Sometimes it's all about the little things that can motivate students, so when I saw these in Oriental Trading I knew I had to get them. These are just two of the set of 6 playground balls that you can get by clicking here. Read below to see an example of how I used them.
Before school got out I knew that I was going to be behind in my 1st grade curriculum so I used those final lessons of the year to build repertoire that I can bring back in the first weeks of school in the fall. So, this was an opening song that I used for a couple lessons:
With the first lesson we used the balls to perform a steady beat. The pattern was bounce the ball on the down beat and catch the ball on the second beat of each measure.
With the second lesson we inserted different students' names into the song (instead of singing "Shiloh" we sang the students' names) and by the third lesson we had a student start in the middle and we sang the song two times. The first time through we replaced "Shiloh" with the name of the student in the middle and the second time through the student in the middle sang the name of another student in the circle. The "called on" studentswitched places with the center student. For the sake of knowing who has had a turn, the student that was just in the circle sits down in the spot of the "called on" student. This continued until all students had a turn in the middle of the circle. Note: inserting other students' names is hard for first graders. They will need a lot of preparation and experience with picking other students "on the fly." The first time through may be torturous if you don't take time to talk to them about it, give that prior experience of inserting everyones' names and encourage them to call on the first standing person that they see.
When we bring it back in the fall, this activity will not only lend itself to helping everyone learn the names of their classmates but it will also prepare the students for learning "la."
Some extension activities include singing the song using body signs (I use hands on the shoulders for me, hands on the top of the head for so and hands in the air above the head for la), reading the melody from an iconic chart (I will post my chart later, it's at school and I'm on summer vacation), playing a simple bourdon on Orff instruments while playing the rhythm on non-pitched percussion instruments. I believe this would also work as a partner song with "Miss Miss" (you would have to sing this song a couple times through to make it work).
The other thing that I loved about these balls is they made a really nice transition into "Hey Hey Look At Me," which we were using to practice "so-mi".
In addition to reading "Hey Hey Look At Me," students can improvise other things that they might be doing: frowning, crying, clapping, patting, running, kicking, etc.