Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Snowmen Pentatonic Songs

Ok, after kid-testing them and printing them out/laminating myself, I'm putting up these cute little snowmen.

If you download the PowerPoint, Pentatonic Snowmen Activity you'll see how I plan to use them.

Enjoy :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Music Interactive Notebook Pages - Tempos, Dynamics, and Articulations

I use these pages in my students' interactive notebooks. Often, when listening to a piece, the students are able to use these as a reference.  They are also available on our Word Wall.

Another way to use these is to print them out, laminate them, cut them up, and put them in a ziplock baggie. As students listen to a piece, they can select terms that they feel describe the piece.

Students can also quiz each other, such as asking a partner to say the Italian word for quiet (piano) or ask for the definition of a word.

The more practice, the better.  You can download these here, for free: Music Interactive Notebook Pages

Hope these are helpful!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Snowman Melodic Activity

I'm hesitant to share this because I haven't "tested" it out yet in my classroom.  I just thought of it after looking at a bulletin board down the fourth grade hallway.  The teacher had used the three colors of the candy corns to have students write numbers in 3 different ways.

I think my 3rd and 4th graders would do well with such a project.  I'm working on getting them to see how songs are created, and how everything we are learning is incorporatedSo I created these cute snowmen.  Here's my plan for how to use them:

Lesson 1:
Project the song for the students.
Read the lyrics of Line 1.  Chant the rhythms on syllables.  Clap the rhythm while saying the text.  Sing the melody using Curwen hand-signs.  Sing the melody on the correct lyrics.
Repeat the above step for Lines 2-4.
The students sing the entire “song” (all the lines in order).
Divide the students into four group.  Assign each group a line to sing.  Switch lines until each group has sang each part.
Optional: Distribute laminated copies of the bars of the G pentatonic scale to the students.  Assign each group a line to figure out on the keyboard.  The students “play” the bars by using “air mallets”.
Assign each group a line to play on a metalophone (or any keyboards you have available).
Lesson 2:
Print out and laminate the snowmen, making as many copies as you want.  For easy storage, I'll store the components in a gallon zip-lock bag, with the instruction page stapled to the front of the bag.
Have blank snowmen  and pencils ready for students that finish early.  Students will need to glue their snowman on a blue construction paper, indicate their name, a dynamic level (piano, mezzo forte, or forte) a tempo (andante - allegro), and a pitched instrument (glock, xylophone, metalophone).
I think these will work out and be quite cute to put on a bulletin board/take home to decorate the fridge.  Sometimes I wish I taught art...oh well.
If you read this and have an idea or suggestion, let me know.  I don't think I'll use them until early December. 

Holiday Rhythm Folder Games - Kinder/First

I tried out "Gingerbread Rhythms" with my students yesterday and they loved it!  My mind was whirling about other ways to extend this activity.  I'm thinking we could dictate the rhythms using popscicle sticks or even use a worksheet where the students log four favorite rhythms to share with the class (composition).

And of course, I created more variations.  We now how "South Pole Rhythms" ("ice" and "penguins"), "Starry Rhythms" ("star" and "angel"), Reindeer Rhythms ("sleigh" and "reindeer"), and "Gifts of Rhythm" ("elf" and "presents").

You can get the games here: Holiday Rhythm Folder Games

Friday, November 16, 2012

Gingerbread Man Rhythms

I know some schools do a "gingerbread man" hunt around the holidays.  I'm not sure what all it entails, but I do know that little kinders will stop by my room and ask me if I've seen their gingerbread man.

So, I created...GUESS WHAT?  A folder game.  The students match the rhythm pattern to the correct gingerbread people pattern.  I will follow these steps with my Kinder and 1st graders:

1. Model/example: As a class, we complete a pattern together (I draw a gingerbread people pattern on the board and we match it with the correct symbols).  First, we say "gin-ger" on the 8th note pairs and "bread" on the quarter notes.  Then, we match each rhythm.  We then chant the rhythm using "ta" and "titi".  Then, the students pantomime using rhythm sticks to say and play the rhythm.

