Bread and Jam

One of the rituals when I took my Kodály levels at PSU was to for all the levels to warm-up together in the morning.  One morning Jill Trinka taught us this round:

I LOVE the round but it's pretty tricky for my kids to sing: the jump from do to high mi is really difficult for them.  So, I took the mi', re' and do' down an octave (as notated below) and use it with my 4th graders to reinforce fa.

One, Two, Three

One of my all-time FAVORITE resources this book:

Susan Brumfield turned me onto it when I took levels at PSU.  First of all, the songs were collected my Alan Lomax and Bess Lomax Hawes so it's a great primary resources and it's got a wonderful accompanying CD of songs that they collected from the Caribbean.

If you've taught elementary general music you're probable familiar with "Gypsy in the Moonlight."  I believe both McMillan and Silver Burdett have it in their text book series.  That song was collection by Alan Lomax and Bess Lomax Hawes and is found in this book.  

There are many WONDERFUL songs in this collection, but this is my all time favorite: One, Two, Three.  It's a mixed meter song, which is wonderful for 5th graders.  The tone set and rhythmic features are accessible to fifth graders to read in both stick notation and on the staff by the end of the fifth grade year.  AND it's got a great game that's perfect for playing both inside and outside as the spring weather becomes more and more beautiful.

Here's One, Two, Three:

Formation:  standing circle, with partners facing each other with and extra player in the middle.
Action:  The song is sung numbers one through twenty while the players clap a steady beat.  At the word "Twenty-one" a partner clapping pattern begins as such: 
Beat one of each measure all players pat both hands on their legs.
Beat two of each measure players clap their own hands.
Beat three of each measure players pat the hands of their partners.
The other action that begins when the text says "twenty-one" is the middle player (the person without a partner) cuts into one of the sets of partners, replacing one of the players who then becomes the new person in the middle.  This action continues throughout the game with the new center person cutting into a new set of partners and taking one of their places and leaving the partnerless person to become the new center person.  This continues until "one-hundred" and the goal is to not be the person in the center without a partner.  

Augie Great Municipal Band & The Kodály Classroom

The Kodály methodology and philosophy is that children first learn folk songs in their mother tongue, then folk songs of other cultures and then music of the masters (art music).  I think though, it is also important to find ways to teach rhythm and solfége to children in music that is more contemporary.  I was told by Jill Trinka one time that it is equally important, as educators, to know what children are listening to, reading and watching.  This example, "Augie's Great Municipal Band" from Star Wars Episode I," is a little "out-dated/old" in that the movie came out in 1999, but children are still familiar with it, known movie and can recognize the main musical themes.

I use this specific example as a low-sol reading exercise.  The rhythms are very simple and it contains solfa patterns that are easy to sight read.  We start by reading these slides via powerpoint:

After using these slides as a reading exercise we then read them all together.  (Keep in mind that before this activity we'll have used these patterns in games such as "poison" (unspoken pattern), "Who has/I Have" and others):

After reading the excercise slides we then put it with the music.  The original is very quick so the first time or two we use a version that I slowed down by putting it in Audacity.  During the first listen, the student count how many times the pattern occurs.  The next time we listen to it they try to sing the solfa as the pattern occurs.  The third time through, we try to add hand signs (remember, this is a part of a lesson over the sequence of a few lesson.)

Post-Easter Manipulative Mania

I mentioned in my last post, "Carrot Rhythm," how I love the items you can find in the stores around Easter to use as manipulatives in the music classroom.  Here's one that I found after Easter in the local Safeway:
It's hard to see from the picture, but they are cupcake, ice cream cone and popsicle Easter Eggs.  Here are just a couple of the ways that I'm going to use them:

#1:  Down to the Baker's Shop
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this song!  I use it with 2nd grade, even though rhythmically and melodically they cannot read it all.  

The first thing we do with it is play a cumulative chain-movement game.  I have a basket in which I have pictures of different baked goods: cupcakes, brownies, cookies, cake, pie, hot cross buns.  I walk around the outside circle with the basket and at the end of the song I ask the student that I am behind to join me in going to the Bakery Shop and hand then a picture of an item from the basket that they are going to purchase at the Baker's Shop.  This continues until all students are following in the line to go to the bakery shop.  This is great practice for moving in a circle (we all know the tendency is for the circle to shrink and become too small to move).  It also is great preparation for more complicated folk dances that they will learn in 3rd grade.  At the end of the song I sing them directions to sit down (to the tune of "Hot Cross Buns").  The students already know this song, recognize that I sang the directions to  the tune of that song and we transition into that song.  

