Sunday, August 24, 2014

Name Game Extension Idea for 1st/2nd Graders

I've been looking for a few new ideas for the first weeks of school.  I'm at a new school, so we'll be playing lots of name games up front for both the kids' sake and my own.  In the 1st grade Spotlight on Music series, I came across this:
I decided to incorporate it into my lesson for my 1st and 2nd graders.  Here's what we'll do:

Instrument Needs: Bell Tree or Chimes, Bass Xylophone

1.  The students should be seated in a circle.  Perform the piece for the students while keeping a pat-clap pattern (pats on beat 1, claps on beat 2).  Invite students to keep the beat like you are (review the term "steady beat" - at this point I would discuss that it is the steady, constant pulse of the music and show the students the corresponding vocabulary card - we also practice tapping over our hearts as we chant again).  I've changed the final words to "tell us your name when you hear this sound" while we are sitting.

2. When the children are confident with the lyrics and the pat-clap pattern, walk around the circle with the steady beat in your feet.  At the end of the song, stand behind a child and ring the bell tree/chimes (at this point you would discuss what the instrument is called, what type of sound it is, and what family of Orff instruments it is in). The child you are standing behind say their name and the class repeats it four times.

3.  Continue this until 1/3 to 1/2 of the class has said their name.  You can give your role of walking to the beat/ringing the bells to a student.

4.  Bring over the bass xylophone.  Label the instrument and have the students listen to the sound.  Then, establish a four beat ostinato (C-E-C-G) and chant the original lyrics (ask students to describe what words changed).  Have the students stand and keep your beat in their feet in place.  Once the beat is established, have the students add in the words of the original version.

5. Have the students keep the beat in their feet but use these motions (they can do this all around the room but be sure to set your expectations first - great way to get them used to "using the space in the music room correctly"):
     Hey children who's in town?  -  Look side to side as if using binoculars. (Turn right, left, right, left - keeping feet going)
     Everybody stop and look around.  -  Stop and march in place, turning side to side
     Hey children who's in town?  -  Look side to side as if using binoculars. (Turn right, left, right, left - keeping feet going)
     Tell us your name and then sit down.  - Students say this in a louder voice, march in place, and then on "down" they freeze and listen closely for the name you call.  If their name is called, the student sits down where they are - they become "hot lava" and cannot be stepped on by other students as the game continues.  "Hot lave" doesn't have hands, so the student must keep their hands in their laps (to avoid them tripping or touching others who are still playing the game).

6.  To extend this game, you could:  1) Choose a student to call names at the end of the piece   2) Allow a student who is "hot lava" to play an unpitched instrument on the steady beat a they sit   3) Allow a student to play the C-E-C-G ostinato on the bass xylophone - If you are playing this with older students, you could have them create ostinatos using student names to perform with body percussion during the song (such as E-mil-y - "ti-ti ta" - "pat-pat clap").

Word Wall

This year, I created my own, mostly color-coded, word wall (well, technically they are more like vocabulary cards).   I'm sure I'll create more as the years go on, but if you think these could help you, feel free to download them (for free) at my TPT store.  I printed them onto white cardstock, laminated them, and used mounting tape to hang them.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Rhythm Word Wall Freebie

Hello everyone!

This poor blog has been so neglected!  Last semester, I decided to mostly take a break from blogging.  My husband graduated med school and landed a residency in a different city so, needless to say, we were SUPER busy.

Thankfully, I was hired at an awesome school (my co-workers are so nice) in a wonderful district in my new city.  They actually have Orff and Kodaly organizations and I am so looking forward to joining those and sharing what I've learned with you guys on my blog!

However, for now, we are in teacher in-service all week and the students will be here soon. 

I've been trying to prepare my room ( ever did I get so much STUFF?!  I blame a lot of you with your awesome products on TPT).  I don't really have a lot of bulletin board space (more pics soon), so I've been trying to incorporate my awesome storage cabinets.

