Share this page using these social links!
It's Raining Cats and Dogs
Add actions to the song to help students remember the lyrics and to create visual interest in the concert setting.
Students love being able to “meow and woof” the lyrics of the second verse. Soloists may also be assigned the meow and woof sections to show off their “theatrical talents”.
Use the rhythm cards provided with It’s Raining Cats and Dogs for rhythm activities.
- Review simple quarter note/eighth note rhythm combinations
- Have students use the rhythm cards to create their own rhythm combinations. They are composing!
- Have students listen to a rhythm that is being clapped and then use the rhythm cards to create the rhythm.
- Combine students in small groups to create longer rhythm combinations. Have them write their compositions on a piece of paper and share them with others in the class. Put all the group compositions together in one BIG class composition. Clap the rhythms that have been created, or read them using rhythm duration syllables. For a bit of cat and dog fun, read the rhythms using meows and woofs.
Follow the markings in It’s Raining Cats and Dogs and sing expressively.
The mood of this song is optimistic. The singer is hoping to find lots of cats and dogs AND be able to keep the ones that are collected!
Many instructions in music scores are written in Italian and German. These are standard music terms used in music created by composers around the world regardless of the language they normally speak.
Students will need to understand the following Italian instructions:
- molto rit. – slowing down a lot (molto = much)
- rit. – gradually slow down
- a tempo – back to the original tempo (at tempo)
- Fermata – hold or pause. The length of the pause is up to the performer, but a standard length for the hold is twice the value of the note with the fermata. (You may discuss how a “pause” in a song about dogs and cats with “paws” is a funny play on words!)
Encourage solo singers to add theatrical flair in bar 25, where you see the instruction to “sigh” during the rest (use the extra quarter beat created by the fermata). This can be a tired or loving sigh, or any emotion you wish to convey; or it can even be a theatrical “meow” or “woof”. The singer may add their own interpretation as they wish.
For fun, sing the whole song using only “woof” or “meow” and/or use a variety of woof/meow combinations.
Students may wish to add a few props to add visual interest to their performance. Some suggestions are:
- Hold an empty box while singing, or place it on the floor as a visual prop.
- Hold a toy dog or cat during the performance. (A prop can also be a helpful “security item” for a shy singer to hold onto for support if they are nervous about performing.)
- Use face paint to create dog and cat faces for your group performance.
- Add a few colourful umbrellas for a “splash” of colour.
Add actions to the song to enhance the concert or recital presentation. A list of suggested actions is included on page 10 of the PDF document.
Keep the beat
- explore steady beat
- discuss rit., a tempo and fermata
- conducting (silent beat keeping)
- Clap, tap and say the rhythms for the whole song
Composing with simple rhythm elements (quarter notes/rests and eighth notes)
- Have students compose their own original rhythm patterns
- Use fun printable rhythm element cards (provided in the PDF document)
- Read, tap, and play the simple rhythms created by the students
- Combine 4-beat rhythms to create longer songs
- Create rounds and canons with student rhythm patterns
Practice and reinforce understanding of rhythm patterns
Use “call and response” activities:
- Use the rhythm patterns created by the students
- Clap or play patterns, reading from flash cards
- Clap or play patterns by ear
- Create call and response “conversations”
Create a rain circle
Explore the science of the rain cycle
Read weather and rain-related books
Read along with Donna It's Raining, It's Pouring
Sing other Donna Rhodenizer songs featuring cats and dogs
Computer Cat (Computer Cat CD)
Cool Bob (Computer Cat CD)
Pretty Itty Bitty Kitty Unicorn (tongue twister warm-up) Full Voice Music
Sing other Donna Rhodenizer songs about the weather
Splashing in the Puddles (Computer Cat CD)
Get up in the Mornin' (Blue Skies and Pirates CD)
It's Raining Cats and Dogs
There are many phrases that we use in our conversations that could be confusing to those who take us literally. Phrases like, “I have a frog in my throat,” or “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse,” might need some explaining! “It’s raining cats and dogs” is one of those expressions and it stuck in my imagination as worth investigating with my composer’s point of view. If one takes this phrase literally, and if one also likes cats and dogs, this might seem to be a perfect opportunity to bypass the usual parental permission to get a pet; just go outside with a box and scoop up what you want!
I jotted down the idea for the opening phrase and repeated it (that makes it easy to learn!) and the melody followed quickly. The rest of the song worked its way along with melody and lyrics coming together. Many times natural accents of the language of the lyrics dictate how the melody will go and in turn, the melody line starts to define how many syllables will fit into the phrase. The second verse I wrote expanded a bit on cat and dog characteristics: their fur and claws, their tails and paws. By repeating the last section of the song, it allowed me to write a complete verse without so many words for a young singer to learn.
I knew my students were going to LOVE singing this song when I thought of adding the verse where they get to meow and woof for the lyrics. I inserted this as a second verse and suddenly I had a three-verse song! When I introduced the song, my students had a great time debating the merits of cats and dogs. There were very stalwart fans on both sides of the fence and some who couldn’t decide and put some of both in their imaginary box. We added actions, we sang the meows and woofs with great theatrical affectation, and the premiere performance (at our school spring concert) was a hit with our delighted audience.
I have not yet written any songs about the frogs and the horses I mentioned earlier, but you never know when inspiration is going to arrive, and when it does I will “strike while the iron is hot” and get a song written!
When you have enjoyed singing this song and doing the activities with your students - please drop by again and leave a Review on this page. Thanks!