic for teaching a beat with no sound (rest) and then I bring it back in second grade to teach 'do.' 

For 'do' students prepare kinesthetically by tapping the melodic contour on the smart board. I let 8 kids have a turn tapping on the board while the rest point from their spot on the floor. We point with our pinkies (with a British accent), with our feet, with our elbows, or their favorite - our tongues.

After prepping kinesthetically, we use Kodaly Today's aural questioning sequence. "Stick with the script!" as Phil would say. 

Then we create visual representation of the melody with unified cubes! Check out all the cubes I recently got!



Here's an example of unified cubes with a different song (Bounce High). I'll try to get pictures of Bow Wow Wow phrase 3 as soon as possible! 

After kinesthetically, aurally and visually preparing our new concept, I label the sound and present the notation!


Do you have a song that you use for multiple concepts and activities? What are your favorite jam-packed songs?


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