Friday, September 18, 2015

Paul Bunyan Meets Bethel Music

One of the things I love about being a teacher is seeing what themes and ideas my students gravitate towards, and what music moves them. It is different with every group, often unexpected, entertaining, and on occasion, exasperating (like the months it took me to get the "coconut" song or "5 little ducks" out of my head after singing it dozens of times in a row).

This week has been both amusing and adorable in that regard. We are on our 3rd week of practicing our choreographed class dance for all-school Sports Day, which will be held October 9th. I was brave and ventured away from a preschool-specific movement dance, to one that naturally got my littles moving to the rhythm, especially during praise and worship time: Deep Cries Out by Bethel Music. It has been a favorite since I created a special "Holy Spirit" playlist for Pentecost a few months ago. While learning the choreography, I slowed it way down and talked through each verse so they were not only able to sing the words, but understand what they meant. I've already started fading out my visual prompts when they practice, and they are doing a great job! So stinkin' cute. I can't wait to see their "game day" performance!

So, what does Paul Bunyan have to do with Bethel Music?? In the world of preschool, there is a completely logical correlation! This week's theme in our Mother Goose Time study of fables and folktales, we have been exploring the tales of Paul Bunyan. These "tall" tales have been an endless source of giggles and creative play. Paul Bunyan and the Log Jam was a big hit, in part because in order to not completely confuse them, I made a big deal about the fact that I purposely went out of order so that we could have our *special activity* (cooking) day on Friday. They thought it was hilarious that we counted the story days: 11, 12, 14, 13. They like to check the wall first thing each morning to see the story of the day illustration and count the numbers.

Story of the Day is added to the wall for the week

I set the story pieces out on the carpet during free play and they were making up all kinds of stories with Babe, Bessie, and Paul from earlier stories. When they found the picture of the river, one student exclaimed, "Kairu sensei, river of living waters!" (1st verse lyrics of Deep Cries Out) Later, while building the log jam during centers, I heard them singing parts of the song as they played.

Adventures in the river with "Big Babe" and "Little Babe" 
The (Licoln) Log Jam
Since I told them several days in advance about switching the story numbers, they were already aware of the "pancake" picture, and SUPER excited about having another pancake party. (It's not hard to have a party in preschool, all you need is an "occasion" and some fancy napkins from the dollar store!) We had a pancake party first semester after reading the story In The Rain With Baby Duck, in which they have pancakes every Saturday at Grandpa Duck's house. But last time the pancakes were store bought, so there was added excitement about the idea of cooking our own this time! They requested pineapple, banana, and peaches for toppings. MGT provided an easy-to-follow visual recipe card. 

I bought "hot cake mix" so all the dry ingredients were already together which simplified turn-taking with 9 children
They had fun saying "flap jacks" all day long and making a mini craft version to take home and show parents.
Flipping their flapjacks 
I'm thankful I had a volunteer in class today, who was able to take pictures (until my phone died). I rarely have action shots of me in the classroom, so that was an added treat. As each child added their ingredient, I reminded them to keep the whisk in the bowl and stir all the way at the bottom. One student piped up, "Stirring up the deep, deep wells!" So we "stirred up the deep, deep wells" all the way around the table until we had no more lumps in the batter. It was tough to keep a straight face on that one, but they were stirring like it was serious business!

We made a gigantic flapjack with the last of the batter

Finally, when we sat down at our very own "mile-long" table, "Paul Bunyan", who was seated at the head of the table, thanked Jesus for,"the pancake flapjacks" and we had a most delicious feast! 

And that is how we jumped in the river and stirred things up with Paul Bunyan and Bethel Music in preschool this week! :)


  1. So adorable! What an awesome teacher and students!

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