2. Break into smaller groups (For kinder, they will do these in pairs around a circle.  For first, they will do this in their group stations).

3. Students say each pattern on "gin-ger" or "bread"

4.  Students match the correct rhythm to each pattern.  (Teacher walks around to check/help)

5.  Students say the rhythm pattern on "ta" or "titi".

6.  Students play each rhythm on a rhythm stick, placing each one back in their bag as they go.

You can download the game here: Gingerbread Rhythms

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mi-For Sale-So-La on the Floor Staff

Last year, after I discovered Pinterest, I made a floor staff from a white shower curtain. I love it!  We use it all the time for various things.

Here's a snap-shot from today. My students were working on Mi-So-La. We use "Music Street" when learning about solfa.  Here's a few questions I ask them:
1. Why do Mi and So have the same color door and roof? (They are copycats.)
2. What do you mean by copycats? (They both live on lines)
3. What if I move So to a space? (Mi will move to the space below it)
4. Why is La's roof and door brown? (It does not copycat Mi and So)
5. How do you know it doesn't copycat them? (It is living on a space while Mi and So are on lines)
6. What if I move So to a space? (La will live on the line above it)
7. What's up with that for sale sign? (There is a pitch in between So and Mi, but we aren't ready to learn it just yet)
8. Who will that For Sale pitch copycat when we learn it? (La)
9. Which pith is lowest? (Mi)
10. Which is highest? (La)
11. Which pitch that we are using right now, is in the middle? (So)
12. We can use these pitches to create...(melodies)

Then, we talk about melodic movement:
1. Repeats: La to La, So to So, Mi to Mi
2. Steps: So to La, La to So
3. Skips: Mi to So, So to Mi
4. Leaps: Mi to La La to Mi
We also discuss the terms "ascending" and "descending".  We change keys.  Each movement we figure out, we also sing with handsigns many times.

Using the students as "pitch/house" holders, I move one of the pitches around the staff and the students figure out where the others live. For the first few tries we use the "For Sale" sign, then we don't.

I'll also put Mi on say, line one, the. Ask, "Who can show me an ascending skip?" And a student will place Sol on line 2.

We do this exercise or part of it, for weeks during our warm-up time. Not  only are students moving, displaying their knowledge, and using advanced vocabulary, most of them are able to effectively transition this knowledge to real music on the staff.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Mi - So - La Lesson Bundle

Here's another bundle of lessons I've been working on: Mi So La Lesson Bundle.  This set is designed for my 1st graders, although I use some of the lessons with 2nd grade as well.  Each "lesson" is centered around one song, so, depending on how long your classes are, they most likely aren't complete "lessons" - just what i refer to as the "meat".  In a complete lesson, I usually have a warm-up activity, some review activity/song for fun/song that we'll use later to extract learning material from, movement/game activity, wrap-up activity, etc.

I love writing my own little songs, especially if I need one specific to a season.  This year, I wrote "Winter's Here" and a little partner song to go with it:

When the chilly wind slows,                                 
And the storm moves past,                                  
I'll catch little snowflakes;
Winter's here at last!

I love partner songs.  In choir, I use them all the time to develop their confidence as we learn two part music.  This is my second year at this particular school, and, after working a partner song with the choir, I thought - "I really need to start them on this younger."  My 2nd graders eagerly eat up songs with multiple parts, especially when I am performing one part while they try another.

What winter partner songs do you use?

One, Two, Three, Four, Five - Mi-Sol-La song

In addition to the Do pentatonic scale, I'm also working on some Mi-Sol-La lessons for my younger students.  Here's one I adapted from the song, "One, Two, Three, Four, Five" from the Spotlight on Music series.

You can download it HERE for free.  The lesson plan explains everything!

Complete Pentatonic Unit

Ah, more pentatonic scale stuff.  This has taken me forever to compile!  I'm now finished and I'd love for you to check it out and let me know what you think!  I've already started using it with my 3rd graders (and most of the songs I've used previously).

