Israeli Children's Songs

Grade Levels: 1 - 3

Have students in grades 1-3 sing and compare Israeli and American songs.


  • Students will sing and play an Israeli song and an American song about a snail.
  • Students will clap rhythmic patterns of quarter notes and eighth notes contained in both songs.


  • Recording: The Sounds of Jerusalem (Folkways FW 8552) (side 1, band 3)
  • “Bereleh” and “Snail” (Found in Israeli Songs)
  • Chalkboard


  1. Play and sing “Snail” (found in Israeli Songs) with the children. Lead the children in winding up “like a snail” as they sing (you and the children wind up into a tight spiral).
  2. Have the children clap the rhythm notation (found in Israeli Songs) written on the chalkboard while they sing the song.
  3. Clap the first eight beats of “Bereleh” (found in Israeli Songs) while the children look at the rhythmic notation for “Snail.” Have the children identify and mark the changed rhythms. (See figure 52 in Israeli Songs.)
  4. Dictate the next eight beats to complete the song. (See figure 53 in Israeli Songs.)
  5. Sing the new song this rhythm creates for the children (“Bereleh”).
  6. Have each child extend one hand, palm up. Walk around the room as you sing the song to the children and “draw” a snail (circular motion on the palm) on some of the children's palms. This “tickle” is the action of the game as it is used in Israel. Repeat this so that the children have several opportunities to hear the song.
  7. Have the children say, then sing, the words after you:
    Pronunciation: Beh-reh-leh, Beh-reh-leh, tsay ah-choo-tsah
    Ah-bah veh-ee-mah eek-noo leh-chah oo-gah.
    Translation: Little Snail, Little Snail, come outside
    Daddy and Mommy will buy you cake.
  8. Have the children find partners and take turns drawing the snail on each other's palms while they sing.


  • Have the children note that the rhythm notation for “Bereleh” is twice that for “Snail.”
  • Play the wind-up game while alternately singing “Snail” and “Bereleh.” Have the children decide on tempo changes.
  • For children who are learning notation, discuss or discover the range and/or number of different notes in each of the snail songs.
  • Have the children listen to the chant “Shirley Temple” on the recording Sounds of Jerusalem. Can they recognize the same melody as “Bereleh” with different words? To the children in Israel, this is the basic chant of childhood.

Standards Correlations

  • Standard 1

    : Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music
  • Standard 3

    : Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments
  • Standard 9

    : Understanding music in relation to history and culture

Excerpted from Multicultural Perspectives in Music Education.

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Provided in partnership with NAfME

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