Friday, August 30, 2013

Dancing Bears Song

My junior kindergarten students learn about bears in the fall and I'm always trying to come up with some new songs and activities to enhance their studies of bears. Of course, I came across a poem called "Dancing Bears" but didn't like the words or the rhythm so I came up with this: Late at night, the moon is bright (X X X X) Bears are dancing in the light (X X X X) Round the circle here they go, they're bear-y hairy, bear-y slow (X....) Bear-y funny dancing bears. (X X X X) The X's are where students clapped for 4 beats, then we transferred that to triangles. The "X...." after "slow" in the third line is where we played a roll on the triangle. I played a simple bordun on the Orff instruments and they loved it.. giggles galore! Melody is as follows: Sharing instruments the first few times is tricky; helping them to understand that we have to share and take turns, etc. I set up the triangles as pictured (the line yellow and blue line is a stretchy band and creates a barrier so we know not to run over and pick up instruments to play). Then I create partners and demonstrate with one group of partners how one partner sits in front and one in back. I use a funny nonsense poem or nursery rhyme that is 8 beats long and speak it rhythmically. Whenever I speak this, students know (through my highest grades) that they have to switch. We use this system whenever we share instruments and it makes switching fun and quick (8 beats long). Be consistent with whatever you use; I use one poem with JrK and Kindergarten, add another to the repertoire in first grade, etc. They LOVE this!!! Once I have demonstrated how to switch with one partner group, I ask partners to go to a particular color and I choose who goes in front and who goes behind. Once they are there, I tell them they can play as loud/fast as they want to for 5 seconds and I hold up five fingers, then four, etc. until I have a closed fist. Then we practice switching and I give the partners a time to play also. PLAY is important; not only to play when we tell them to, but to explore making sound; it is the beginning of improvisation.. noisy, chaotic, but soooo important!! And FUN! Once they have learned how to do this, I take the spots away: We only do spots 2-3 times, then they've got it figured out! Happy end of the first week for most of you.. I'm ending my second week! Wahoo.. long weekend.. :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Jungle Rhythm

I started work on this project a couple weeks ago before school started and I wanted a jungle themed project for my fourth graders to review rhythms, specifically sixteenth eighth, eighth sixteenth, and sixteenth note rhythm patterns. Our school has a jungle theme this year... hence the rainforest/jungle words. There are a few pages of words or create your own. I used "Kingthings Annex" font to create the ones here. Free to download from several sites. Create your own jungle rhythms, print, laminate, and cut apart. Save and print off the accompanying page and then have students create 4 or 8 beat rhythmic phrases to drum, play on UPP (unpitched percussion), or Orff instruments/boomwhackers in a pentatonic key. Could be used as contrasting sections to a book about the jungle or to "Jungle Beat" chant from Lyn Kleiner's Jungle Beat book.. catchy syncopated rhythm, fun to drum. Lots of ways you could use this; I hope you find a few!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Rhythm and Melody Activity Powerpoint FREE on TpT

I don't usually post twice in one day, but I know most of you are starting school next week (I'm just finishing my first week!!) and so I wanted to get this out... just finished it! I found some AMAZING clip art (web address included in ppt.) that was free using the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle. In the spirit of sharing and since the lovely clip art was free, the powerpoint is also free! Hope you enjoy and you can find some ways to use the activities in your classroom this year! One of my favorite books!!! Click HERE

Rhythm Quiz, Quiz, Trade

I came across the idea of Quiz, Quiz, Trade on another teachers blog and loved it! The idea is that you take a concept children can show to each other and they partner up, show each other the item and "quiz" each other. Today I tried it out and it's AWESOME! Great way for the kids to self-assess and assess each other without the pressure of the teacher assessing. :) Here's what I used: I gave one strip of rhythm to each student as they were coming in and then explained they were to partner up and partner A would read the rhythm partner B was holding up, then partner B would read the rhythm partner A was holding up. If they couldn't remember how to read the rhythm they could ask questions of their partner or neighbor. Then, once the rhythms were performed correctly, they would trade rhythm strips and find a new partner. This could be used for instrument families, names, dynamics, tempo markings; pretty much any concept!! The kids loved the change in reading rhythms when they first came in and I loved that they enjoyed the fast paced review!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

First 3 days.. WAHOO.. half of the first week done!

