Saturday, May 19, 2007

Give the dog a bone

Some of my students have heard the children's rhyme Incey-wincey spider, and wanted me to teach it to them. I told them I'd have to look up the words, because I couldn't remember how they went.

I was not enthusiastic about this. I never liked that rhyme when I was a child, but couldn't remember why. When I got home tonight and looked it up, though, I remembered. I didn't like it because it was sad and horrifying. Poor spider, doomed to an eternity of pointlessness, climbing up and getting washed down the spout over and over and over. What is it supposed to be about, anyway, this Sisyphusian rhyme? Is it SUPPOSED to instill a feeling of meaninglessness and doom in tiny children? Was it just me?

I found This Old Man far more satisfying. I particularly liked it that the old man came rolling home and the dog got a bone in EVERY SINGLE VERSE.

Maybe I'll teach that to my students instead.


Radioactive Jam said...

Personally I prefer this story-song. Your students will too.


Keera Ann Fox said...

I sometimes sing the "old woman who swallowed a fly" to myself. Bit of a tongue-twister by the time you're up to the cow. :-)

The spider song I learned as "The itsy-bitsy spider". I don't like the Norwegian version. In that one, the spider (named Petter) crawls on one's hat. I have arachnophobia and prefer my spiders in rainspouts, not on my clothing.

I'm so glad I'm a grown-up and can listen to Beyoncé coo about something sexual, instead. ;-)

kenju said...

You are an optimist. Only a pessimist would prefer the spider song.

Badaunt said...

I've tried the spider song once or twice. (Yes, it's one of my favourites, too.) Most of the students find it too long. Actually I'd probably have the same problem with the Knick-knack paddy-whack one as well ... I need something SHORT. And funny. And optimistic. (Or at least not depressing.)

Any other suggestions?

Faerunner said...

The odd thing about children's rhymes is that they are on the whole a very depressing and moral bunch of songs. Let's see, though... Jack and Jill? I suppose stick figure illustrations of Jack tumbling down a hill would get their attention :)

What about Mary Had a Little Lamb? That's rather less depressing, and decently short...

Keera Ann Fox said...

Merrzey dotes n dozey dotes. But that is exactly why it may not be good in an ESL class.