The following was an interview of a Participant/interviewee about a folk game that is passed around mainly in elementary. She is marked as CT. I am marked as DM.
CT: Teddy bear, teddy bear touch the ground (touch the ground). Teddy bear, teddy bear turn around (spin in a circle). Teddy bear, teddy bear tie your shoe (touch your shoe). Teddy bear, teddy bear get out of school.
The participant is ten years old in the fifth grade. She grew up in Los Angeles, California, but she has Mexican parents and family. Christine, who is marked as CT, is my sister. I was at home for my mother’s birthday party on Friday, April 13, 2018, when I overheard my sister playing a hand game with my cousin. I noticed it was the same games I played in elementary, but the lyrics of the game were slightly different. I began to ask her questions about the game. In this particular game, the objective was to see touch the ground, turn around, and act like you are tying your shoe all while jump roping.
DM: Where did you learn this game?
CT: I learn this from my friend Stella.
DM: Why do you like this game?
CT: I like this one cause I like jumping a lot
DM: Do you know where Stella learned it from?
CT: She learned it from Krishell.
DM: What is the meaning of this game to you?
CT: This game means to me like, to like be active and it like makes you cheerful cause like, like, like I can’t explain it but like its like really active and then like when you also wanna hang out with your friends.
DM: So it’s a fun way to be active?
CT: Yeah, it’s a fun way to be active.
Analysis/ My Thoughts:
While I was in elementary, this “Teddy Bear” game was very popular during recess when we had enough time to rest but not to play full games like kickball or handball. My sister told me this game was also very popular in her recess. Although they were both similar, the lyrics are different. Today’s version is shown above while the one I did in elementary nine years ago goes as stated: Teddy bear, teddy bear touch the ground (touch the ground). Teddy bear, teddy bear turn around (spin in a circle). Teddy bear, teddy bear tie your shoe (touch your shoe). Teddy bear, teddy bear I love you. Then the song would repeat in a faster pace until one missed to jump the rope. My initial thought when I heard my sister’s version of the song was “How could a kid’s game be telling them to get out of school? And where did this version come from?”. I was shocked that the song would be telling a kid to get out of school. The kids might not be thinking about the actual meaning of the song, but when looking back to it, they are going to realize what they were saying.