Jedi Music

A Resource for the Beginning Elementary Music Teacher


Children's Literature for Music Education: "Rap a Tap Tap: Here's Bojangles-Think of That!"

"Rap a Tap Tap: Here's Bojangles-Think of That!" by Leo and Diane Dillon is a terrific book that I found at my local public library and I plan to utilize it soon in my classroom. The book shares a slice of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson's life, focusing on his street dancing.  A simple afterward tells a short biography of Robinson's life.  The repetitive rhyme, "Rap a Tap Tap- Think of That!" lends itself to many musical extensions.

One of the many great aspects of including children's literature in music is that there are limitless ideas that we can use in each book.  Each teacher is going to think of different activities they can implement so that the book not only reinforces reading skills, but also supports our music curriculum. Our students will often lend their own creative ideas when given a chance, so don't forget to ask them!

Here  are some of my ideas on how I will include this book in music class:

  • The book is used best in kindergarten, first, or second grade
  • Younger students can clap the rhythm of  "Rap a Tap Tap-Think of That!" each time it repeats,  and they can also play the rhythm on instruments.  Older students can use iconic or musical notation to represent the rhythm of the repeating rhyme.
  • Students can devise a body percussion pattern to accompany the rhyme.
  • Enlarge some of the images and pages from the book, so that the high frequency words become part of the environmental print in your music classroom.
  • My district uses the "Making Music" series from Silver Burdett, and this ties in nicely with tap dancing which is explored in the Grade 2 book.  "Making Music" goes in depth with an interview of a cast member from "Tap Dogs". Children could explore the comparison/contrast between Bojangles' style of tap dancing and the more modern "Tap Dogs", after viewing some excerpts from each, easily obtained from YouTube.
  • A really positive aspect of the introduction of these two different generations of tap dancers is that all of the performers are male. Many of my student's only experiences with tap dance leave them with the impression that tap dance is only for girls and dance recitals. Seeing the dancers in these groups in action reinforces the statement from our series, "Male dancers are great athletes."
  • Tap Dogs video:

  • Bill "Bojangles" Robinson video: 

Do you have other ideas for using this book in your music classes? If so, please share!

1 comment:

  1. Call and response in library story time.