Monday, 22 October 2012

Freddie the Frog!

Oh Freddie, I love you!

I used the Freddie the Frog books for the first time! I LOVE them! In September, I used Sharon Birch's first book in this series, "The Thump in the Night", to teach notes in the Treble Clef staff to my grade 3 students.

The series connects stories to musical concepts, making it much easier for students to remember. Each book focuses on a specific musical concept. "The Thump in the Night" focuses on learning about half of the notes in the treble clef staff. 

Students learn about Treble Clef Island, where Freddie lives, and each character or landmark is found in a particular area on the island. Each character or landmark corresponds to a letter on the staff. For example Freddie's home is located on the most northern part of Treble Clef Island (where "F" on the line is located). We have also read "The Secret of Crater Island", which identifies the rest of the staff notes and D, C and B below the staff. 

The series includes a teacher handbook with easy to follow lesson plans on how to use Freddie and the books.

I love using the Freddie the Frog puppet with the class as we learn through his stories! The kids LOVE him! I was concerned that they would be too old for this, but my grade 3 students really enjoyed pretending that he was real!

I also have Eli, Freddie's best friend, to help us with classroom activities.

After reading "The Thump in the Night" and "The Secret of Crater Island", and learning about the musical alphabet, students created their own Treble Clef Island maps. Although it was a fun activity, it took a really long time for students to make the maps! I will have to think of a way to simplify it for next year.

Click below for access to a Smartboard activity to prepare students for the Treble Clef Island art activity.

I hope you all try the Freddie books! They are such great fun and the students really remember the characters! I am looking forward to seeing how this helps their reading skills for grade 4!



  1. I also love these books. I actually start using them in Kindergarten. As I was telling one of my friends, I don't push the idea of reading notes on the treble clef in Kindergarten, but do have them start looking for the difference between line and space notes. Then in 1st grade we re-read the stories and in 2nd grade we re-read them one last time. I really wasn't sure how much help they would be, but my 2nd graders listened to the Freddie the Frog books as Kindergarteners, then as 1st graders, and asked me already day one to read the books again as 2nd graders. They also have some EXTREMELY good senses of note reading in all aspects of music. We obviously work a lot of reading even outside of the Freddie books, but I love their excitement when Freddie gets brought back out.

    Also, I'm glad to hear that it goes well with 3rd graders. I have decided to use Freddie again with 3rd grade this year. I recently bought the 5th book and I want to use it with 3rd grade since it is in 3rd grade that our curriculum talks about Scat and Jazz.

    1. Thank you for sharing how you use these books with younger kids. I will have to try them out with my little ones for line/space and other aspects of reading the staff.

  2. Greetings! It's fun to discover Freddie is hopping around Canada! Love your ideas. Especially the music maps! Hmmm...I think I can help with that...

    1. Wow! Thanks so much for commenting Sharon! Your series is AMAZING and I recommend it to all of my teacher friends. Freddie has definitely been hopping around Manitoba, especially here in Manitoba! Most Music specialists have heard about your work and many, many teachers use your resources. Stories, puppets and your lesson ideas really connect with the children and make learning incredibly engaging.

      Any ideas you have for making those maps a little less time consuming would be most welcome!

      Thanks again for commenting!

  3. How about having the pictures already printed at the bottom of the page and having the students cut them out and then glue them onto the map? I have done something kinda similar. I put the pictures at the bottom of the page and then had them draw lines to where they belong on the map.

    1. Good idea Cathy. I didn't do the maps this time, but that would be a great addition!