Luck o' the Irish to you! I'm going to share a few St. Patty's Day songs and activities for your music class that are kid-tested.

One of my student's favorite songs this time of year is "I Am a Jolly Leprechaun," with a hide and seek game. I learned it many, MANY years ago at a workshop and have since forgotten from whom it was learned. 

One child is the "Leprechaun" (for fun they may wear something, like a plastic shamrock necklace, to indicate they are the “Leprechaun"). The class hides eyes and sings while the "Leprechaun" hides plastic gold coins or shamrocks in the room (4-5 at a time). Once all items are hidden, the class opens their eyes. There is mass chaos if the whole class tried to find the items at once, so I call out first letters of first names, colors of clothing, birthday months, etc., so a smaller group of children are the finders. Those students get only twice through the song to seek and by the end must return to their seats, If there are stragglers, count down from 10 to 0 to give time to get there. Students who found an object come to the front of the room with the "Leprechaun." The Leprechaun then shows us where un-found items are (for time's sake). You can vary what those students who found an item have to do. The Leprechaun may ask, "What do you wish for?" and the students respond with a singing voice so pitch matching may be assessed. Or they might read a rhythm card which uses St. Patrick's objects (see examples below). The Leprechaun then chooses a new leader from the group of students who found an object to be the new Leprechaun, and a new round begins. You could play this game like Lucy Locket singing loudly or quietly to lead finders to an object, but then only one child gets to seek. With 4 or 5 finders each round, you can cycle through a whole class in a short amount of time.

I learned this song as a simple ball catching game, and in my own classes, I switched to using beanbags to toss to avoid all of the stray bouncing balls. I always wondered the origin and just assumed it was a playground chant. Boys and Girls come out to Play - a Collection of Irish Singing Games by Maurice Leyden, it may derive from Irish games in which children bounce a ball, or more than one ball, against a wall and perform motions while the ball is in flight. In the case of Plansies Clapsies, I learned it as a game in which a ball/beanbag is just tossed in the air and the actions are done while the object is in the air. Below are the instruction to the game.

Plainsies- simply toss and catch
Clapsies- toss, clap catch
Twirl around- toss, turn in a complete circle, catch (I simplified- roll hands around one another)
Backsies- toss and catch behind your back (I simplified- toss, touch back, catch)
Right hand- toss and catch with R hand  
Left hand- toss and catch with L hand
Toss it high- toss high, catch
Toss it low- toss low, catch
Touch your knee- toss, bring knee up and touch it, catch
Touch your toe- toss, bring toe up and touch it, catch
Touch your foot- toss, bring foot up and touch it, catch
Through you go- lift a leg and toss ball under, catch with opposite hand

Here are a few other terms original to the ball against the wall game that could be adjusted to use in a classroom as a toss and catch game:
Plainy: The ball is thrown against the wall and caught on the rebound.                                           
Clappy: As for Plainy, but clap hands when the ball is in flight.
Rolley: Roll arms over one another.
To Backey: Clap hands behind back.
Hippy: Place hands on hips.
Tippy: Touch the ground.
Jelly Bag: Hands are held together,fingers spread wide apart to form a "bag" when catching the ball.
Basket: Weave fingers together, knuckles facing backwards to you to catch.                                  Burl Around: Turn completely around.
Downey/Dropsie: Allow the ball to bounce once off the ground before being caught.
Right/Left Leg: Throw the ball under a raised right or left leg to hit the wall first.                                 Archy: Separate legs to form an arch, and the ball is thrown from behind, under the arch       
Walla: Cross one leg in front of the other when the ball is in flight.
Stampy: Stamp both feet on the ground when the ball is in flight.
Pipey/Pipsie: Throw the ball straight up and catch it.

I haven't tried it yet, but thought it would be a fun idea to have groups of students come up with their own chants using the various words for the motions to perform for the class. In any case, this is a good song for older beginners who need practice with simple rhythms and melodies.

Below is a sample of a color by note worksheet for St. Patrick's Day. These kinds of worksheets are great for subs.

In order for you to download an actual PDF, I think I have to link it. I'm sending you to my Teacher's Pay Teachers page which at the moment I don't really use. My apologies. I'm defending my dissertation in about a month, so haven't had time to actually get it up and running. Maybe in the future. Here is a link to the PDF:

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Enjoy. 

1 comment

  1. Always learning from this blog! Thank you! We are using Kodaly training for our classes which really help them. New ideas are wonderful.


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