"Hot Cross Buns" is my presentation song for re:

This year, as a late practice activity we are going to re-visit "Down to the Bakershop" but instead of getting a picture of a baked good from the basket and playing the cumulative movement game, each student is going to pick one of the Easter Egg cupcakes from the basket and sing the pattern that is inside the cupcake for the class.  As with "Carrot Rhythms," these will all be melodic phrases from  songs that they know and there will be repeated patterns so that once students have sang a melody they are listening for who else receives the same pattern.

#2:  Jean, Jean

This is another one of my favorites.  I learned it from Susan Brumfield in level I Kodály at PSU and she taught us a cumulative memory game with it.

I use this first in kindergarten and we say it high and low, loud and soft, fast and slow.  So, when we bring it back in first grade it's already familiar.  One of the first activities we do with it is to have recite it and after each time we go around the circle and each child names their favorite ice cream flavor.  Later on, it becomes cumulative: we say the chant then the first student says their favorite ice cream flavor; we say the chant again then the second child says their favorite ice cream flavor and everyone says the first child's favorite flavor.  This continues around the circle with each student adding their favorite flavor and going through all the previously names flavors.  While not rhythmic or melodically challenging, this is great memory work.

This year, as an extension, we will us the popsicle and ice cream cone eggs to hid rhythmic patterns.  We will recite the chant and then each student will read the rhythm pattern that is inside their egg.  Again, as will the carrot rhythms, there will be repeats of patterns to keep all the students engaged.  

The uses for these manipulatives are endless, but I thought I'd share a couple that ways that I will be using them in the next week or two. :)

Carrot Rhythms

I love spring and I particularly love all the great manipulative "things" that you can find to use in your classroom around this time.  A few years ago I found Easter Eggs that were shaped and designed like balls that I use with "Bounce High, Bounce Low" and this year I bought a ball basket to go with it (for a $1 after Easter).  I have found eggs shaped like jelly beans, fish, sea shells, cupcakes, popsicles, ice cream cones and these all lend themselves to be used with various songs and I will blog about those in the near future.

Today's Easter find is carrots.  I have two sets, this one is one that I'm currently using with my first graders to practice ta, ti-ti and quarter rest.  We have been using "John the Rabbit" for solo singing (I've been able to get a quick, short assessment my kiddos, who each get a solo turn to sing on the response "yes ma'am").  

After the song, all my "bunnies" get to pick a carrot from my harvest.  Inside each carrot is a rhythm from a known song.  Each student then has a turn to read their rhythm to the class.  The most important thing about this activity is to have multiple carrots containing the same rhythm.  As all the eggs are read, everyone must listen to see if the rhythm being read matches the rhythm in their egg.  By having them listen for matching rhythms, it keeps them engaged and makes for a great transition if the next activity in your lesson calls for small groups (all the students with matching rhythms would get in the same group for the next activity).
This activity can be changed and adapted to fit whatever rhythmic or melodic concept your students are practicing by inserting different known phrases that contain those specific elements. :)

Shanghai Chicken

I remember very early on in my teaching asking my mom for advice: specifically songs what I could/should use in my teaching.  Shanghai Chicken was one of them and for years I grappled with how to teach it.  Do the kids really "get" the song?  How could they like it when I have a hard time "selling" it?  And in fact, I didn't really like it. . . . .

This past fall Leigh Ann Mock Garner presented a session for ROCKE.  Side note: if you EVER get the chance to see her present, jump on that opportunity, she's magnificent!!  One of the songs/activities that she presented as one that she learned from Susan Brumfield.  Susan, who I had for four levels of Kodály, never taught me her fun egg passing game (lol!) and briefly makes reference to it in her new book that I blogged about (click here for that post).  Just so we're all on the same page, here's the song:

Egg Passing Game via Leigh Ann Mock Garner (learned from Susan Brumfield):
Formation:  seated circle, with ever player holding an egg shaker.
Beat 1: egg taps the right knee
Bt. 2: egg taps left knee
Bt. 3: egg taps the right knee
Bt. 4: egg taps left knee
Bt. 5: toss egg
Bt. 6: catch egg
Bt. 7: toss egg
Bt. 8: catch egg
Bts. 9-14: same actions as beats 1-6
Bt. 15: toss egg to neighbor to the right
Bt. 16: catch egg
Repeat.  This can become an elimination game, where players that drop eggs are "out."  "Outed" players can then play an ostinato on a non-pitched percussion instrument or form a new circle.

I use this song to practice ti-tom (eighth-dotted quarter) in fourth grade, so all the solfege of the song is accessible to them and ti-tom is the only "new" concept.  I have five different colors of egg shakers so when I saw foam eggs (packaged in groups of five colors) at Walmart around Easter this year I just had to get them to add a decoding activity to Shanghai Chicken.  

