The idea that something can represent another thing is an important lesson to teach children.
Through exposure to this concept, they strengthen their creative thinking skills and creative expression whilst understanding and learning about reality. It also teaches them lessons on comparing two things. Comparing the real and the surreal. The real and the pretend. The real and the imagined. On the other hand, it can also teach them about association. In the case of this activity, association of the movement of an oysters' shell to the movement of their hands.The sound an oyster shell makes when it opens and closes, to the sound their hand makes when it does that same action.
Given the fact that we are still working through the final bits of our "Ocean" theme, with this weeks' focus on the oyster, we thought it fitting to come up with a simple story time activity which ties in the idea of representation with an oyster. So we made up a really simple chant and paired it with three different hand positions and ways of clapping. We then added a touch of music theory to it by doing it at two varied tempos; slow and fast.
How did it go?
This activity was well received by children of all ages. Our older students really grasped the concept of the activity and we were able to explore this activity at many varied speeds. They also quickly picked up on the lyrics of the chant and chanted along as loudly and proudly as they could have. Our younger students enjoyed the challenge the three different ways of clapping presented and tried their best to keep up with the varied speeds throughout the activity; screaming at times in excitement whilst doing the activity at the fastest speed! That said, they were also able to recognize and compare their hands to an oysters' shell and its associated movement, aligning themselves perfectly with the focus of this activity; representation.
One suggestion we have in order to make this activity flow smoothly would be to demonstrate the activity to your students before commencing. In this way, they would understand the clapping positions ahead of time and be able to predict the changes throughout the activity accurately.
Take a look!
So if you are looking for a fun yet challenging clapping song for your next ocean-themed story time class then feel free to watch our video. You will be able to see the three different hand oyster clapping positions we used while learning the chant. You will also be able to see the two varied speeds we used. We are confident your older students will fully commit to this entire activity and will push themselves to model what you are doing and your younger students will enjoy clapping in new ways. It will also teach them great lessons on the idea of representation.
Tiva & Randa