This week I have to teach a group of Montessori teachers how they can use music to help them teach reading and math. Then next week I’ll be teaching the same class to parents. So I’ll give you some of my ideas and they might be something you can use too.
I love to use books to teach music, reading and math skills. After reading a book, choose characters or objects from the story and discuss how many syllables they have. Create new words that have one or two syllables. Tap your hands on your legs to feel the syllables. String 4 of the words together and chant them over and over again. Clap and feel the rhythm. Choose 4 different words and string them together and chant them. Hear the difference.
The book Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? (Bill Martin Jr.Eric Carle) is a great way to introduce adjectives. This is a fun book to sing on sol mi pitches. Have students/your child think up new adjectives like different colors, sizes, moods of animals, etc. The companion book Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? is a good book to learn about verbs. Each animal growls or yelps or roars. Have your students/child think of new verbs and sing them.
Of course there’s the well known song “Apples and Bananas” (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_18?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-music&field-keywords=apples+and+bananas&sprefix=apples+and+bananas). Each verse is sung with a different vowel sound. The kids love it because it sounds so silly.
You can do the same thing with Miss Mary Mack—using only the first verse and changing the vowel sound.(http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_14?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-music&field-keywords=miss+mary+mack&sprefix=miss+mary+mack)
Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag is a great book to teach the order of higher numbers. It has a cute chant that goes “hundreds of cats, thousands of cats, millions and billions and trillions of cats!” Then teach your child how to write those numbers.
Read books to your children, think what you can pull out of it (syllables, verbs, adjectives, nouns, compound words, rhyming, numbers, past tense, present tense, etc), then put it to a chant, rhythm, little song and have fun!