Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Etiquette of Old MacDonald


Old MacDonald had a farm,
E-I-E-I-O.
And on that farm he had some frogs
E-I-E-I-O.
With a ribbit-ribbit here,
And a ribbit-ribbit there . . .

What kind of a farm is this again?

As I mentioned a few days ago, I took Q to a toddler play class that had some idiosyncrasies, and I have to ask your opinion, oh Internet friends, on a particular part of circle time. I'm speaking about the etiquette of Old MacDonald.

Miss Teacher had a medium-level mastery of English, and it was difficult to make out what she was saying, but we all played along and had a good time. Any day when we can sing and make animal noises is a good day in our household.

So, the questions begin: As the leader of the song, are you supposed to call out the name of the animal as the verse begins so that everyone can participate in the song? Or do you make everyone wait in suspense, straining to hear what animal you mumble, leaving the group to lurch back into the rhythm of the song?

I recall from the days of playing the Hokey-Pokey that the gym teacher would yell out "Right hand!" and later "Right foot!" before we started singing the verses, so we could all sing together.

And is there a particular order you're supposed to use for the animals? If I'm the leader, is it ok if I choose them in whatever order comes to mind? That makes sense to me, but do the kids (and mommies) expect a cow, followed by a sheep or horse?

I enjoyed Miss Teacher's unusual collection of farm animals, which was both highly creative and also probably lacking the shared background of the prototypical American traditional family farm of the last century. My favorite was the frogs, although she did have another (turtles, or perhaps fish?) where no one knew what sounds to make. She also made all the animals plural, so we squeezed in some extra syllables.

And on that farm he had some horses
E-I-E-I-O

I'm certainly not going to tell Miss Teacher that I'm confused by her rendition of Old MacDonald. Anyone who will take on 2 dozen toddlers and their mothers deserves to run her class however she likes. And what farm these days has one horse, one sheep, one pig and one cow anyway? I'm grateful we weren't singing about a factory farm.

And on that farm he had 10,000 chickens
E-I-E-I-O

Any thoughts on Old Mac?

5 comments:

lara said...

i've definitely been present for cases where the animal has been called out at the beginning of the verse so that everyone can participate. another option i've seen (dylan's preschool teacher used to do this) is to sing along until you get to the "he had a..." and point to one of the kids to let them choose. that obviously works better with kids who are slightly more verbally advanced, though. :)

Tom Fence said...

we did the call it out right before the open spot, also in order of who goes next. so many options, so little time! crystal

Tom Fence said...

we did the call it out right before the open spot, also in order of who goes next. so many options, so little time! crystal

Anonymous said...

Hmm, it does seem like calling out the name would work better. As for unusual animals, when we sing it, Jeremy and I take turns choosing an animal. Any animal is fair game. We've had elephants, catfish, ocotopi, tigers, yaks, etc. The noise made is sometimes highly creative. (A catfish says meow-bloopbloop, an octopus says squirt-squirt, etc). Why limit yourself? Amy

Anonymous said...

That cracks me up! Octopi, 10,000 chickens, and catfish. We definately need to add some spice to our version of Micky D at our house!-Shawn