Earlier this month I posted a request for ideas on how to use the book Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young. I guess there aren't many of you out there who have used this book before, so I had to brainstorm. I tried out a lesson with my 1st graders today, and it was a lot of fun! This was just a portion of my mouse themed lesson.
After reading the story (I did this in line during my last rotation in anticipation of using the book), I introduced this cute little refrain.
A Something? A Something?
What could it be?
A Something? A Something?
We'll go and we'll see!
After echoing to learn we discussed that "to see" doesn't always mean see with your eyes, since after all these little mice are blind. To refresh their memories, I read the story and we spoke the refrain before each mouse said what he thought the something was. This was a great opportunity to work on dynamic contrast. We started the poem very softly and then crescendoed through the 3rd and 4th lines.
When we had finished the second reading. I told my kiddos that we were going to tell the story again but that I wanted to use instruments to help. We listed the things the mice thought the "Something" was on the board. Then I pulled out a basket of instruments I had selected for the story:
large hand drums
I find it is easier to give 1st graders a limited number of instruments to select from. If left it up to any instrument in the room it may take the whole class just to select sounds that represent each part of the story.
I demonstrated each instruments sound and then we discussed which instrument fit best with each item in the story. I was actually surprised by some of their decisions. They decided that the guiro sounded like a cliff because it makes a sound like you are climbing one step at a time up the cliff. After assigning each instrument a part in the story, I distributed the instruments. We sat in 6 rows and each student in the row had an instrument assigned to a part in the story. When their part came, I cued them and then cut them off so that the story could continue.
We told the story again with the refrain and instrument sound effects. It was truly a pleasurable experience, smiles all around!
I did this lesson in 20 minutes which is a little than less than half of my class. Now I had read the story previously, so we were able to move a bit more quickly but if you were limited on time, you could just use this story as a way to experience dynamic contrast. You could split it up between two classes, there are many options.
I hope you like this lesson and use this book in your classroom, it really is a cute story! If you do decide to try out this lesson, let me know how it goes or any changes you make to fit your kids. :)