Hispanic Heritage Month Music & Movement – with Melissa!

Today’s guest post is from Melissa who is sharing her Music & Movement program from Hispanic Heritage Month. Even though that month has passed we believe it is important to celebrate diversity all year round! Thanks, for sharing your program, Melissa!

To celebrate and engage our patrons with Hispanic Heritage Month 2015, we planned a week of special programs in the Los Alamos County Library System. We added two afternoon read-ins and used our weekly story times and music and movement (M&M) programs to showcase Hispanic authors and performers. Here’s the M&M program and some of my thoughts behind my choices.

We started with “Hola” from the album Salsa Tots by the group Salsa Babies featuring Ricky Franco. We all learned the word “hola” before I started the song, then I sang along as I guided the group through waving hello, clapping, stamping, drumming on tummies, waving hands, etc. This song is mostly in English and talks about saying hello, making friends and introducing ourselves.

Because this program was mostly new songs, I stopped in between each one and previewed the next activity. For “The Numbers Song” by A.J. Jenkins from KidsTV123, we slowly counted to ten and back down in English, then repeated that in Spanish. The song is perfectly written to echo each line. It’s simple and clear and most importantly, easy to sing while jumping, dancing, and directing a crowd!

We used scarves for our next song, “De Colores.” I used a slower version with children singing. Before starting the music, I talked a bit about the story of the song- the colors of nature, all the birds singing, how colors make us feel happy inside. Our actions included waving in front of our tummies, waving up high, spinning in circles with scarves flying, and rolling our hands to entwine the scarves. The chorus of “De Colores”—“Y por eso los grandes amores, De muchos colores me gustan a mi”—is excellent for reaching up high and “painting a rainbow across the sky!” For the second verse, I had everyone get down close to the floor with their rainbow scarves and pretend to scatter feed to all the roosters, hens and chicks.   

Get on Your Feet” by Gloria Estefan was my pick for parachute and ball time. “Get on Your Feet” has long been a staple of mine for instrument time because the lyrics exhort the crowd to “get up and make it happen”.  It was perfect for this program because Estefan is a major Latina artist and there are perfect tempo and lyric breaks for my typical parachute play process. Instead of focusing on kids doing the activities themselves, we’ve had great success using the parachute with little ones by engaging their adults to manipulate the parachute while the kids have the fun of being under it, playing with the balls and jumping up and down. We do slow and fast waves, pop the parachute high in the air and lower it all the way down while everyone gets “pequeño” underneath, then count “uno, dos, tres” for a high pop that reveals delighted, squealing children. I used the words “salto” and “baile” quite often and we all jumped and danced happily.

As we put away the parachute and balls, I began talking about our next song, “Saco una Manito.” I went through the whole song in English first, talking the actions rather than singing them. Saco una manito means I have a little hand, so I first showed the group one hand, then showed how the hand dances, then how it closes, then opens, then runs away behind your back. We repeated the actions with the other hand, then with both hands together. I chose a version sung by Adriana because she goes through the song three times, getting faster each time.

Besitos y Abrazos” is another song from the album Salsa Tots. I talked about the Spanish words for kiss and hug and showed them how we would do the kiss action (kiss one hand and throw kiss, change to the other hand and repeat) and how we would hug ourselves or someone we love for the hug action. For the English verses we rolled our hands and danced as salsa-like as we could manage. During my third presentation I had enough older kids engaged to the point where we could “salsa” in a circle while rolling our hands, then blow kisses and give hugs on the chorus.

We passed out bells for our next song, “Tingalayo.” I used a charmingly bouncy version from the album Canciones in Español by Sara Quintanar. Her Facebook page is Music with Sara.

Since this program included lots of new things, I wanted to be sure to include some old familiars. Everyone loves “Cabeza, Hombros, Rodillas, Pies” (head, shoulders, knees, and toes)! I chose a version by Jam with Jamie from Youtube because Jamie goes over the vocabulary, then sings the song three times, getting faster each time. I also went over the vocabulary before starting the music. The kids loved this and even the littlest can participate, with caregivers pointing to heads, knees and toes, etc.

Free instrument time came next. We made tons of noise and played and danced to “Conga” by Gloria Estefan. This was a familiar song for our patrons as I’ve been using it for years.

When it was time to say adios I used two favorite goodbye songs. “Adios Amigos” from the TV show Dos Y Dos and a song called “Adios Amigos,” from the Elementary Spanish Chatbook by Julie Jahde Posposhil. This song is set to the tune of “Skip to My Lou” and in my head I call it “hasta luego, CHACHACHA.”

I’ve always used music from all over the world in M&M to add excitement and inclusiveness to our library programs. These Hispanic Heritage themed M&M programs were a piece of a larger initiative to expand our programming offerings and create themed and specialty programs in more areas each year. Using music, which is readily accessible no matter the language, we’re able to be inclusive, engaging and educational.

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