Silly me.. I always forget how much energy it takes to teach.. the first week is sooo tough! Thank goodness that there are only 2 days left this week! The great news is that I have seen all my students for the first time so starting tomorrow we can dig deep! One truly fun activity I do with the kids every year is something I learned when student teaching and I have since modified a gazillion times; "Knees-a-knees-a-pizza-pie". It's a great steady beat "warm-up" activity! I use this with junior kindergarten and kindergarten classes at the beginning of each class and it sets a great tone! Ahhhhh (glissando low to high while raising both hands from knees to overhead) Repeat each of the following and then while performing the action that goes with it, say "take it to your..." and then you move to the next body part. Knees a knees a pizza pie, a knees a knees a pizza pie (pat hands on knees to the steady beat) then say, "take it to your..." Head, head, don't break your bed (repeat) (pat your head with both hands).. then "take it to your..." Heeps, heeps (repeat for total of 8 beats)(touch both hips with hands and say this in a high squeaky voice, then "take it to your.." Nose a nose a nobody knows (repeat) (touch hands one a time to the nose), then.. take it ... Tummy, yummy, yummy, yummy (repeat) (tap hands on tummy, left, then right hand, etc... Eyes, eyes, blink your eyes, then say, "ADD YOUR MOUTH" and make kissy sounds to the beat, then say, "ADD YOUR NOSE" and wrinkle your nose.. do this with eyebrows.. lift and lower eyebrows.. etc. You can add lots of body parts.. teeth, tongue (students love to click their tongues). Students also LOVE and laugh hilariously when I make a "mistake"; which means I make an INTENTIONAL mistake.. saying "take it to your head..." and patting my tummy instead... this takes a little practicing but it is SO fun!!! Enjoy!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tour de Room...

So here's the tour of the room... several storage ideas from Pinterest.. I am so tempted to get rid of my desk since I started using the shoe storage thing for the usual suspects found in the drawers of the desk. I also really like the paint stir sticks as dividers for my books.. this works SO well! We are in the midst of the jungle this year so you'll see a bit of vines and leaves.. or at least my interpretation of such! Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Bring it ON!!! It Starts Tomorrow!

It's 7:42 and I'm watching TV and enjoying the winding down of another day and looking forward to the newness of another school year starting tomorrow. Every summer at my school (an independent, AKA private school just outside Charlotte, NC), our faculty read a book. Sometimes it's a good choice; OK, not earth shattering but confirming that we are moving in the right direction as a school, and sometimes, it's a GREAT read. This year was, for me, a GREAT read; What the Best College Students Do. For me, as a teacher in the creative art of music, I LOVE reading books that affirm and encourage creativity in all aspects of learning. This book does exactly that! I am excited about the many hugs, smiles, and discussions about summer travels and activities tomorrow. I look forward to hearing about our new year ahead; the changes, the work we will engage in as a community of teachers and learners. I look forward to facilitating a drum circle with our faculty Tuesday to further work on Adaptive Expertise and to create a musical piece with them. I look forward to a fresh start and all that comes with it. Happy New (School) Year!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

First Day of School MAKE MUSIC!!!

I often see posts on other teachers blogs about how they "talk" a lot the first day of school. WHY? Why not make MUSIC the first day in the music room and accomplish two goals; learning the rules AND creating some cool sounds? I posted this last year and it was something my kids really loved; I don't do this with all grades but it's a great way to reinforce/review quarter note/eighth note concepts! Here's the original post from last year: So this year I decided to "do" my rules a little differently than in the past. I HATED those simple discussions/creations/posting of the "rules of the music room". AFter all, by the time the kids come to music, they've had rules in their classroom, the library, PE, computer, Spanish, art, Science Lab, and now music. Ick and Ugh! So... with the older students (grades 3 and 4), the first thing we did was a name activity and song, then reviewed rhythms (quarter, eighth, quarter rests) using Artie Almeida's Chair Rhythms- which is so fun! AND then We practiced saying each slide in rhythm and then assigned a body percussion to each; first page/rule/rhythm: Stomp Second: Pat Third: Clap Fourth: Snap Practice each then divide the class into 4 groups; one for each rule. Practice with body percussion, layer in parts, groups join after 4 beats of the previous rhythm/rule, add conducted dynamics, breaks, whatever.. my classes had a blast!! Transfer body percussion to UPP: stomp= African drums, Pat= woods, Clap= Metals, Snap= shakers. Layer in parts, add dynamics, cresc./dimin., breaks... etc. It was a BLAST and got the kids to remember the rules, play the rules, and make some interesting music together the VERY FIRST day! Not to mention that it took a BIG chunk of the class period which is always satisfying to end up with a "piece" to play at the end of class! Here is the powerpoint:


Enjoy! Oh- and yes, "listener" has 3 syllables but I used 2 quarter notes as I thought that fit best how we speak the word. To separate it correctly seemed strange musically speaking!