Tuesday, May 16, 2017

End of the Year; Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something TRUE

Yes, I know, the word is supposed to be blue, but for our end of the year purposes, it's going to be "true". 

As I write this, I have 5 days of school left - YAY!  And.. Nay.  I know what you must be thinking; are you crazy? Nuts? Over the edge looney?  No - I look forward to making music with the kiddos and although I am ready for summer break and all that means, I like where my classes are "at" now in their ability, skill level, and knowledge. I also remember well the four to six week re-learning and review process that happens at the beginning of each school year and the constant, "Remember quarter notes? Yes, we learned them last year".

So while I am excited for summer break, it has been several weeks of "Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something True."

1. Something Old

Activities/Games/Songs that are Favorites.  Break out the parachute for the Trepak activity that was a hit in December, or the Rattlin' Bog song they loved in March for St. Patty's Day.
Camp Songs - I always sing camp songs at the end of the school year and my students have really come to LOVE these. I have several already on the blog; check the right side tags and you will find "camp songs".  If you are looking for a more "formal" resource. I just put together a HUGE set (19!!) of these with music notation, projectable/printable lyric slides and directions and though I usually offer things for free, this was a MAJOR undertaking, so it is on my TpT store and is on sale here!

Review Games - Candy Land Games I made using donations of Candy Land (ask and ye shall receive!). I have six of these games and the kids love them!
Kaboom- I really need to make new ones but basically it is a cup with 4 beat rhythms written on popsicle sticks inside.  Four of the sticks have "Kaboom" written on them.
Hula Hoop Conducting - Elizabeth of caldwellorganizedchaos blog has a great post about how she uses these and I play in a very similar way.  I love the games you can play with hula hoops and this is a great review of playing unpitched percussion or Orff instruments.  Let the children take turns, too.

2.  Something New/Something Borrowed

Recently found a new resource/lesson/activity?  Borrowed a lesson or activity from another teacher (or from a blog.. hint hint)?  Want to test drive it?  Go for it!  Now is the time to see how you need to tweak it and where it might fit best into your year long plans for next year?  Is it a rhythm lesson but you have an idea for how to make it a form lesson - try it now, tweak, and jot down notes on how you need to further develop it.  I keep a file called, "Things I want to try".  It is old school- a manila folder where I print out or jot down ideas, lessons, songs, listening pieces I need to develop further. 

3.  Something True

While it is true that this time of year is typically filled with fun activities, be true and authentic; sometimes the songs that were "deep" are the ones they want to sing again. My oldest students have wanted to sing, "Give Light" which I blogged about in December in this post.  The song resonated with them, and while it is not a "fun" song, it honors those with more serious personalities.  My second graders have chosen to sing "This Land is Your Land" as one of their song choices on their last day..  Another more serious song, and not as light-hearted as  "Found a Peanut", but I was true to their choice. 
Hope you have a wonderful end and a great summer- check back, I'll be here! :)


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Around the World - Musical Vacations

This is the final installment of "Musical Vacations" to finish out the school year.
 I just finished an Immigration Celebration unit with my second graders and do another unit on music around the world with my fourth grade students earlier in the school year.  With my second graders, who are oh so wiggly and squiggly, this has been the perfect unit to complete our time together!  I would highly recommend having a globe handy or projecting a world map to show the children where all these songs come from.

1.  Rattlin' Bog - Ireland

My students learn this in March for St. Patrick's Day and they love it.  They choose or create rhythms to play on drums, bodhran style, during the chorus.  Of course we add motions to each of the cumulative verses!

2.  Yesh Lanu Tayish - Israel

Another favorite shared by a fellow music teacher who has a heart for songs from other cultures! Thanks, Marilyn!

3.  Cuddly Koala - Australia

This is from my book, "Hands to Hands", available here. This one was sent by a lovely Australian friend, Susan!

4.  May There Always Be Sunshine - Russia

I am always amazed at how deeply this touches children, and this version is my favorite English version:

Others and Resources

There are several others we sing (so much music, so little time) including,
"Bow, Wow, Wow" (England), "Mexican Counting Song", "San Serafin del Monte"
 "When I First Came to This Land"., music available from Beth's Notes here.
"This Land is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie, and "America".
Beth's Notes site also has a HUGE compilation of songs from around the world including various national anthems.  This is a fantastic resource!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Mountains, Lakes, and Camp Songs - Musical Vacations

 A couple weeks ago I posted about taking your children on a musical vacation before summer begins.  Many of our students do not get to take fun family vacations in the summer, and so a virtual visit to the ocean and a camping trip might be a fun activity for your students.  I haven't met a child yet who did not like to sing silly camp songs and it is the perfect ending to your time together and keeps the kiddos singing right up until the final day of school!! So today we are heading to higher elevations - we are going to the mountains!

1.  I Love the Mountains

My students love this song and I was lucky enough to find a big book of it from Scholastic several years ago, with additional words including famous American landmarks such as Lady Liberty, Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon, and Mount Rushmore among others.  I don't think it is available any longer, but this book is available from Amazon:

This is a link to the sheet music from Beth's Notes. 
Here is a link to the song, with instrumental and vocal sound clips. 

2.  Crazy Moose

I am a proud Maineiac, meaning I am originally from Maine, home to the beginning or end of the Appalachian Trail.  Beginning or end depending on when you start and if you through-hike the AT which can take many moons to complete!  I now live in NC, another AT site!  While taking a hike, in bear country, particularly in warmer months, it can be important to make a little noise to let the bears know there are people near by.    Singing songs also helps keep everyone hiking together, especially up those steeper parts of the trail.  "Neat-o repeat-o songs" are great for kids unfamiliar with camp songs and this one is perfect! 
















3.  Alligator

Yup, this is the "lakes" part of our theme today.  Alligators can be found in marshes, wetlands, rivers, ponds and, you guessed it, lakes!  Another "Neat-o Repeat-O" song, this one is so funny!  To truly understand, you have to watch it: 

Here is the music and the version I learned (slightly different than the video):
Oh- and by the way, my third graders loved to play this on recorder- just make the low A into a high one.


4.  The Other Day I Met a Bear

Perfect song for hiking!

5.  For other camp songs, check out this previous post!

Hope you enjoyed your mini-vacation!  What other camp songs do you sing with your kiddos?