Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Cotton Eye Joe

Do you know "Cotton Eye Joe?".  I have this wonderful folk song in a couple of my books - the standard (orange) "150 American Folk Songs," and in "My Singing Bird."

This song is great for teaching so many things - cut time, low la, practicing half notes, etc.  I like to use it in 3rd-ish grade for low la.

We talk about la in relationship to both low so and do.  Then, we notate it on the staff:

The rhythm can get a little tricky - in my primary sources, it is in cut time.

But, sometimes, this meter can be a little tricky for kids, so depending on where my kids are, I've also done it in 4/4 time:

Or, I've also actually done it where I use both versions for a compare/contrast meter thing.

Now, the first time I actually have ever heard this song was back in college, when I used to go country dancing every Thursday nigh.  I don't really even like country music, but I had so much fun dancing that I ignored that I didn't like the music :)

I used to dance to the version by Rednex, but since that's a little inappropriate for elementary school (some of the lyrics), I've actually stumbled across another great one for line dances by The Chieftains:

You can learn the line dance here:

Of course, this one is based off a different version of the song, notated here:

That version has lots of possibilities to use with your older students - syncopation, fa, etc.

What I like to do is teach the kids the first version, then introduce the second version with the line dance.  They love it!

Of course, you can help support my adoption fund by getting my file of the song here :)

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