A Leave-Out-the-Words Song for George Washington

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In the olden days, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln each had their own birthday, like regular people. Since their birthdays were so close, though, they graciously agreed to celebrate them on the same day in honor of three-day weekends. Nowadays we remember these great presidents by sleeping late and shopping.

This song is a leave-out-the-words, or audiation song, like “My Hat, It Has Three Corners.” (Audiation means inner listening, or hearing music in your head.) These songs are tricky for Pre-K’s and K’s, but tricky in a good way. You know, like the zone-of-proximal-development thing. They have to struggle a bit, but they get it, and then they feel all self-esteemy.

This one, called “He Was the First President,” is very silly and fun. The tune is “Little Peter Rabbit Had a Fly Upon His Ear” (hey, another leave-out-the-words song!)

It goes like this:

He was the first president of the United States,
He was the first president of the United States,
He was the first president of the United States,
George Washington was his name!

On “was,” hold up your pointer finger to indicate the number one, or “first.” On “president,” salute. On “the United States,” march with your arms. And on “Washington was his name!” hold up the sign-language sign for “W,” your middle three fingers held up with your thumb and pinkie touching in front.

Repeat this a couple times until the children know it, then sing while leaving out the words “was the first,” just holding up your pointer finger.

Then leave out that PLUS “president,” while you salute. Then leave out those PLUS “the United States,” while marching with your arms. Then leave out all those words PLUS “Washington was his name,” while holding up the W sign.

If your students are up for it, try the whole song with no words at all.

This is not easy, so congratulate them when they get it. Tell them George Washington would be proud. I think he would be.

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