Here's how it works:
Students, after playing the egg passing game, get into groups of like-colored eggs.  Each group either has a matching color of foam egg or is assigned a color (that would have been too perfect if all the colors matched my egg shakers!).  All of the foam eggs are on the ground in the middle of the circle, with four eggs of each color containing phrases from the song "Shanghai Chicken" and three other eggs using phrases of other known songs.  The students, working in their groups, must find and place the eggs in order to decode the correct rhythm and solfa of the song (as seen in the green eggs below).  The first team to complete the task correctly is the "winner, winner, chicken-dinner."

And there you have it, my new-found love for "Shanghi Chicken."  :)

Melodic Writing

Back in 2002 my district ran into HUGE financial trouble.  HUGE. . . not your typical budget cuts.  Long story short: the superintendent resigned because he knew what was "going down"- our district was 10 million dollars in debt.  The state had to bail us out: we were on financial watch, teachers that we're lucky to not lose their jobs all lost a step and the raise that had been implemented.  At the building level everyone did as much as they could to be thrifty.  We all know that there are many ways to be an effective teacher and reuse resources.  Look at Kodály- the main reason he used one, two or three line staves was not for pedagogical purposes but to save paper and ink.

One thing that I did to individually assess my students melodic writing without wasting paper, and that I STILL use because of it's effectiveness, is this writing exercise (BTW, it's stolen from Sue Leithold Bowcock!!!).   First, you need staff paper: you know, the kind that you can find at McMillian's or Silver Burdett's exhibits when you visit any music conference.  Then, I use bingo chips that I found at Walmart the year of the budget crisis as note heads.  The art teacher that I worked at that time had collected Altoids tins for an art project but decided not to use them so he kindly gave them to me.  The tins are the perfect container in which to store the bingo chips.  
 The thing that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE about this is the students can clearly see how the staff line goes through the middle of line notes and that space notes occupy the entire space.
 With my new school I got these fancy-smancy whiteboards from "The Markerboard People."  I love these too. . ..  mainly because the backside is a blank white board for rhythmic writing and can also be doubled as a hard surface to write on.
 Here's how it looks with it's handy marker and eraser ;)

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.

Apple Tree

Apple Tree is a gem. . . that's the best way I can describe it.  It's got a rhythm that is easy for my 1st graders to derive, is great for teaching so-mi (extracted in the first and third phrases), is great for la (extracted in the 2nd) and for do (the final phrase of the song).  What's more is it has a fun game that the kids ask for over and over and over and over and over. . . . .  and over again for.  If you're not familiar with the song, here it is:

The game:
Formation:  standing circle, holding hands, with two people (I use myself and a student volunteer) making and arch.
Action:  as the song is sung, the students process in a circular motion with the circle going under the arch formed by the teacher and student volunteer.  On the word "out" the arch lowers their arms, catching whoever is under the tree at that time.  The caught student then joins the arch (I refer to it as the tree).  The game is repeated until all the "apples" (the students in the walking circle) are caught.  As the tree grows, more students are caught.  The students love this!

As I mentioned, this song is GREAT for 1st and 2nd grades.  I use it for ta & ti-ti reading and so-mi-la reading in the first grade.  I have created sets of tone ladders that the students use to sing the phrases.  After they have derived the known solfa (the first three phrases of the song), they sing it while pointing to the solfége apples on their tone ladder.  
On the back of the tone ladder are the Curwin handsigns for the solfa.  I found this really helps my kinesthetic learners.  Both tone the apple tone ladder and the solfa hands are used to sing the phrases of the song and to do melodic decoding with known solfa.
 Here are a couple more reading manipulatives that I use with my students with apple tree.  I have them written with the "note heads" both on the lines and on the spaces as to reinforce the staff relationships between so-mi-la.

 This is a great song to bring back in second grade to practice do.  The students know it, love it and remember it well and the fact that do is the final note of the song really reinforces that newly learned second grade concept.

Sneaky Snake

Like so many of us, the best teaching ideas I have are "borrowed" from other teachers.  This one is no different and can be found in "An American Methodology" by Ann Eisen and Lamar Robertson.  I have actually not seen Ann or Lamar present this activity the way that I have used it.  Below I have shared a way that I saw Ann Eisen use it.

