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  • Writer's pictureJenny Ferris

When You Wish Upon A Star

Prep music lessons can be a magical time - the children are young, with a vivid imagination and a thirst for knowledge. They haven't yet learned to be cynical about school or self-conscious in front of others.

I therefore try to make the most of this golden window of opportunity and have them perform in front of their classmates and in front of me as often as possible so that they get used to it and it's no big deal later on.

This means lots of solo-singing games - one of my rock-steady reliables is "Starlight, Starbright".

I'm sure you know the poem:

Starlight star bright poem

But it can actually be sung on so and mi as well , can be used as part of a taa & ti-ti strategy and is great for analysing form as each line has a different rhythmic structure - there are some great listening games and mix/match activities you can do with students further down the track where you clap a passage and have them tell you if it was phrase 1, 2, 3 or 4.

But I digress.

The first experience my kids have with this song is as a beat-passing and solo-singing game. Students sit in a circle, passing a Star wand around the class to the beat.

Star Wand

We explain that this is a magical wish-granting wand, but that it's a little bit picky. It will only grant wishes to people who sing to it. If we wish for something in a speaking voice, it's just going to lay there and ignore us. But as soon as we sing.... whoosh! It springs to life!

At the end of the song, it has been charged up by our singing and has about enough juice to grant 4 wishes before it goes flat and we need to charge it up again. So, when we reach the end of the song, whoever is holding the wand (plus their three neighbours) get to sing their wish to the wand, then the song begins again.

All the while, guess what? I'm getting a teacher wish fulfilled by getting some on-the-spot solo singing assessments done while still having the rest of the class engaged.

It's also a great opportunity to get to know your students a little better if you use this activity near the start of a school year - it's interesting to hear some of the more far-fetched wishes: a ferrari, a million-trillion-billion dollars, a unicorn (bless!).

As always, I like to find a way to thematically link my activities together, so I love to lead from that game into this book:

When You Wish Upon A Star Book

This wonderful book by Judy Collins ties right into the lesson. It comes with a CD or you can sing the book yourself.

You can find an analysis of this song & game, plus some other tie-in activities on my Teachers Pay Teachers store here

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