harry's horrible hair

Lesson: Harry’s Horrible Hair

Children’s Lit and Lesson that Fit:
Harry’s Horrible Hair

Suggested age range: K-2


 The learner will….

  • Identify a character’s feelings and thoughts by exploring the children’s book, “Harry’s Horrible Hair.”
  • Using several different selections of repertoire, student’s will create their own movement which allows them to express their feelings and emotions
  • Exploring the SEL Competencies, students will discuss how we can empathize with others
  • Using a “Musical Question,” students will explore and create musical responses that demonstrate ways we can be respectful and helpful to others


  • Harry’s Horrible Hair, a book by Theresa Cocci
  • Recordings of various “repertoire”
  • Emoji visuals
  • Whiteboard or chalkboard
  • Harry’s Helpers Flashcards


  • Meet Harry, a downhearted little dog who is saddened by the stares and laughter of others who only see his horrible hair. When his friend Miss Maggie knits him a handsome sweater to hide his messy hair, Harry quickly gains confidence. But when disaster strikes and his patchy hair is once again revealed, Harry wonders if others will ever see him for what he’s like on the inside—not just the outside.


  • Before the teacher reads the story, ask students to listen and look for words that describe how “Harry” is feeling and how they may change.
  • After reading, ask, “When did Harry feel happy?” “When did he feel sad?” “When did he feel mad or worried?”
  • Discuss with students their responses. Write their ideas on whiteboard or chalkboard.
  • Play several excerpts of repertoire suggested below. I used “Spotify” for the selections of recordings.
  • We played a freeze game. I played a section of the repertoire, while students moved around in their “personal space” or “poly spot,” then stopped the music. I took the emoji flashcards that I had made. (I used free clip art and selected various emojis and put them on cardstock).
  • After the students freeze, the teacher holds up two emoji cards and asks, “How did that music make you feel?’’ “Hold up one finger for the first card or two fingers for the second card.”
  • Continue playing the “freeze game” with selections of the repertoire below. Explore and discuss their body movements. Did they feel heavy, light, silly?

Piano Repertoire

“The Happy Farmer from Album for the Young, Op. 68 No. 10” by Robert Schuman (happy)  

“A Sad Story 30 Pieces for Children, Op. 27 #6” by Dimitry Kabalevsky (sad)

“Andantino” or also known as “Ivan Sings” by Aram Khachaturian (worried or sad)

Shenanigan’s Albums

“Muffin Man’s Jig/Circassian Circle” by the Shenanigans (silly)

                        “Frog Puddles/Ninepins Quadrille” (happy, silly)

“Nigun Atik” by the Shenanigan’s Bush Dances of New Holland (sad)

                        “Minoesjka” by the Shenanigan’s Children’s Dances of Terra del Zur, Vol.1 (sad to happy)

Classical Recordings

“Flight of the Bumblebee” by Rimsky-Korsakov (has that agitated feeling)

The next class:

  • Teacher reviewed with students their responses from the last class about Harry’s different feelings in “Harry’s Horrible Hair.”  
  • Using the SEL Emotional Core Competencies- Social Awareness/ Respecting Others as a guide, we explored:
  • How we can be helpful to others?
  • What are some things that others did in the story to help Harry and show respect and      love for him?
  • These were some examples of responses:

                  A sweater was made for him.

                  Miss Maggie liked to comb his thin hair.

                 The old man gave him a hug

                 The elders petted him as he sat on their laps

  • Teacher uses a musical question below and helps students create a rhythmic chant, using their responses.

          How can we help Harry who’s feeling so sad?

               Knit him a sweater.

               Comb his thin hair.

               Give him a hug and show that we care.

  • Patsch rhythmic chant on legs, teaching one line at a time. Reinforce by repeating each line and adding a new one.
  • Students added “visual clues” to help with memory of each line. We added body movements to show the clues.
  • Examples were pretending to knit, combing, “hugging themselves and turning side to side.
  • Teacher sets up a C pentatonic scale on the xylophone, removing the “F” and “B” bars. Teach the song by rote
  • We took our ideas of helping others, wrote them on whiteboard again. We clapped out the rhythms and used stick notation underneath the words. I put them on a separate page below to print out, cut apart and laminate.
  • Students worked in groups with their flashcards that were chosen by a leader from each group.
  • We changed the words of the song to, “How can we help others who’re feeling so sad?”    
  • The students worked on finding unpitched percussion or body percussion that could match their rhythms. These are just several examples:   
  • Doing our chores (guiros, rubbing hands together)
  • Helping our elders (rhythm sticks, tapping feet)
  • Give a hug (bell tree, glockenspiels or tapping arms)  
  • Create a rondo. Sing the musical question, “How can we help others who’re feeling so sad?”
  • First group plays their phrase. Then class sings the “musical question” again.
  • Second group plays, class sings “musical question.”
  • Third group plays, class sings, “musical question.”
  • Remind students of their performance etiquette. “Please be respectful while others are performing.”
  • When finished, encourage each group to share what they liked about the other groups performance.
  • Extension/Reflection:

As a class, we will continue to explore how we could use this song to help and respect others in our schools, family, and our community family. We brainstormed ideas about making cards for others, helping parents and grandparents with chores, sending thank you cards to our community workers, Firemen and Police.

Click here to download a pdf of this lesson

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of the book, please contact Theresa.

Theresa Cocci

Theresa Cocci, currently teaches Early Childhood Music in Reading, PA. She has over twenty-nine years teaching experience in the classroom and instructs private piano. Having earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education , she has earned her Orff Schulwerk Music Certification from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. Additional graduate course work includes studies in Early Childhood Music with Dr. John Feierabend, at West Chester University and graduate work with Peter and Alice Amidon at the University of Hartford. Her professional affiliations include member of AOSA, member at large for the Philadelphia Area Orff Association, Music Teachers National Association and a member of the Society of Book Writers and Illustrators. Theresa is a Certified Instructor for the Pennsylvania Quality Assurance Program and provides in-service workshops for early childhood classroom instructors.

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  1. Nick on August 27, 2022 at 8:38 pm

    Very helpful especially for a new teacher like me. Thanks

  2. Theresa Ellen Cocci on August 28, 2022 at 4:48 pm

    You’re so welcome! I’m glad that the lesson is helpful. Please feel free to check out my website for additional resources that may help. http://www.theresacocci.org
    Hope you have a wonderful year!

  3. Sandra Weyers on August 31, 2022 at 9:42 am

    Where is everyone finding the book? My public library and school library doesn’t have it. I checked at Amazon and the book is only hardcover and 47.00!! I would really like to use this lesson but feel like the book is the big part of the lesson.

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