Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Three Things Link Up

I am linking up with Aileen Miracle at Mrs. Miracle's Music Room for a linky party in which music teacher bloggers write about three things that have worked in our classrooms.

I just got back from Spring Break in Phoenix, Arizona and, wow, love that place!  I also have really fallen in love with cacti, especially saguaro cactus, which grow everywhere near where my parents have a winter home. They live in the Sonoran desert, one of the few places these lovely creatures live.  They are funny and each one is so incredibly different; it's like they have their own personalities!
This is snap I took our last evening.. gorgeous sunset, but I really love black and white, too, and as I was shooting, a cowboy came right into my frame. Lucky for me!


1.  Listen to the Rain

In Arizona, they have been without rain since January so I think there is a bit of rain dancing going on, which led me to this post about the book, "Listen to the Rain" by Bill Martin and John Archambault.

 Available  here from Amazon.com.  My students love this lesson and it's a great one for talking about mood!  Enjoy.. and hope you are having a green spring! 

2.  Spring Bunny and Chick Rhythms

Wandering through Target a few weeks ago and I came across the cutest eraser packs with bunnies and chicks.  I have a bit of a collection of these as Target puts these out seasonally in their "Dollar Spot".  I have pumpkins, Frankensteins, candy corn, flowers, and other seasonal goodies to create word chain rhythms.  Yesterday my first graders were loving these little guys!

I was in the process of making a printable when I was on one of my facebook pages and Erica S. posted the one pictured!  She had such overwhelming response to everyone wanting it that she made it a freebie on TpT and offered an optional Notebook file for purchase.  You can get the freebie and file here.  Thanks, Erica!!! On the front of the page you notice 5 rhythms the children can write.  For the super achievers, on the back there are 10 more! Woohoo!! No, "I'm done, now what?".  My students were given about 7 minutes to complete 5 and most everyone got 5 and several went beyond!! Woot Woot!!!  They were then figuring out what they could use at home to make more rhythms.. can you say "flower/grass" or "Star Wars/Luke" or "cookie/milk"?  They were so funny! 
We began the 30 minute lesson using the book, "Bling Blang".  CUTE!  We used the basic outline found here for the activity, prepped students on movement first, sat and looked at book and did hammer and saw movement, then stood with a partner and performed hammer/saw movement with partners, walked to the beat (played softly on drum) during the verses.  I whispered "find new partner" a few beats before the chorus began again.  One note about partners; my students have many partnering opportunities but I always review the rules; the first person that asks you/that you ask is your partner.  We talk about hurt feelings if someone leaves you for a "better opportunity" and to always show respect and kindness. If two people ask at the same time they "rock/paper/scissors shoot, one and done unless it's a tie".  We then played Salami (Sol La Mi) game, then I had them find the beat while I played "There's Music in a Hammer" from Grade 1 Gameplan, pg. 83.  We sang the song, walked the beat, then hopped the beat like a bunny.  Why a bunny?  Cats like to chase critters, and bunnies and chicks are cute critters, which led us into the writing activity.  Students each picked up 3 bunnies and 3 chicks (no chances for all "Ta's/Ti-Ti's!!".  Ha!! The room was so quiet as they were each writing and whispering/tapping their rhythms.  GREAT fun!  If we had more time I would have had them partner up and create 2 rhythms to perform as a word chain to create alternating "B"sections with the song.  Oh, time... such an enemy, isn't it??

3.  Avocado Hand Clapping Game

My kids have been obsessed with this game this year; it started when we returned to school in August and one of our students had learned this game from a cousin. It spread like wildfire with crazy lunch time battles of Avocado.. so much that some teachers banned the kids from playing it at lunch!!
This will be included in my new book, we are in the editing process right now!  My last book was hand clapping games from around the world, available here from Beatin' Path Publications.  The new book will be available soon, also from Beatin' Path and will be all North American games and songs, some with Latin American roots, but all in English! 