Here are some rhythm visuals I've created (although I need to add some sixteenth note variations, but you get the idea).  I'm thinking that as we learn/review them I'll write in how we say them ("ta" for example) and put star Post-It notes on the ones we are currently working on.  Plus, I can easily point/snatch one off the wall to discuss with the students:

If you'd like to have these for yourself, download the here for free! 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Listening Activities for Spring

Here are two of my favorite listening activities for Spring (one for K-2 and one for 3-5):

The first goes with "Flight of the Bumblebee" and I've used it with 1st grade (I think it would work K-2).  They are also working on the song "Bee Bee" (you can find a powerpoint lesson for this song here):

I like to use this video below (obviously for visual effect - kiddos love checking this out and they are very observant, such as "blue is the low pitch"  "the large shapes are longer sounds" etc):

First, I have the students listen quietly and try to decide what the song might be about (they can follow along to the video).
After the first listening, I ask them to discuss what they think it is about with their partner.  Then, we discuss as a class and I label it as "flight of the bumblebee" (I have a bee mask that I believe I found at Michael's and I put that on - hilarious).
For the second listening, I ask them questions about the dynamic level and tempo.  We discuss this also.
On the third listening, I select three "flowers" (I have them hold stuffed flowers that I believe they currently have at Target or you can buy them from Oriental Trading).  My 1st graders totally know all about bees and we pause here to talk about them and how flowers and bees relate to one another.  The students watch as I "fly" around the room (flapping short wings) and then "pollinate" (fly to a flower and hover by them).
So the rules for the kiddos are:
* no sounds so we can listen to the music and teacher instructions
* bees must "fly" when they hear the teacher say "fly" and "pollinate" as soon as they here "pollinate"
* never pick the same flower twice (we only do this for about 60 sec of the song or so) so that no flower feels left out
* bees can fly quickly but they cannot run - we don't want anyone getting hurt
On repetitions:
* choose new flowers who must say a fact about bees or discuss something they heard in the song
* use new versions of the song as they play (we really like this one:)

Listening and Movement Lesson: “Minute in A Major” by Boccherini

BACKGROUND INFO (write on board for students to see - I include his picture also)
Composer: Luigi Boccherini
Dates: 1743-1805
Title: Minuet in A Major from String Quartet in E, Op 13 No 5
Fact 1: Boccherini played the cello.
Fact 2: Boccherini wrote lots of string quartets.
Fact 3: Boccherini was born in Italy but spent most of his life in Spain.

CONCEPTS/VOCABULARY (write on vocab cards - see picture below for example)
3/4 meter
String Family

(I like this version):

1.      Discuss the facts about Boccherini (write on the board with his picture posted).
2.      Listen to the song – have students keep only the downbeat pulse – as they listen show the major and minor vocab cards (at the appropriate time) and discuss the string family (specifically what members make up the string quartet)
3.      Listen again – ask the students “do you feel that the beats are grouped in twos or threes” (stand and move if needed) – once the question has been answered, keep the 3/4 pulse (alternating places for each measure - we lightly tap top of hand then near elbow)
4.      Create a large circle (without scarves) and complete the following movement:
a.      A section: Walk clockwise around the circle stepping on the downbeat only, beginning with the left foot (on repeat go counter-clockwise)
b.      B section: stand and face middle of the circle – spread arms upward twice and downward twice
c.       Complete entire form of the song: AABABA
5.      Discuss the term “anacrusis” – pointing out to the students that the music began before we moved to the first downbeat
6.      Try the same movement with scarves (weaving in to the circle " in, two, three" and then out "out two three" with whatever arm is facing outside of the circle)
7.      Discuss the form of the music (students decode this) then write on board
8.      Move in small circles (four small circles around hula-hoops works best) and perform the movement in small groups (if scarf color and hula-hoop color match, awesome - if the students wear the same color as the scarf and hula-hoop - you've got a program dance on your hands)

Extension: They can fill out a listening recommendation such as this one below (you can find out more about this worksheet by clicking on the picture below)

I hope you find these ideas helpful - give them a try :)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Captain, Go Sidetrack Your Train

Here's a rhythm activity I'm planning to use with my 5th graders (we're working on recorder and syncopa):

The students create their own rhythms and then improvise a melody on E-G-A-B on the recorder.  This creates a "B" section for the orffestration and movement we use with the song:

In this download at my TPT store, you'll find the printables you see above, lots of tempo vocabulary word printables, thorough slides for teaching the song, movement game instructions, full orffestrations, and 3 mini-lessons (with explicit instructions).  Check it out!

