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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Obwisana - A Singing and Passing Game from Ghana

Obwisana is one of my favorite songs to teach! I even remember learning it wayyyy back when I was in elementary school. It's a fun game that you can keep simple or add levels of difficulty. Though the original song is about rocks, I used bean bags with my students.

Obwisana is such a fun singing game! My students enjoyed this lesson! I love that you can add layers of difficulty. A great way to add multi-cultural music into a lesson.

I start out by teaching a little bit about Ghana. I show them where Ghana is on a map. I show them pictures of native Ghanaian instruments such as the talking drum and atenteben(bamboo flute). I show them the soccer team from Ghana. Some of my students play soccer outside of school and were excited to see that. I then teach them how to pronounce the words to the song and I also show them what the song translates to in English.

Obwisana sa nana
Obwisana sa
Obwisana sa nana
Obwisana sa.

The rock has crushed my hand, grandma
The rock has crushed my hand
The rock has crushed my hand, grandma
The rock has crushed my hand

Then I teach the song:

Once students grasp the song, we make a circle! Before I pass out bean bags, we practice the passing motion. I have students raise their right hand and then lower it down to the left across their body in front of the person to their left. Then I have them move their right had to the right side of their body in front of the person to their right. We practice a few times on quarter notes and then add in the song. Once students grasp that, I hand out bean bags. To add a layer of difficulty, turn students to the outside of the circle. To add more difficulty, add a pat-clap between each pass. If you'd like to turn this into a game, designate one color bean bag as an "elimination" bean bag. Whoever has that color at the end of one round is out of the circle.

Here's an example of a class playing Obwisana:

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