Sneaky Snake can work many ways and the stories you can use with it are infinite but the basic premise behind Sneaky is that he is a memory game.  In this version of Sneaky Snake, he was crawling along one day singing a familiar song ("Who's That Tapping at the Window?").  Now, Sneaky loves music and he loves to sing his songs a variety of ways.  Some days he sings the text of the song, other days he sings the solfa of a song but today he has decided he wants to sing the rhythm of the song.  The students would then sing the rhythm to "Who's That Tapping on the Window?"
But, as Sneaky was crawling along, singing his song, he came into some tall grass.  While part of Sneaky is now hidden in the grass, he's still singing the entire song, from beginning to end.  The students help Sneaky sing his song by singing the rhythm of the song again, including the part of the song that is now hidden by grass.
 He keeps crawling through the grass, with more of the song now covered by the grass.  But, all the while, he sings the rhythm to the entire song (and of course, it's the students that are doing the singing).
Again, Sneaky keeps crawling through the grass, singing his song.  ** You'll note that he crawls through the grass in 4-beat increments.
 And finally, all of Sneaky is hidden in the grass and the students are singing the rhythm to the song from memory.  ** The one thing that I wish I would have done differently with this specific version of Sneaky was to have made his striped every 4 beats instead of every 2. . . that way it would help support the meter of the song.  :)
Of course, there are many variations to Sneaky.  When I took level III Kodály with Ann Eisen at CSU she used a story of Sneaky coming home dirty from playing in the mud and he had to take a bath.  As he washed off the dirt, the rhythms came off as well.  This variation allowed for the teacher to erase measures in a non-sequential order which provides a different challenge for the students.

One more thing: I learned after I created many copies of Sneaky was that if I made one or two Sneakys and laminated them I could then write the rhythms or solfa to songs with a Vis-a-Vis marker.  It saved a lot of time and the manipulative is then adaptable for a wider variety of song use.


When I first started teaching, the lower grades were my favorite to teach.  I loved the singing games that they provide and being a first year teacher, they had easier concepts to teach.  I still love the lower grades but the longer I teach, the more adoration and love I have for teaching 4th and 5th graders and the musical concepts that are applicable to those grade levels.

One concept that I often overlook or don't spend enough time on is meter, specifically mixed-meter.  I'm reminded of this particularly at this time of the year as I'm watching my 5th graders transition into the middle schoolers that they will be next year.  In addition to making sure they're familiar with treble and bass clef, with the key signatures of C, F and G, are familiar with 2/4, 3/4, 4/4 and 6/8 meters I also want them to understand that meters can change within one song.  A great example of this is the song "Little Swallow."  If you're not familiar with this song, here it is:

I love that the meter changes every measure, alternating between 3/4 and 2/4 meters.  It adds a level of predictability which leads to the students being able to successfully derive the meter changes.  The rhythmic and melodic elements are completely accessible to them; in my sequence all of these specific concepts are taught in 3rd grade and reinforced constantly after that.  I prepare my students to derive the meter changes by first having them experience, sing and play the following stick passing game:

Formation:  seated circle with all students having two sticks.
On the ¾ measures, the pattern is:
            Beat 1: pick up both sticks
            Beat 2: click both sticks together
            Beat 3:  pass both sticks
On the 2/4 measures, the pattern is:
            Beat 1: pick up both sticks
            Beat 2:  pass both sticks

After the students are familiar with the song & game we then read the song, written on the staff, without barlines.  With the actions as an experience they can draw on, it's pretty easy for them to derive the strong beats of the song and add the barlines.  This leads to my presentation lesson of mixed-meter, with the students discovering that the amount of beats per measure changes every measure.  From that discovery, they can then add the correct time signatures to each measure.  

The students love this song and the stick passing game that goes with it.  To add an additional element to the game, you can make it an elimination game in which one set of sticks is a different color.  The student with that set of sticks at the end of the song is "out."  I like to keep all students involved in the activity so once a student is "out" they either start a new circle or can move to an instrument.   There is an Orff accompaniment that you can find in the book, “Encore!” by Kriske/Delelles.

"First, We Sing!"

The single, best thing I ever did in my teaching career was to decide to take Kodály levels.  I remember seeing Jill Trinka present at the Colorado Music Educators Conference when I was in college and thinking "I've got to take a class with her!!"  The first teaching job I accepted was in Salem, Oregon- another GREAT decision.  It was an amazing school with FABULOUS students and staff.  An added bonus was that Jill Trinka taught Kodály levels at Portland State University during the summers.  Portland was only an hour a way and I quickly talked my mom into taking level I with me.  I was over the moon to take a class from Jill, but little did I know that the other instructor would be equally, if not more, influential on who I was to become as a teacher.  That person was Susan Brumfield.  I LOVE Susan and have the most utmost respect for her as a person, musician and teacher.  To this day, I cannot teach "Bernie Bee" to my kindergartners or first graders without hearing Susan reciting the chant, complete with her southern accent.  

