Cuckoo! by Fiona Roberton
About the book:
The story tells of a little bird Cuckoo, who doesn't quite fit in. No matter just how hard he tries to say 'Cuckoo', he cannot find anyone who understands him. His embarks on a journey to find someone he can relate to. He tries to converse with a range of animals but to no avail and so he decides to enrol in 'Madame Sheep's School Of Excellence' to learn the language of sheep instead! No matter how hard he tries he still can't seem to fit in and he still hasn't found anyone who sounds like him. Will Cuckoo ever find someone he can relate to?
This is a fantastic Early Years book that makes a connection to important themes of acceptance, understanding differences and resilience in a way that young children can relate to. From a music teaching perspective, it encourages the audience to imitate a range of animal sounds and the repeated 'Cuckoo' helps to develop students singing and recognition of the minor 3rd interval, known as 'so-mi'. This is a perfect book to read during the preparation stages of the 'so-mi' strategy, in my teaching program this is early in year 1.
At the start of this year, it just so happened that the year 1 students started off the school year with the PYP Unit: 'Who We Are'. They learn the following unit of inquiry:
Central Idea: Understanding difference helps us interact with others.
Lines of Inquiry:
· Similarities and differences between ourselves and others
· Interacting positively with others
So the book also makes an authentic connection to what they are learning in the classroom program, which is an added bonus!
Music classroom connections:
- Every time 'Cuckoo' calls out for a familiar friend I will sing it in class using a minor 3rd interval 'so-mi'. I encourage students to echo sing 'Cuckoo'. You could revisit the book again to reinforce 'so-mi' with the use of handsigns.
- Rhythmic connections: 'Cuckoo in the clock' rhythmic game.
- Melodic connections: Perform 'Tick Tock Goes the Little Clock' from Creative Music the Kodaly Way.
- Listening connections: 'Allegro' from Toy Symphony by Joseph Haydn. I purchased this piece from iTunes it has a nice steady tempo and you can clearly hear the minor 43rd 'Cuckoo' sections. You can Listen to the piece below:'
- Music teachers everywhere will enjoy exploring and creating the range of vocal sounds the character 'Cuckoo' meets on his journey to find a familiar friend.
Stay tuned for some future Friday freebies blog post entries which will contain an interactive 'Cuckoo in the clock' rhythmic game and some melodic 'Cuckoo' worksheets.
Hope you enjoy singing 'Cuckoo' in your classes!