Early Literacy: The Leopard's Drum (with modification for shorter class)


The Leopard's Drum by Jessica Souhami has been my go-to book the past few weeks with story-telling yoga.  Its  a fantastic story filled with great vocabulary (magnificent, fierce, boastful, and jealous) and opens itself up for an ethical discussion about fairness and sharing.  And, of course, it lends itself to many different animal yoga poses. The Leopard's Drum is a West African tale about a leopard who makes a huge drum but then refuses to share it.  The Sky-God wants the drum, and the forest animals conspire to steal it from the leopard. The animal that is successful is promised a reward from the Sky-God.

The lesson plan included here is for a full 35-45 minute class, but I have also been adapting it to a 15-20 minute read aloud for the EC and Kinder students.  During the latter, I open with three Sun breaths/OM and then go right into the story. We do each pose as we come to it in the book, and I have focused on the above vocabulary words during the reading (using the SSTAR model from Hanen). We close with a conversation around the fairness of the animals stealing the leopard's drum and brainstorming other, more positive, solutions (i.e. the animals could all make their own drums, the leopard could make drums for them and the Sky-God, etc.)

All in all, this book has lent itself beautifully for EC through 2nd grade, and I think it would be a great read aloud for older grades as well.