Monday, June 26, 2017

Added Value!

Most of us grew up singing the Ants Go Marching Song and although there seems to be variations in the lyrics across the country, the tune has remained essentially unchanged. Animated Step-by-Step Songs are usually read as a literacy activity first, then sung using the song button (upper left)  to provide a sing along song track. This allows staff to use the animations to develop a deeper understanding of the song lyrics and allows the song to be used as a vehicle for practicing key literacy and math concepts. The Ants Go Marching ASbyS is definitely a ‘value added’ song. On the surface it’s just a song but you can do sooooo much more with this resource.  

Adding Value – Math

The animations are designed to highlight various math concepts. For example, after the ants march on to the page there is a pause and a single row of ants is highlighted on a numbered red oval allowing the teacher to call on a student to  count how many ants are in that row.

In the final row one ant is much smaller than the other ants (big/little concept). This provides an opportunity to informally address ordinal numbers, “ Do you see the little one? Where is he in the row…. First? Second? etc.

Students can then count the total number of ants in unison (or round robin) or use multiplication to demonstrate a faster way to count the ants, i.e., How many ants in each row? …. 5; How many rows of ants? …6 ; (using the pen tools of the interactive whiteboard) 5 X 6 = 30. There are 30 ants on the page!

The ants also lent themselves beautifully to patterning challenges, both simple (as illustrated) and complex.

Adding Value – Literacy

The fact that there are so many variations to the song lyrics suggests that this is a great song for using your rhyming skills to generate novel and might I add delightfully silly lyrics, e.g, instead of the little one stops to ‘climb a tree’ …. stops to ‘go wee wee’; ‘suck his thumb’ …. ‘chew her gum’.   A chart has been provided to assist the class in this process. Some teachers provide students with an alphabet chart to assist them in this process.

Added Value – Engagement

When designing ASbyS resources, I often try to add problem solving components to the resource as their addition appears to enhance engagement. For example, when the ants march off the page, a sound effect is heard foreshadowing the shenanigans of that mischievous little ant. After a short delay the mystery text appears and ultimately a magnifying glass appears to show and confirm exactly what that little ant has been doing. 

A static version of the song is also available to allow the song to be sung with more natural cadence (unencumbered by the pausing necessary for triggering the animations).

…’til the next post …  (new posts every Monday)

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©2017 Carol Goossens’, Ph.D.
Augmentative Communication Consultant
Speech-Language Pathologist
Special Educator