‘Today is Monday’ Teaches Weekdays & More

IMG_1279I’ve been on a hiatus from this blog because I started a new job this summer. I’m helping found a KIPP charter elementary school in Lynn, MA. I’m the music teacher for the school’s 120 new kindergarten students. Each year the school will add a grade, up through fourth grade.

Later, I’ll post more about my experiences at KALE (KIPP Academy Lynn Elementary). For now, I’m re-posting about a song that helps teach one of the first topics in kindergarten: days of the week.

The standard fallback songs for learning the weekdays are the Adams Family “Days of the Week” or the “Oh, My Darling” version. My friends who teach preschool and kindergarten probably can’t get these out of their heads. I have a fun alternative: the “Today is Monday” song, from my album Singing All the Way Home. You can find this album and many other songs for literacy at my Songs for Teaching site.

This traditional song has become very popular, thanks in part to Eric Carle’s engaging book by the same name. The book features a different food for each day of the week. I’m not the first person to suggest emphasizing initial consonant sounds by naming a food that starts with the same letter as each weekday.

When I sing the song, I first lay out the verses using a card for each day of the week, featuring a photograph of the food that starts with the same letter. The cards will help the class remember the lyrics for each day of the week.

To vary the activity, the teacher can ask class members to think up other foods that start with the same letter. For Monday, class members might choose mango or macaroni; for Tuesday, tacos or tuna. You could create a small poster for each day that features all the different foods with the same starting letter. For centers, you could create a card game in which students would place their food words on the correct day of the week.

You could also vary this song by thinking of some other category of words and finding a word in that category that has the same starting letter as each weekday. Let’s say your category is animals. You can change the final line of each verse to: “All you lucky children, come and sing a song” or “All you lucky children, going to the zoo.”   Below is a chart showing the food words from my recording, as well as animal words.

 

Day of the week Food word Animal word
Monday Mashed potatoes Monkey
Tuesday Tomatoes Turtle
Wednesday Waffles Woodchuck
Thursday Turkey Tiger (or turkey again!)
Friday Fresh fruit Frog
Saturday Salad Snake
Sunday Spaghetti Stork

Learning and rewriting a song such as this one is a great way to invite children’s participation in brainstorming about letter sounds. The class can also create its own version of Eric Carle’s book, using the new class-created lyrics.

 

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