Do Pentatonic Unit - in this unit, I've included lots of great Do pentatonic-based lessons in different keys (C, D, F, G).  I've also included Power Points (love them) for each lesson, worksheets, folder games, "just for fun" activities, interactive notebook pages - basically everything I use.  I love really in-depth interactive lessons, where the students read the music, make the music, dance/play a game to the music, do a worksheet/group assignment about the music, play instruments with the music - a real well-rounded approach.

 Here is an example from my Power Point.  I love using the old "food substitute" for Orff bars.
 This is a slide from the song "Rocky Mountain".  I love clicking to add the solfege labels after the students have figured it out themselves.

As an extension for "Rocky Mountain" each group is assigned a verse.  The students match the lyrics to one of the four melody patterns.  After I've checked it, the students glue down the lyrics.  Then, they get to create their own original movements to their verse to teach the rest of the class.

For "Great Big House" (a very popular song to use) I've also added four Orff orchestration parts.  Luckily, my husband is on-hand to sing a few as I double-check whether or not I like them!

Since I see my students twice a week, the unit is a two-month long duration for me.  I also add in some "festive songs" (such as my turkey group games below) as we go.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thanksgiving Speech-to-Melody Piece

All my classes are divided into four groups.  I can't tell you how well this works - they can make four small-group circle, four lines in front of the projector, or a four-sided square we mold into a circle.

So, it isn't a surprise that, when I wrote this Thanksgiving speech-to-melody piece, I wrote four parts.  I used a similar piece with my 2nd graders (using Mi, Sol, and La).  This one is Do pentatonic-based (of course) although there isn't a "Re" in the piece.  I use it for 3rd (we look at everything - the structure, the rhythms, the pitches on the staff, etc) and 4th/5th (review/just for fun and also a composition extension - I ask each group to come up with a new four-beat pattern for us to use).

I have a whole plan of action, but basically we chant the lyrics, add unpitched instruments (see below), sing the lyrics, then add pitched instruments (I use metalophones, they sound more "festive").

Line 1: hand drums
Line 2: jingle bells
Line 3: wood blocks
Line 4: rhythm sticks

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fall Bulletin Boards

I love bulletin boards.  If I run out of space, it goes on the wall somewhere.

These two are the latest.  The first one has songs first grade created, "Fall Leaves Song".  They had so much fun making their own song, singing it, and then playing it on the xylophones (we estimated the melodic directions).  On the side of the bulletin board is a pile of leaves (that start with the whole note then down to the sixteenth notes) and a rake (it looks terrible, I know).

The second includes two assignments I used with 4th graders before we went to see the symphony.  The Instrument Family Turkeys are too cute.  The students also completed an assignment about their favorite instruments.  On the little blue sign, they included "Tweets" about the symphony, using great descriptions such as "unique", "elegant", and "excellent".  Next week, they'll be using the Instrument Family Folder Games to review their knowledge of the instruments.

Gotta love the fire extinguisher - what a nice touch!

Thanksgiving-Themed Pentatonic Games

Gobble-gobble!  I'm definitely getting into the Thanksgiving season.

My 3rd graders are reviewing the do pentatonic scale.  I created two "turkey" themed games for them to use as station activities.

The first game is a folder game (I SIMPLY LOVE THESE - easy to store, clean-up, and reuse).  In "Turkey Tunes", the students match melody cards (Do-Re-Mi-La) to the correct melody on the staff.  When they finish, they identify repeats, steps, skips, and leaps.

The second is a poster game.  In "Tuneful Turkeys" the students whack the correct turkey after reading a melody pattern on the staff.  We use hand-clappers I found at Dollar Tree.  Built in applause, hahaha.

You can download the games here: Thanksgiving Pentatonic Games

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pentatonic Practice Folder Game

I love folder games!  They make great station activities.  I usually make about 2-3 per each group of 6-8 kids.  I use a zip-lock bag stapled to the folder to keep the houses in.

