Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Music Olympics!

Here in NC we RARELY get snow.. it's been 2 years since we have had a snow day.. well, woohoo.. got one today! Perfect timing as I've just come back to school from a medical leave (surgery 8 weeks ago.. final exclamation point on this past year of 4 surgeries and intense medical issues and emergencies! Yeehaw!). I've taught 2 whole days.. whew.. and now a snow day, then tomorrow (if we have a full day of school, which is in question because the high today is a whopping 28 degrees, we have an exploratory day and we have students going to a museum and visitors coming to do rotations in the afternoon, so no regular classes then, and back to a regular schedule Friday, Monday, and Tuesday, then a half day Wed. with Chinese New Year assembly that I run Wednesday AM so no regular music then either.. a fun 2 weeks being back at school! It's been so great to see the kids but my energy and my physical strength is not quite up to the task of my normal, so I have set up some rotations with the kinders. and first graders and the 2nd through 4th graders will be getting ready for Music Olympics in early February! Please email me at if you'd rather have this in powerpoint. I've given credit where I've found games/ideas from other sites.. if you see something you've developed or know an original source I didn't credit, PLEASE let me know. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Chinese New Year Dragon/Lion and Song

**UPDATE February 3, 2016.. check out this additional post for more activities to use with Chinese New Year or to learn about Chinese music and customs!

Chinese New Year is celebrated throughout Asia and is coming January 31 this year (2014)! It marks the Spring Festival throughout Asia and this year is the year of the horse! In a previous post last year I published a song here called "Xin Nian Kuai Le" which means "Happy New Year". VERY accessible! We celebrate Chinese New Year at our school but also in our home as our daughter, now 6, was born in China and adopted into our family at 18 months. She loves everything about China and we celebrate Chinese New Year and Autumn Moon Festival! At school we have a BIG assembly that is soooo much fun; complete with relay races, a noodle contest, the teachers participate in a fortune cookie eating contest and students stomp on bubble wrap to mimic the sounds of firecrackers. It is a fun celebration and the kids "get it" and understand the significant points of CNY (Chinese New Year) without worksheets, didactic instruction, or meaningless activities. We end the assembly with a fan dance performed by fourth graders and a dragon/lion dance. I taught this song while presenting at the Orff National Conference back in November and had to figure a way to inexpensively and easily constructed dragon that I could put at least 10-15 adults under. AND- I had to make it in a hotel room! So, here's what I came up with. It worked incredibly well and one lucky participant got to take it home. I wish I had pictures of the participants moving and dancing underneath it; pretty awesome!! The best part.. SIX DOLLARS!!!!!! For the WHOLE dragon/lion!

Valentine Candy Rhythms

I LOVE Target.. especially the dollar spot area! Found these oh-so-cute foam stickers and put them onto red cardstock then cut them into squares and added stickers on the back. Each package has 80 stickers!!! For $1.00!! Stickers are in two sizes. When I saw them, I thought, yippee.. eighth notes and quarter notes! Wahoo! Use these with a heart chart such as this one: I put about 10 of the hearts into a plastic bag and made 10 bags (the max number of students I have in a class is 20 and I have students work in pairs) and put all the bags in a large gallon size plastic bag along with instructions on the front. Students work in pairs to create a 4 or 8 beat rhythm using the words on the hearts; "Guess Who?" will be spoken as eighth notes and placed on a single heart, "Kiss" or "Hugs" is a quarter note and each heart rhythm will be placed on one heart (beat). Once a rhythm is created, students can practice speaking the words in rhythm and accompanying body percussion. The 4 or 8 beat rhythmic phrases could be written out in rhythmic notation, maybe played on unpitched percussion or on Orff instruments set up in a pentatonic key. I will use this as a B section to a Valentine song, perhaps "Do You Love Me?" from Gameplan, I think it's Grade 2. This would also be a great way to review iconic to actual rhythmic notation for eighths and quarter notes; each partner pair could speak their rhythm once, then play on drums or with drum sticks or chopsticks on the floor while internalizing words the second time. Have fun with them!