Nursery Rhymes: Combining Digital and Hands on Resources


One of the continuing education courses I am taking this summer is ISTE SUMMER ACADEMY.  I have been inspired by Joesph South at ISTE talk about resilient learning systems that are adaptable to any situation. Think of learning first and technology second.

I have been a strong advocate of students learning nursery rhymes. They have been part of our culture and their typically short narrative can assist students in learning the structure of language. Nursery Rhymes can assist the beginning of learning about rhyming words. They are perfect for teaching a student how to sequence simple stories and then begin to learn how to do a story retell.

I typically have a number of differentiated booklets that I can use with my students and then expand that learning to include puppets, sequencing cards, coloring sheets, and writing prompts. I love having the students act out the rhymes. As we review the nursery rhyme in different contexts the children begin to naturally memorize them and you can hear them go throughout the day singing the nursery rhyme and having their toys mimic the actions.

These rhymes are an important lesson for the English Language Learners as they may be different from the nursery rhymes of their culture. Sharing these helps them make connections to things that they may see in the environment. Just think of the confusion for the ELL learner if they see a baby’s toy of a cow jumping over the moon.

With the move to distance learning, I needed to think about a digital component that I could add to my unit. During a Zoom meeting, I could read the poem. I could send the puppets virtually to the child as well as the booklet. We could pretend to be the character BUT then sometimes I would lose the child off camera as we really got into our imaginary tale. I also knew that for many families coordinating this on camera teletherapy was more difficult especially given the age of the child.

To begin with, I began to create Youtube videos, and although a good resource they competed with the other videos that the child loved.

Boom cards¬†allowed me to create a digital product that could read to the child AND could also have them be more actively involved in the learning process by having some simple activities after the poem. I created them with ‘flow’ so that once the child understood the process they would be able to navigate the system with minimum assistance from the parent. It could be something that was done over and over. As a therapist, it gave me some data to examine to determine if this was a technology that worked for the family, was the resource at the appropriate level for the student, where were the errors in answering the questions.

The other bonus of this task was that once the child has done them it is something that can be flexible and be able to be done if we are in-person or need to teach remotely. So as Joseph South advised, I first thought of what was the learning I wanted to occur, then I matched that with a technology that allowed me to get to this learning in a resilient system that can adjust to the changes in circumstances.

Here is an example of digital and print nursery rhymes.

Hey Diddle Diddle

Humpty Dumpty

Little Miss Muffet

How have you added a digital layer to your teaching units?

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