Kids still love fingerplays. It doesn’t matter how many videogames they play, the preschool, kindergarten and first graders love occupying their hands with fingerplays. Visit most classrooms and you won’t see their fingers occupied creatively in this way. I say, "Let’s bring back respect for our hands!"
Years ago teachers at my previous school attended a BER workshop incorporating music in elementary reading programs. (I wish I could find that instructors name!) One of the points they brought back was that students’ hands need to cross the invisible vertical line in our brains to involve both plains. I have been practicing this for the past 10 years and I believe it is true. Children and adults remember more when their hands travel across their bodies. Try some of your favorite fingerplays and you’ll see. Little Bunny Foo-Foo? Five Little Monkeys Sitting In a Tree? Big motions across your body help retain the actions.
According to Kathy Reschke (Family Life Extension, Human Development and Family Studies, Iowa State University), "When children repeat fingerplays and rhymes, they are learning and practicing many important language skills: building vocabulary, rhyming, rhythm, memory, matching words with actions – just to name a few. Verses can also help develop children’s muscle coordination and listening skills as well as strengthen children’s understanding of concepts such as counting, colors, and spatial positioning (up, down, behind, etc.)."
Our library rules are practiced using sign language. #1 Bring back your books. #2 Take care of your books. #3 Take care of your library. We often drop what we are doing to include fingerplays or sign language in our lessons. Every student at our school knows if I silently signal rule #3 that they need to think about what they are doing and adjust.
While you can read about fingerplays, only actively doing can’convey the motion, energy or drama of a fingerplay. Where are my vlogs and videologgers to help demonstrate what these fingerplays should look like? I found some of Miss Lori doing the Itsy Bitsy Spider with Sqedunk entertainment. Come on librarians. You are the best storytellers out there. Turn the camera on and show us your hands.