Music & Movement: Storytelling with Music and American Sign Language

Over the summer, I have been working with the Maryland Deaf Culture Digital Library to put together a special storytime program that would be fun and accessible for our both hearing and deaf patrons. And implementation time has arrived!

This program is a special storytime for all ages but content-wise is specifically targeted to ages 0-5, with their grownups. What we wanted to do in this storytime, was to incorporate our summer reading theme of music, while teaching some sign language–hence the music and movement theme.

To help me with this storytime, I have deaf mother Roberta Mather. Roberta will be signing everything for us and teaching us how to sign some of the words in our songs.

I set this up with an introduction to the program and the positive aspects of incorporating, not only music and movement but also sign language into a child’s routine. Then we jumped right in.

The four songs we did were: The More We Get Together, The ABC’s, BINGO and Old MacDonald had a farm. If you want my outline or powerpoint with the highlighted words, let me know. WordPress won’t let me format it correctly on here.

The More We Get Together–this one is actually really easy to sign. We learned the whole song and opened and closed the program with it.

The ABC’s–we went through the alphabet once with the kids and then we put it together with the song. I had practice sheets they could take home. For the other songs we highlighted specific words. So, even though Roberta was signing the whole song the kids knew to focus on just the signs they learned.

BINGO–We learned how to sign “dog” and then we did our finger spelling for B-I-N-G-O.

Old MacDonald Had A Farm–For this one we used our finger spelling for E-I-E-I-O but we also learned the sign for “farm,” “cow,” “pig,” “chicken” and “sheep.” As we moo moo’ed the kids would do their animal sign. We had a lot of fun with this one.

To make this a visually accessible as possible, I created a powerpoint that I projected onto a screen off to the right of the room. This way, people could reference it for the words if they wanted to.

After we learned these songs and went through them a few times, I passed out instruments and we told a musical version of the three little pigs. I did a play on the version from Let’s Play Kids Music.

What I wanted to do was to inject music and action into the story, so it was like the kids were telling the story with me.

  • We shook our shaker eggs when the first little pig build his straw house.
  • We hit our rhythm sticks when the second little pig built his hour of sticks.
  • We used our percussion instruments when the third little pig built his brick house.
  • We slapped our legs when the pigs were running from the wolf.
  • We helped the wolf blow the houses down and when they were down we stomped our feet.

This is something you could do with any version of the three little pigs. Even if you don’t have the instruments handy, just clapping, stomping or slapping your thighs can add action and an interactive element to the story.

How’d it go: This program went great and definitely makes me want to continue doing something like this in the future. Roberta, myself and the interpreter all worked really well together. I’d like to use a story that is more narrative driven next time but other than that I was extremely satisfied with the way things went.

That’s all for now!


Family Storytime – ART!

For this storytime I really wanted to use my folder story of Scat the Cat, so I decided to go with an Art theme. Similar to my Imagination theme of a few months ago but I mixed it up with different rhymes and books.

Here’s what we did:

I always start with the same warm ups:

  • Song – Top of the Morning
    • This is a good song to warm up with because we stretch all the parts we will be using in storytime. Eyes, arms, legs, mouth, nose.
  • Rhyme – Say Hello
    • love this rhyme. Everyone claps along and at the end we say hello how ever I tell them to. Loud, soft, quick, slow.
  • Song – Skidamarink
    • It’s a classic, I know you all know it!

From here we get into our theme.

  • ASL – Art, Colors, Paint & Fun61uefap5vjl-_sy497_bo1204203200_
    • I like to include a few new ASL signs in storytime. I usually print my own flash cards from Baby Sign Language.
  • Story – Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman
    • This is a cute one that talks about colors and what to do when the best intentions go wrong. I also love how it looks like paper!
  • Movement Exercise – If Your Wearing Any…
    • I sort of adapted this from a few site, here’s how mine goes:

If your wearing any red, if you wearing any red, if you’re wearing any red… stand up and touch your HEAD!

If your wearing any blue… bend down and touch your SHOE!

If your wearing any green… stand and bow to the QUEEN!

If your wearing any black… reach back and pat your BACK!

If your wearing any brown… just turn yourself right AROUND!

If your wearing any color… jump up and shout HOORAY!

  • Song – The Color Song from Parachute Express20170703_170420
    • Just an upbeat song to shake our sillies out to.
  • Folder Story – Scat the Cat!
    • I found this one online and I LOVED it! It was also a really big hit! You can look at my how to post here.
    • I would definitely recommend making a sign with the chorus on it. I had a volunteer hold up the sign for me and this was a big hit.
  • Game – All the Children Were Sleeping
    • This is a game my mom taught me (she’s a nanny). You go “sleeping, sleeping all the children were sleeping. And when they woke up, they were ____.” Lions, tigers, bears. You get the kids to act out different movements and sounds. It’s a big hit for my kids. Remember to turn them back to boys and girls at the end.
  • Action Rhyme – This is the way… art version61syrqojfnl-_sx425_bo1204203200_
    • You can get the words here.
  • Story – Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! 
    by Karen Beaumont

    • I passed out scarves and we pretended that our scarves were our paintbrushes and while I sang the story, the kids painted their arms, legs, heads…
  • Scarves w/ Song – De Colores from Dora’s World Adventure CD
    • We went through two verses of this one, so we got the Spanish and English versions of the son.

Finally, I always end with the same three things:


  • Movement Exercise – If You’re Happy and You Know It
    • I tell the kids that I want to know how happy they are.
  • Rhyme – Say Goodbye
    • This is the same rhyme we started with, so the new guys are familiar with it by the end of storytime.
  • Song – Goodbye, So Long, Farewell my Friends by Music Together
    • I always put this one on as I go to open the door. Its a nice, slow, peaceful song to wind down on.

How’d it go: We had a couple of screamers in this storytime but overall it went pretty well. The parents put up with my singing and they all loved participating in Scat the Cat. About 80 people in total.

That’s all for now!


Dance Your Fanny Off: Halloween Edition

Hi Guys,

Yesterday morning my library held one of our most popular programs: Dance Your Fanny Off! This is basically 30-45 minutes of dancing and shaking for walkers up to age 5. We toss out shakers and scarves and just dance.

This edition of Dance Your Fanny Off was even more fun because it was Halloween themed! All the kiddies wore their costumes and I added some spooky songs to the playlist from Kidz Bop: Halloween. 20161031_073446

This was my first time running DYFO and it was a blast… exhausting, but still a blast! I was the Tooth Fairy for Halloween, so dancing in my wings and tutu was a lot of fun.

Here’s the playlist I used. I had twenty-five songs total, which was the perfect amount. I don’t have my list in front of me, so there are two songs missing from the list:

  1. Top of the Morning
  2. Wake Me Up Before You Go Go
  3. Locomotion
  4. Sun
  5. Monster Mash
  6. Labamba
  7. Wheels on the Bus
  8. Thriller
  9. Shout
  10. Down by the Bay
  11. ABC
  12. Purple People Eater
  13. The Twist
  14. Hokey Pokey
  15. I Want Candy
  16. Footloose
  17. If Your Happy and You Know It
  18. Happy
  19. Spaghetti Legs
  20. Can’t Stop The Feeling
  21. Skidamarink
  22. Best of Friends
  23. Goodbye, So Long, Farewell

We had more than a hundred people show up for this program and fun was had by all!

That’s all for now!