• Jenny Ferris

Octopus’ Garden


One of my favourite Beatles' songs tends towards the whimsical. I am of course speaking of Ringo's wonderful "Octopus' Garden". I always enjoy introducing it to the children who haven't heard it before and reliving it with those already familiar.

I first introduce it with the aid of this wonderful illustrated book by Rob Cook. I am always in two minds about whether to silently turn pages while the original recording is playing or whether to sing the lyrics myself in an authentic live performance. I think there are benefits to both and whichever you feel more comfortable with is fine.

To then build familiarity with the song, we play a beat-passing game using this wonderful puppet by Folkmanis.

We simply pass the octopus around the circle to the beat and any beats that begin with a silence (ie: two beats in between each line) will get you out if you are holding the puppet on that beat. This is a simple way to repeat the chorus over and over without getting too sick of it!

In a later lesson, I love introducing the chords to my ukulele-literate classes and having them perform a sing & play accompanying themselves on the ukulele.

It is a fairly straightforward 4-chord song. I use C, Am, F and G as these are chords that even beginner ukulele students find easy enough to master, plus it puts the song in a child-friendly vocal key.

If you are at a BYOD school or have access to recording software, this sing & play can make for a great portfolio task or final assessment.

How else would you incorporate this song into lessons? Comment below with your suggestions!

#Ukulele #Puppets #Books

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