Lesson 2: Exploring “I’ll Tell Me Ma”

Aim: How can we recognize verse and chorus in “I’ll Tell Me Ma?”

Summary: Students learn to sing and dance to “I’ll Tell Me Ma” while using contrasting movements for the verses and chorus.

Materials: Musical Explorers CD or online audio

Standards: GA: ESGMK-2.CR.3; ESGMK-2.PR.1; ESGMK-2.PR.3; ESGMK-2.RE.1; ESGMK-2.RE.2; ESGMK-2.RE.3; ESGMK-2.CN.1; ESGMK-2.CN.2
SC: MGK-2.1, MGK-2.4, MGK-2.5, MGK-2.6

Vocabulary: chorus, verse


Listen to “I’ll Tell Me Ma”

  • Listen to “I’ll Tell Me Ma,” Track 23.  Tap the steady beat while listening to the song.
  • Ask the students to describe what they heard in the song.
    • What instruments did you hear?
    • What parts of the song were the same? What parts of the song were different? Did anything repeat?

Sing “I’ll Tell Me Ma”

  • Review verse with your students (Verse). “I’ll Tell Me Ma” has two verses. Between each verse is the chorus.
  • The chorus of a song is the part of the song that repeats throughout. “I’ll Tell Me Ma” starts with the chorus.
  • Learn to sing part of the chorus together.

Creative Extension: Learn About Traditional Irish Dances

  • Traditional Irish dancing is a popular activity for both boys and girls in Ireland. Step dances such as the jig, reel, hornpipe, and slip are performed with an upright torso (no hunched shoulders!) and arms down at the sides with the hands balled up into fists. Dancers dance on the balls of their feet in either soft shoes or hard shoes. Céilí dances are social dances that are performed either with partners or in groups, but resemble step dances in their movements. Students can see pictures of the shoes and dancers on SG39.
  • Watch some videos of beginning Irish dance steps on savannahmusicfestival.org/musicalexplorers.
  • Listen to “I’ll Tell Me Ma,”  Track 23,  and see if you can put some Irish dance steps to the song.

Literacy Extension: Kathleen O’Byrne by Declan Carville and Brendan Ellis 

Kathleen O’Byrne is the story of a young Irish dancer who hopes to compete at a “feis,” a traditional Irish arts and culture festival and is disappointed when she is not chosen. Instead of getting upset, she creates her own recital and invites her friends to watch her jig, reel, and hornpipe.

Musical Word Wall

Add the words chorus and verse to the Musical Word Wall.


PDF Downloads

SG39 ↓ Download File


Musical Explorers Audio Tracks


Go to Irish Music Unit Music Assessment