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I don’t know about you, but when my first or second graders learn la, we spend a really long time on it. It’s like they understand sol and mi quickly because there’s only two options, but when we add a third option, it takes a long time for them to have a solid understanding of it. Because of this, I am well versed in sol mi la songs, and today I’m sharing some of my favorite folk songs for la with you!
Most of these have singing games that go along with them, so I will share that as well as anything specific that we do along with them.
Some of them also have lesson packs that I’ve created and posted for sale on my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Although you do not have to use them, each one provides presentations with the song, games (if applicable), introducing la, and other extensions. If there is one available, it will be linked.
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Wolf AKA We are Dancing
We are Dancing is also known as Wolf, and also known as one of my favorites. This tune is super simple and allows students to practice la. There is a chase game that goes along with this one…. But your girl isn’t huge into the chase games, so I created my own version that we typically use.
I also pair this with another wolf song and add xylophones to it.
- First, students make a circle with the wolf on the inside.
- When they sing the song, they walk around the circle.
- At the end, the students say, “Wolf are you there?”
- The wolf replies with a silly excuse (I’m in the shower; I’m eating dinner, etc) or says, “I’m here!”. The students repeat the question until they say I’m here.
- The wolf chases the students and tries to tag them out.
- Have students dance or walk while they sing.
- At the end of the song, students freeze.
- If they are moving, the wolf sees them, and they are out!
Along with the second version of the game, I also like to add the xylophones. First, we use them to keep the beat. Then we use them to play the melody of the song– since each line is almost the same (the only difference being the quarter note at the end of lines 2 and 4), it is a really simple one to play.
Pro tip: Put little sticky notes on the bars they are going to play OR sing the letters of the notes you are playing to the tune of the song.
I also like to pair this with Jugemos en el Bosque. I’ve seen two versions of this– one is notated exactly as the one above. I use the version below. I’m not sure whether the English or the Spanish one comes first. We do use the chase game above with this one, although I have my kids go from one side of the room to the other so that they aren’t all over the place. (Also, if you are the wolf, you can control the craziness a little bit.)
You can purchase my song pack for Wolf to help you teach the song and melody! Click here to purchase.
Agua de Limones
Agua de Limones is a huge hit with my kiddos– and one of my favorite folk songs for la! This one is perfect for the beginning of the year.
Singing game for la:
- Students walk around the room while they sing.
- At the end of the song, the person who is it calls out a category (Birth month, favorite color, number of siblings, etc)
- After the category is called out, students get into groups based on the category.
- If someone is left out, they are the new caller.
Note: I find it easier if I am the caller the first time.
I love this game for the beginning of the year because students:
- Can learn where the boundaries are for moving around the room (where to go, not touching anything, etc)
- Have to talk to each other! In order to find out someone’s favorite color, they have to ask. This allows them to get to know each other better.
You can purchase the lesson pack on TPT here.
I usually pair Agua de limones with Lemonade– thank goodness there are two lemon themed folk songs for la!
This song is a conversation, so I will first sing part and have the kids sing the other part. Then I’ll move to half of the class singing one part and half singing the other. Then we move onto the game!
- First, secretly show the first group to sing a poster with a job written on it.
- Have the students in two lines. Each time they sing a line, they take one step forward.
- At the end, the first group silently acts out their “trade”.
- If the other team guesses correctly, they get a point!
This game is so much fun, hilarious, and can last quite a while– especially with the points, the students get into it.
I like using this song to actually present la, because it’s only sol and mi until the very end– so students can really hear the difference in the third note.
Along with both of these lessons, I use my board game Lucky Lemons. This board game is available in digital and allows students to sing patterns, notate patterns, fill in missing patterns, and more.
You can get the lesson pack with the Lucky Lemons game on TPT here.
Bounce High, Bounce Low
Bounce High is such a fun folk song for la!
- Have students stand in a circle, with you in the middle.
- Bounce the ball to the student on the steady beat. Then they bounce it back to you.
- Next, bounce it to the next person in the circle so that it can go around the circle.
- When you get to the end of the song, the person with the ball is out!
This is a really fun piece, and you can usually borrow a kickball from the gym teacher.
If you can’t– like I couldn’t because they belonged to the city and not the school for some reason– then you can grab this pack of four with a pump off of Amazon. These are the ones I purchased and they bounce very well– and don’t hurt if anyone accidentally gets hit.
After we play it this way, I like to switch it to where they have to bounce it to the next person in the circle– which helps take me out a little bit.
This year, I’m really trying to facilitate the students doing the work and being musical. My goal is for them to be able to sing and play games and make up their own music without me!
Duerme mi Tesoro
This folk song for la is a Puerto Rican lullaby, and it’s so sweet. I don’t know of a game that goes along with it, but I love it anyway.
You can pair it with a book about going to bed (Llama, llama Red Pajama or Napping House), or another sleeping song.
I like to use it as a calming down activity– and students can practice the beat by rocking their arms back and forth– bonus points if they can rock some Beanie Babies to sleep!
Also see: Best Hispanic Folk Songs
And, of course, we couldn’t leave Apple Tree out of a list of favorite folk songs for la.
The version of Apple Tree that I learned is a London Bridge type game:
- Two students (acutlaly, myself and a student) grab hands to make a tree.
- Students walk in a circle under the tree as they sing.
- At the end, whoever is under the tree gets caught, and they are out.
I’ve also seen this as a beat passing game– students pass the “apple” around the circle, and whoever it lands on is out.
I’ve played both, and both have been fun, so take your pick!
Alright friends, those are a few of my favorite songs for la!
What are your favorite folk songs for la? Send me a message on Instagram (@beccasmusicroom)