Palm Push – Own palms facing each other, thumbs and fingertips touching, quickly flip palms down and out away from body, push palms out towards partner

Game continues until someone makes a mistake in the clapping game; the person who made the mistake is either called “avocado” for 10 minutes, or they choose a new name from the letter they made a mistake on; “L”; they could be called “Lily”, “Lucy”, Leon”, etc. for the next 10 minutes.

Teacher Tip:  It will make more sense with the palm push to think of it as an extension of the “clap own” so that once you clap your own hands you keep the fingertips and thumbs together and push the palm out towards partner.  My students can’t get enough of this game and the upper elementary students love it!


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Dancing and Singing to Ireland

I blogged just a few days ago about several songs and activities I use for St. Patrick's day and here are a couple others!

1.  The Rakes of Mallow or "Irish Stew"

The music is from the Rhythmically Moving CD's and Kriske and DeLelles have a version of this in Book 2 of Gameplan.  The version of the dance my students use is a "mashup" of theirs along with some other moves!



Partners side by side in a circle, holding a pair of rhythm sticks.


Walk forward clockwise for 8 beats, heel, toe, tap, tap, tap ( qq n q ), heel, toe, tap, tap, tap ( qq n q ), turn and walk forward counter clockwise for 8 beats, heel, toe, tap, tap, tap ( qq n q ), heel, toe, tap, tap, tap ( qq n q ). Say, "Forward, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, heel, toe, tap, tap, tap, heel, toe, tap, tap, tap".  
Heel, toe:  One heel on the floor with toes sticking up, take the same foot and tap the toe on the floor in front of other foot. Next heel and toe use the opposite foot.  To simplify, say, "jump, jump" in place of "heel, toe".


Click sticks 4 beats (sword fight!) with partner, stir (make a stirring motion to stir your Irish Stew) 4 beats, do-si-do 8 beats repeat by turning to opposite and perform with neighbor.

2.  The Rattlin' Bog

I was introduced to this song a long time ago as a child by my favorite Maine musicians, Schooner Fare, and still LOVE it!  The version I use in the classroom is much faster, as each verse speeds up dramatically and it is beloved even by my fourth graders!  This is a good version with lyrics on the screen:


3.  Irish Washerwoman Dance

This is a fun, high energy  dance for your older kiddos and the description of the dance moves is included in the notes below the video on youtube!

Friday, March 11, 2016

How to Make Stretchy Band Video

Yay!!  I finally got a video made this morning for a tutorial on how to make stretchy bands. I use them frequently in my classroom and not only for movement activities, but also I put instruments behind them and create a line with the bands that students can only step over when we are ready. It makes a great visual barrier for students, especially those with poor impulse control.
Here it is! 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Gettin' Me Eire On!

Ireland, oh, Ireland!
Someday I'm going to visit ye!!
I'll sit in a pub with a pint or two,
And fiddle and jig far across the sea.
My students hear a lot of reels and jigs this time of year, as well as some Celtic music.  There are a lot of choices from youtube but I tend to use the CD's from Step Lively and there is a lot of reels/jigs from New England Dancing Masters so if you have any of their collection you probably have some wonderfully authentic sounding jigs and reels.  I love the Irish Reel Medley from New England Dancing Masters. From youtube I love this Irish Reel Medley and the video shows a bodhran, fiddle, pipes, and guitar. Lively arrangement!
Rhythm Play
My students are playing spoons and drums to this while I show 4 beat rhythms they have to play. Every 16 beats I switch to a new rhythm, say, "One, two, ready, play" and they are off for another 16 beats playing the next card.  Great assessment tool, too!
Irish dances
One of my favorite folk dances (and students) is "Brian Boru," an Irish dance in  "Teaching Movement and Dance."
Another "The Bridge of Athlone" can be found in the previously mentioned "Listen to the Mockingbird" by the oh-so-very-wonderful New England Dancing Masters.
This is one of my favorite activities with Susan Ramsey (probably an Orff levels class) and it is so very fun.  I play it with first grade on up with varying degrees of complexity.  They LOVE it!
Leroy Anderson's Irish Washerwoman with gorgeous background of Ireland!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!