Jedi Music

A Resource for the Beginning Elementary Music Teacher


Children's Literature for Music Ed: "Slowly, Slowly, Slowly," said the Sloth

Most early elementary students have a favorite tempo, and that would be FAST! Oftentimes we need to remind our young students to slow down and take it easy, and not just in the context of the music! As a fan of the art of Eric Carle, I collected many of his books for my own children's collection, but "'Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,' said the Sloth" has been overlooked at our house until now.  In the day of the sloth, he hangs out on a branch, eats, naps, and wakes up....what a lazy day! After being pestered by some other animals, the sloth gives his defense: he just likes to do things slowly, slowly, slowly.

Rachel Rambach has written a song to reinforce the need to go slowly called "Slow and In Control". Listening to this song would be a great way to introduce the concept of the slow tempo, and to lead into this book.

Here are my ideas for using this book in music class:

  • By nature, this is a great activity for the end of the class, when you want your students to be winding down from activities.
  • It is especially appropriate at the end of a lesson on tempo.
  • Present the students a challenge to play a tone bell or xylophone scale as S-L-O-W-L-Y as possible.
  • As you read each page of the story of the sloth, invite a new student to play an ascending or descending scale as slowly as they can.
  • For all students, but especially special needs students, playing slowly gives them more practice (and more success!) hitting each note of the scale squarely in the middle, and not skipping any in between.

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