I always take time for vocal exploration in my early years classes. It’s so important to get them comfortable with their voices, and work on their flexibility. We focus just on echoes for a while, and then we think about how we can write them down. We talk about highs and lows, big changes (intervals) and little ones. We draw them in the air, and finally we draw them on paper.
Imagine my delight when I discovered a set of books that fit our swoops and swirls perfectly! Through the Town is an adorable board book, wherein each spread has a traceable line that you can easily follow with your voice. The pages are in layers so the students can actually FEEL the indented line, making it easier to trace with a finger.
After introducing the book with the class, I set it up in a reading corner so students could do it on their own. The children loved it so much that they wanted more. I only had one, though, so we made our own instead!
I asked the students to start by vocalizing a bit and finding a “line” that they liked. Then they had to try to draw that shape on their paper. This became their path. Then, like in the book, they drew the area around the path. It may have been a busy street, or a footpath in the park, or anything else. Some of ours were on alien planets, so anything goes! The children wanted to feel the lines, so I gave everyone a piece of yarn, which they glued onto their path. It turned out to be a great project, especially because the children could trade their pages, to “read” and vocalize each other’s paths.
If you try this at your school and you use an online portfolio like Seesaw, you can share them there as well. The students can take a photo of their page, and use the drawing tool to trace the path as they sing it. Our parents loved this.
There are other books like this one, so I encourage you to get a few for your classroom and try them out!
What books do you like to use for vocal exploration?