Sunday, February 9, 2014


In the past I've struggled with explaining "syncopa".  I mean, sure the kids understand what to call it and they understand the short-long-short feeling of it, but do they really understand all the components and how they indeed last two beats?  Yikes!

So, this is a silly way I've created to explain it (I can't get the picture to not go sideways, sorry! - and of course, being the Kodaly person I am, the students have already experienced the feel of syncopa, they were prepared, it just hadn't been presented yet):
First, I lay-out the quarter note heart and eighth note pair heart.  I ask the students, "Which heart has one sound on a beat?" (quarter note)  and "Which heart has two sounds on a beat?" (eighth note pair).  "How many beats do you see now?" (two) and "How many sounds do we have?" (three)  "Well, one day the quarter note was hanging out with his friends the eighth note pair.  The eighth note pair always went somewhere together - they were best friends - BFFs.  In fact, the quarter note had never seen them apart.  Today, however, as he approached, he heard the eighth note pair arguing.  It seemed they had grown tired of hanging out all the time and need a little break from each other.  They were getting pretty upset (at this point I take out the pink heart with the eighth notes, separate or "break" it, and put the quarter note in between them), so the quarter note decided to get in the middle of their argument to try to help them out."  Then I ask the students "How many beats do we see?" (two)  "How many sounds do we see?" (three)  "Where does the longest sound occur?" (in the middle)  We chant it saying "ti-ta-ti" and do a pat-clap-pat body percussion with it.  Then, I say "The quarter note helped the eighth note pair realize that they need a little bit of a break from each other.  The three of them walked around in this order and decided that they liked this arrangement.  Maybe they could stay this way and become something else all together?"  (At this point I bring out the syn-co-pa hearts).  "Look, its a new rhythm called syn-co-pa!"  We chant syn-co-pa and use pat-clap-pat.  Then I ask "How many beats make-up syncopa?" (two)  "How many sounds make up syncopa?" (three)  "Where do the short and long sounds occur?" (short-long-short).  "How many eighth notes make up syn-co-pa?" (two)  "How many quarter note are in syncopa?" (one)

I like to use syncopa around Valentine's day because of the heart analogy (the hearts are currently available at Target in the $1 section) and because there are so many cute Valentine's Day songs that use syncopa.  I found this song at  Amy Abbott's blog last year.  Here's how I plan to have my students dictate the rhythm this year:

The students can see that "syn-co-pa" doesn't fall exactly on the beats like the quarter note and half note do.

Rhythm PIzzas

My 3rd grade students are currently learning about fractions in their math classes.  I thought that this might be a way to help them with this topic while teaching music.  This would be really cute paired with "Pizza, Pizza Daddy-O".
In the past I had students create their own pizzas and I'm thinking they could do this also, but this time we'll cut out the slices and do some addition/subtraction problems together (such as - a half note plus a quarter note plus two eighth notes) to create rhythms to read and perform.

Students can also play the rhythms on orff instruments while other students move to them (they love this and I usually use tubano drums set up in a circle with the "dancers" in the middle):
Whole Note: step once and stretch out body
Half Note: hop twice
Quarter Note: walk four steps
Eighth Note: jog eight steps
Sixteenth Notes: tip-toe run for 16 steps (this is our favorite)
 ****A student could hold up a pizza so the others know what to move/play***

Lots of ideas swirling around but I would appreciate your suggestions on how to incorporate fractions.  I've seen some cool ideas with legos too ;)