Pot of Songs (Not-a-Flannel Friday)

Though this isn't a flannel board set, I hope it might inspire or be helpful to other teachers or librarians, so I wanted to share it on Flannel Friday.  Even for seasoned teachers, librarians, or presenters of children's story times in any capacity, sometimes you have everything planned--and you just draw a blank... Or your group time isn't going well and you need to switch gears, and you can't think of anything to do...  When you're new to leading a group of kids in songs, dances, or movement activities, you are even more likely to need a little help.

I put this system together many years ago (as you can tell by the frayed and faded papers), and it has served me (and my co-teachers) well over the years.  It's extremely easy to add to, portable, color-coded, and often a group time lifesaver!

First, the pot of songs:

It's a metal flower pot, to which I attached (messily) the color code that goes along with the whole system.  Inside are my laminated Song Strips, which contain the titles of various songs/rhymes/games/poems/etc, along with (in most cases) a picture that represents that title.  

In a basket next to the Pot of Songs (which we keep on the windowsill in our group time area), are the lyrics to all of those Song Strips. PLEASE excuse the horrible looking envelopes below, which I will be re-making with non-fading paper this weekend!!  After this many years I have most of my lyrics memorized, so I rarely use these envelopes, and didn't realize how tatty they are.  Anyway, the lyrics are snuggled inside the envelopes, which are color coordinated to go along with the Song Strips.  Each card also has a coordinating colored dot in the corner, or are backed in the coordinating color, so when teachers do use the lyric cards and have a pile to put away, they can easily find where they go.

 The examples below show how everything is coordinated.  Often the lyric card also has movement instructions, suggestions on different ways to do the song, etc.  (We use the pictures as often as we can so that the kids can "read" the Song Strips, too.)

**I'm editing to add more about how we use this system.  Each week one of the teachers in the classroom is the Large Group Teacher--meaning she's the one who leads the group times that include music, movement, songs, and stories.  The teacher pulls the Song Strips she's going to use for the week (and coordinating lyric cards if she needs them), clips them together with a binder clip, and puts them on the windowsill in our Large Group area.  When Large Group starts, all she has to do is grab her clipped strips, and she's ready to go.  If things aren't going well or she wants to go in a different direction, the pot is sitting right there so she can pull additional songs/games as needed. 

We can also pull strips out of the can and easily take them with us if we want to go outside or to another room and do a little music and movement, and because everything is color coded, it's easy to pull what we need.  Sometimes we also invite the kids to choose the Song Strips, or ask them what color strip they want us to do...  It's really quite flexible and useful.  I think I would feel lost without it, and it keeps me from only doing the same tried and true favorites over and over (though of course we do lots of repetition because it's a good thing to do!)

Each year when I discover new songs (um, thanks JBrary!!), I just add more Song Strips and lyric cards to the mix.  I also have a tub of shaker eggs, and I store the Song Strips and lyric cards for shaker songs right in that tub so I can just pull the whole lot out and be ready to go.

If you'd like a small starter set of song strips and lyric cards, they're free right here:

Flannel Friday is being hosted by Mollie at Storytime with Miss Mollie, and of course you'll find lots of other ideas at Flannel Friday's blog or Pinterest page.

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