See Saw

I'm a little behind in my curriculum (I've mentioned this before) and my first graders are just now getting ready to present so-mi.  For the past several lessons we've been singing songs that have so-mi in easily isolated and extractable phrases; songs that have memorable games, kinesthetic connections and looking at lots of visuals as we've been singing these songs.

One "so-mi" gem that I learned in level I with Susan Brumfield is See Saw:


It uses only so-mi, with "so" always occurring on beat one of each measure and "mi" on beat two.

To meet the needs of my kinesthetic learners we create create a musical see saw.  I have one student stand with both feet together, I put one of my feet perpendicular to their feet, with the outside of my foot touching their toes (this is used for balance.)  With both hands, the student holds onto my hands and leans back.  From here, we sing the song with me pulling the child up on the first beat of each measure and leaning them back on beat two.  This reinforces the high and low pattern (so-mi) that repeats on the beats of each song.  As one student is riding my see saw, the other students instinctively pair up and rock back and forth on the beat as different individuals get turns to "ride" on my see saw.

Here is a manipulative that I use with the song to meet the needs of my visual learners.  It's preparatory reading for reading "so" and "mi" note heads on the staff.  I have color coded it: pink= so (in the preparation stage we call this sound "high") and yellow= mi (prep work calls this sound "low").  While reading it, the students place their hands on their head for the pink see saws (high sounds) and on their shoulders for the yellow see saws (low sounds). This manipulative also helps the students easily transfer the song to a glockenspiel.
The students can also easily read the rhythm of the song off of the manipulative: a single see saw in a color indicates a "ta" or quarter note and two see saws of the same color next to each other indicates a "ti-ti" or eighth notes.

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