This is my 14th year teaching elementary music but my first year at Red Hawk Elementary in Erie, CO. We opened this year and it was exciting, challenging, draining but also incredibly wonderful all at the same time. As a result, I'm behind as to where I usually am in my curriculum (which is expected your first year in a new school).
One grade that I SHOULD not be behind with, yet I, am is first grade. I usually have prepared and presented so-mi by now and we would be well into our practice stage and into preparation for la. Part of the reason we're behind is because I see my first graders on a 4 day rotation, so they essentially get music once a week. The other part is we are coming off a concert. While I tried to incorporate songs that would help with so-mi in their concert music (Starlight, Starbright, for example), we have a lot of catch up to do.
This leads me to "Miss Miss". Last year I was growing tired of the "same old" so-mi songs that I'd been using. You know, we've all done them and the kids love them: "Snail, Snail," "Apple Tree (1st phrase)," "Bluebells, Cockle Shells," "Doggie Doggie," "Engine, Engine," "Hey, Hey Look at Me," "Lemonade,""Rain, Rain," See Saw," etc. There's a reason why the kids love them (they're tried and true!) but after three lessons a rotation times 13 years of teaching I needed something new. So, who do I ask for a new idea? My mom, of course! My mom is also an elementary music teacher (she was MY elementary music teacher) AND we did four levels of Kodály together at P.S.U.. She turned me onto "Miss Miss."
GREAT so-mi song- it's not a "pure" so-mi" song, but the first two measures are easy to isolate and the rhythms are all known rhythms. I love that it reinforces rest, which is the rhythmic concept that I teach before so-mi.
Here's the song:
Here's the game:
Formation: seated circle
Actions and how I teach it:
- have the students listen to the song while following a steady beat action. (repeat a couple times, switching the beat location. If you're familiar with John Feierabend he will remind you to have two beats in one place and two beats in another to reinforce meter; or as he says "here and there".)
- have the students listen to the song while following a steady beat action that alternates locations on their bodies (ie. head-shoulders, knee-knee, hand-elbow, etc.- with one beat placed in each location. The previous step has two beats in each location before alternating.)
- have the student listen to the song while following a stead beat action that alternates between both hands on their placed at their waist on the first beat of the pattern to both hands on their knees for the second beat of the pattern. VERY similar to step 2 but specific in the body placement.
- have the students repeat the actions above while the teacher demonstrates the ball pattern: using a playground ball, the ball starts on the side of the body by the knees. On the first beat, the ball is rolled back by the waist then for the second beat it is rolled forward by the knees. This alternates throughout the song.
- Students add the ball action. I usually only have two balls to start with so the students will take turns for a couple rotations.
- For the game:
- Two students, on opposite sides of the circle, each have a ball and there is an empty two-liter bottle placed standing up in the middle of the circle.
- All students perform the body actions while the students with the balls perform the ball actions.
- On the final rest of the song, when the ball should roll forward to the knees, the ball is released and aimed at the two-liter bottle in the middle of the circle. The goal is to be the first (or sometimes only) person the knock the bottle over with their ball.
- Once this is mastered (obviously NOT in the same lesson) it could be tried with more balls. Or it could be played in a longways sets with everyone paired up with a partner, bottle and two balls (depending on the space in your room).
And that is "Miss Miss"!