I'm obsessed with animal-based informative TV - at least on the weekends, or while I'm getting ready to go. Every morning I start my day with "Big Cat Diary" on Animal Planet at 5:00. Rowr!
Students love animals too, especially when we get to act like them! Toward the end of the year, I do a lot of animal and jungle-based lessons.
I love Jungle Beat by Lynn Kleiner. In fact, I love a lot of her books and own many of them. I suggest checking her out - she really has some great recordings, ideas for teaching and making creative props and instruments, and they are all a lot of fun and clearly explained for us to use.
If you're looking to add some animal fun for free, check out Animal Moves, Animal Grooves from my TPT store. I was inspired by my TV shows, haha, and the song "Follow Me" or "Do As I'm Doing".
Instructions are included, by I'm always more lengthy on my blog. If you take the time to read them, you can really get the most out of this download.
First, print out the animal cards on cardstock. Laminate. Cut out. Place face-down inside a hula hoop. Seat the students in a circle around the hula hoop. You will also need (if you choose) something to tap the students with. I use a soft Funoodle (pool noodle) that I've cut in half. When I "tap" the students on the head, I really "tap" the air above their heads - no true contact.
Teach the song to the students by rote. Ask them to listen for when you use you speaking voice and when you use your singing voice. Divide the song into two parts - the A part (singing) and the B part (speaking) and label as form (the plan or pattern music follows). Sing the song again, patting the steady beat with alternating hands during the A part, then clapping the counting to 8 section of Part B. Then, ask the students "How did I show the different parts of the song with my hands this time?" (You patted then you clapped). You can transfer the pat to D and D octaves in a smaller keyboard instrument (I like to use soprano xylophones) and the clap to hand drums (which are easy to pass around the circle so many students get a turn). For the first few times, you will have to demonstrate how to do Part B (Walk to the center of the circle, select a card from the hula hoop, say the name of the animal at the appropriate time, and lead the students in performing the action of the animal for eight beats).
Once students are comfortable with singing, moving, and adding instruments, you can walk around the circle and tap above their heads on the beat for the A part. At the end (on the quarter rest) of the song, whoever was last to get "tapped" goes to the center and leads the class for Part B. Afterward, they give the card back to you. Continue moving and singing until all cards are gone. You'll need to keep switching out instrument parts. I like to assign a "Xylophone Expert" to stay at the keyboards the entire time to assist students as they come over to play. You've always got one (or more) students who you know are just perfect for this job, and it allows you to spend less time focusing on/transitioning the xylophone players.
There are many ways to extend student learning with this activity (especially if you are playing it during a subsequent lesson). Here's some ideas:
1. Label the B section as "call" (the solo student who picks up the card) and "response" (the class when they respond)
2. Play with the dynamics of the counts of eight - Start out piano, and gradually crescendo to forte by the end (use the correct terms)
3. Have students sing the call and response (on simple so and mi melodies) of Part B - this gives many of them a chance to sing soloistically
4. Use already performed animal cards to create an introduction to the song - students can clap the rhythm of the words (or play them on the instrument that they are on)
5. Add a partner song or connection - add a book about animals or another animal song
Let me know if you have any other ideas! :)