|Grade:||1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade & Kindergarten|
|Duration:||10 - 20 minutes|
Sing and play the singing game, Rig-a-Jig-Jig. Tweak the game to explore the nuances of related of verbs. A student favorite all the way through the upper grades if presented in a developmentally appropriate way.
Shades of meaning
Explore and demonstrate shades of meaning of various verbs through singing and movement.
Students may be seated at desks or on the floor in any configuration. There needs to be space in the room to move. After learning the song, older students will be able to learn the game simply by having the teacher model playing the full game with them.
Sing the song (or play the recording) for the students. Ask students to summarize the story the song is telling (i.e. I am walking down the street, I unexpectedly meet a friend, and we continue down the street together). Clarify words the students may not know, such as “chanced.”
I usually change the words “a pretty girl I chanced to meet” to “a friend of mine I chanced to meet.”
As you repeat the song or phrases of the song in the course of this discussion, invite the children to sing along with you as soon as they are comfortable doing so.
Once children know the song, introduce the singing game, showing the movements while everyone sings the song. Older children may be able to learn two or three of the following steps at once or skip directly to learning the full game.
Have students do these actions in place with you while singing the song. They will remember the lyrics much better if they perform the movements while they sing.
Next, demonstrate the full game. Using the same phrase segments listed above, use the full actions of the singing game. Be sure students sing with you in a natural, unstrained singing voice while you demonstrate.
After completing the game once, write “walking” on the board. Explain that it gets pretty boring for a teacher to read story after story written by students when they use the same word over and over, such as “walking.”
For younger students, have them think of other ways to get down the street, such as jumping, running, slithering, etc. and write them in a list on the board. For older students, have them think of descriptive words for different kinds of walking, such as strut, stride, scurry, limp, etc., and write them on the board.
Practice singing the song, using one of the words on the board instead of “walking.” While still using a good quality singing voice, sing the new word with a vocal style that matches the meaning of the word. Throughout the subsequent game, use vocal styles that match the words being sung. Have plenty of fun with this.
With the list on the board, play the game several more times, pointing to a different word for students to use on each verse. On the first half of the song, any students who are already in the game need to move the way the word describes.
For younger children, on the second half of the game (“A rig-a-jig-jig) do the original moves.
If older students need more of a challenge, have them move with their partner in keeping with the descriptive word during the rig-a-jig-jig section, as well.
Play the game once again, if time allows. Review all the different words the class listed. It is most effective to have them both say and show the meaning of the word.
For a more in-depth exploration of the implications of word choice on meaning and inferences, discuss how the possible back story of the song might change if similar, but different, verbs are chosen. For example, if the person is strutting down the street, how might they feel and what might have happened to make them feel that way? What might the story be if they are limping? Sneaking? This could be used as a writing prompt.