I made this Pentatonic Practice Game for my 3rd graders.  The pitches are houses because I use "Music Street" (a Kodaly teaching tool) when teaching the solfege members.  On a bulletin board, I have Do Re Mi For Sale (Fa) Sol La.  Students also have this in their Interactive Notebook.  As the "door" of each house, I have a list of facts about the house (For Example: Mi copies Do.  Mi also copies Sol.  Mi is a lower pitch.)  Using the houses on the staff helps students transfer that knowledge from the bulletin board to practical sight-reading skills.

I label Do, Mi, and Sol as copycats because, if one lives on line or space, so do all the others.  That's why Mi and Sol are red.  Do is white because he's "The President" - he tells the other pitches where to live (When the students are older - it is a great way to help them understand "keys").  Re and La are both blue because they copycat each other.  Next time, I'm going to have Do, Mi, Sol have black roofs and Re, La have brown roofs.  (I need to make ones for CM, FM, and GM).

The students can also practice the terms: step, skip, leap, repeat, ascending, descending.
I explain it to the students this way:
1. Ascending: movement up music street
2. Descending: movement down music street
3. Repeat: remaining on the same house or pitch (Do to Do)
4. Step: moving from one house/pitch to the one next door (Do to Re)
5. Skip: moving from one house/pitch to another with one house in between (Do to Mi)
6. Leap: moving from one house/pitch to another with more than one house in between (Re to La)
The students really understand this, and it helps later when we identify movement in real musical examples.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Bow Wow Wow Lessons 2 and 3

I'm moving on to the Do Pentatonic Scale with my 3rd graders.  This step is so important as this scale is the basis for TONS of folk song activities.  It is also great for using Orff keyboards, so for me, these units go hand in hand (we use the keyboards quite frequently, but as we learn the pentatonic scale, I set all of them out).  I love to use the suggestions in Almedia's Mallet Madness (so worth the price - you can check out more of it here).

I'm working on a huge Zip file of my pentatonic unit (5-6 lessons, tons of Power Points, folder games, group activities, and worksheets) but that's going to take a while.

So, today I'm uploading a group of 3 lessons for the song "Bow Wow Wow".
Bow wow wow
Whose dog art thou?
Little Tommy Tucker's dog
Bow, wow, wow

This song is in G pentatonic (so you'll have to remove your Cokes - C and Fries - F from your Orff instruments) which is great because, much later, we can play it on the recorder.  It also reviews basic rhythms (quarter note, quarter rest, eighth note pair).

I teach the song in three separate lessons.
1. Lesson 1 - Students are introduced to the lyrics, then match the correct rhythm to each lyric using body percussion.  Afterward, they complete their own rhythmic composition worksheet.  I love completing worksheets together, especially ones where we cut and glue, because it lends itself to circle-time discussions.  Students get to share their work with others.  I never hear, "Ugh, not another worksheet."
2.  Lesson 2 - Students review the lyrics/rhythms then add pitches (not yet on the music staff).  They also add a movement to the song.
3.  Lesson 3 - Students add the pitches to the music staff.  They also add Orff instrument ostinatos (that you can sing as well - squeak in those two-part experiences).

You can check out Lesson 1 for free on my TPT site - just scroll down to a previous post about it.  If you like the format, Lesson 2 and 3 are now available here.

I'm working on similar structures for other Pentatonic songs, such as Bluebird and Great Big House.  I'm also thinking about composing some Pentatonic Thanksgiving songs.  Do you know of any?


Friday, November 2, 2012

Instrument Family Turkeys

My 4th graders will attend a local symphony performance next week.  In order to get them ready, instruments have been on the brain!

Last night, I thought of the game "pin the tail on the donkey" only, I intend to make four large poster-sized turkeys (Strings, Brass, Percussion, Woodwinds).  Each student will get an instrument and will have to pin it on the correct turkey.

In order to get them ready, the students do some group activities and even complete a worksheet about their favorite instruments (I'll post this stuff soon).  I also came up with a mini-Instrument Family Turkey Activity for them to complete as a group.  You can download it here for free: Instrument Family Turkeys

Have fun!  These look too cute!