Traditional Circle Game from Puerto Rico

Grade Levels: 2 - 6


Objectives

  • Students will learn a traditional circle game, a rueda (roo-EH-dah), from Puerto Rico.
  • Students will identify the dynamic accents in the song by adding appropriate movements.
  • Students will learn to sing this Puerto Rican song in Spanish.

Materials

  • Space in the classroom for the children to form one or several circles

Procedures

  1. A La Limón is one of the many traditional rueda songs that Puerto Rico and other Hispanic countries assimilated from Spain. As in other cultures, Puerto Rican children sing while walking around in a circle holding hands. This in Spanish is called a rueda. The title "A La Limón" may be roughly translated as "in the manner of a lemon," but it does not have a specific meaning except its association with a rueda game. This one is particularly appropriate for smaller children. While singing the first phrase, which mentions the broken-down fountain, children usually jump and pretend to fall like the fountain. For a classroom situation, a small jump or gesture should be enough to accent the normally unstressed second beat and corresponding syllable in the fourth measure while continuing the flow of the song.
  2. Using an example the children know, such as "The Mulberry Bush" or "Looby Loo," explain to them that children all over the world do singing games. Tell them that this one is in Spanish and comes from Puerto Rico. Instruct them to keep the beat to the song (while you sing) by stepping in place by their seats. Sing the first verse at a moderate tempo. If the students are not independent at finding the beat, help them by stepping as you sing. After the activity, give the translation of the lyrics and repeat the first verse until they can do the beat accurately and independently.

    "A la Limón"
    1. A la limón, a la limón, que se rompió la fuente,
    A la limón, a la limón, mandadia a componer,
    Hurrí, hurrí, hurrá, la reina va a pasar,
    Hurrí, hurrí, hurrá, la reina va a pasar.


    2. A la limón, a la limón, no tenemos dinero,
    A la limón, a la limón, pues mandadio a hacer,
    Hurrí, hurrí, hurrá, la reina va a pasar,
    Hurrí, hurrí, hurrá, la reina va a pasar.


    3. A la limón, a la limón, de qué se hace el dinero,
    A la limón, a la limón, de cascarón de huevo,
    Hurrí, hurrí, hurrá, la reina va a pasar,
    Hurrí, hurrí, hurrá, la reina va a pasar.

    Phonetic Pronunciation
    1. Ah lah lee-MOHN, ah lah lee-MOHN, keh seh rohm-peeOH lah fooEHN-teh,
    Ah lah lee-MOHN, ah lah lee-MOHN, mahn-DAD-lah ah kohm-por-NEHR
    Oo-RREE, oo-RREE, oo-RRAH, lah reh-EE-nah vah ah pah-SAHR. (repeated)

    2. Ah lah lee-MOHN, ah lah lee-MOHN, noh teh-NEH-mohs dee-NEH-roh,
    Ah lah lee-MOHN, ah lah lee-MOHN, poo-ehs mahn-DAD-loh ah-CEHR,
    Oo-RREE, oo-RREE, oo-RRAH, lah reh-EE-nah vah ah pah-SAHR. (repeated)

    3. Ah lah lee-MOHN, ah lah lee-MOHN, deh KEH seh AH-ceh ehl dee-NEH-roh,
    Ah lah lee-MOHN, ah lah lee-MOHN, de kahs-kah-ROHN deh oo-EH-voh,
    Oo-RREE, oo-RREE, oo-RRAH, lah REH-ee-nah vah ah pah-SAHR. (repeated)

    Translation
    1. A la limón, a la limón, the fountain broke down,
    A la limón, a la limón, have it fixed,
    Hurrí, hurrí, hurrá, the queen is passing by,
    Hurrí, hurrí, hurrá, the queen is passing by.

    2. A la limón, a la limón, we do not have money,
    A la limón, a la limón, then make some,
    Hurrí, hurrí, hurrá, the queen is passing by,
    Hurrí, hurrí, hurrá, the queen is passing by.

    3. A la limón, a la limón, what is money made of,
    A la limón, a la limón, of eggshell,
    Hurrí, hurrí, hurrá, the queen is passing by,
    Hurrí, hurrí, hurrá, the queen is passing by.

  3. Having previously prepared the room for the activity, instruct the students to form a circle, or two or three circles, depending on the number of students and the space available. Have them face the inside of the circle and instruct them to step to the beat once more, still in place. Sing the song again.
  4. Ask the children if they notice a sound that would be louder than the others. Sing the first phrase and have them raise their hands when they hear the loud sound. Tell them that this is an accent and have them say the word. Still staying in their place, have them make a small jump in the accent as you sing the first phrase. Repeat until the children have enough familiarity with the music to jump on the accent and not before or after.
  5. Begin combining the steps by having the children stay in their place, step to the beat, and jump on the accent while you sing.
  6. Instruct them to hold hands while walking to the beat of the song in one direction and jumping on the accent. Sing the song again.
  7. Review the lyrics and melody of the first verse with them, mapping the stepwise motion and leaps of the melody as needed. (At this point, they will have heard the song many times.)
  8. For closure, have them perform the rueda game, singing and moving together.

Extension Activities

  • Have a few children stand in the middle of the circle and play the pulse on a hand drum while dancers revolve around them.

National Standards for Arts Education Correlations

  • Content Standard #1: Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music

Excerpted from Multicultural Perspectives in Music Education.

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Provided in partnership with NAfME

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