I am eternally grateful that I was able to take four summers of classes with Susan, to have seen her present at various conferences and that I've kept in touch with her since that fateful summer in 1999.  I of course rushed to buy her first book "Hot Peas and Barley-O" and when "Over the Garden Wall" came out I had to add that to my library.  Today I received this in the mail:
I have spent the evening looking through it.   While there are a lot of songs that I already know, I love the format of the book and the song history that Susan provides.  Each song starts with a section titled "About the Song."  From there she includes four more sections for each song, varying from "Sing-Move," where she gives game or movement instructions, to "Read-Write," where she breaks down how to teach the melodic and/or rhythmic concepts that the song contains.  Other sections include:
* "Play-Create" which includes practice of absolute pitch, improvisation, classroom instrument and recorder playing, extended rhythmic and melodic reading
*  Listen-Think
*  Conduct
*  Partwork
*  Choral Connection
*  Cultural Context

Like Susan's other books, this is a welcome addition to my library.  And, as with Susan's other books, this will probably all to soon start to show it's use!!!  :)  
Just one more thing that I'm SO excited about. . . . did anyone else notice that under the title it says "Songbook One"?  I assume this means that there will be a songbook two??!!!  (Right after her Italian book?!!!)

Floor Staff

I was inspired to start this blog because of the blogging that other Kodály educators were doing: reading their ideas inspire and influence my teaching.  One of those people is Liza Meyers.  Liza recently blogged about a floor staff that she made.  You can read the directions on how to make Liza's very inexpensive floor staff (it cost me $2!!) by clicking here.  You can also read about her fun staff games that go with it by clicking here.  

Here are a two other ideas on how to use the staff that I came up with: 

Idea #1:
Over spring break I returned some xylophones that my good friend, Loretta (mentioned in a previous post), loaned me and she had these cute inflatable frog balls.  She uses them for "Five Green and Speckled Frogs."  I mentioned how cute they were and she gave me a set of five frogs for my very own. :)  Upon thinking about how cute they are and how I would like to use them for more then one activity,  it dawned on me that they would be fun to use to write the melody to "On A Log" using the floor staff that Liza had posted about on her blog.  Below are two picture of the so-la-mi pattern that the song starts with.  (By the way, she bought the frogs from Oriental Trading)

If you're not familiar with "On a Log," here's the notation:

There are more verses, including (but not limited to- it's fun to see what the students can come up with as verses):
"In a tree, Mr. Bee, sings his song for you and me.  Buzz!  Buzz!  Buzz! Buzz."
"On a lake, Mr. Snake, sings his song until day break. Hiss!  Hiss!  Hiss!  Hiss."

Here's a game that my students enjoy:  
Formation: seated circle, with one student in the middle of the circle as the "frog"
Action:  The students sing the song, while keeping a steady beat or clapping the rhythm (depending on the focus of your lesson).  On the words "Glump! Glump! Glump! Glump!" the frog hops over to a student who is seated in the circle.  That student who the "frog" hopped over to becomes the new frog and the game is repeated.

Idea #2:
This fall I attended a workshop by Leigh Anne Mock Gardner at which she used polydots in a listening game.  I raced home and had to buy my own set for my classroom.  Again, trying to find more then one use for them, I discovered they would make perfect "note-heads" on Liza's floor staff.  Below is the notation for the beginning of "Mouse Mousie".  (Can you tell I've got "do" songs on the brain right now?!)  The dots fit beautifully in the spaces and on the lines.

Thanks Liza for sharing your wonderful floor staff ideas!!!

Remote Control

Warning: this idea is 100% completely stolen from my good friend Tanya LeJeune!!  Be sure to view her blog by clicking here!!!

I saw Tanya present this at the Colorado State conference a number of years ago but it wasn't until this year that I finally made a formal "remote" for the game (before making these manipulatives I would simply write the words on a board).  You'll notice in the picture below that there are two remotes: the one on the left I use with 1st and 2nd grades & the one on the right is used with 3rd-5th grades.
This is a late practice activity and students will be most successful when they are familiar with the song(s) that this is played with.  

Basic principal of the game:  
Have the practice song written on the board in stick notation with the solfege written below the rhythm and the text to the song below the solfa (similarly to the way Jill Trinka notates her songs in her books).  I have the remote hanging on my magnetic board.  The students read the song by performing it on each of the "channels" (the buttons- ie. they sing it on the words all the way through the song, then they sing it on the rhythm all the way through the song, then the solfa all the way through the song and then (for grades 3-5) the absolute pitch names).  After that, if the game is new to the students, I explain how we are going to "channel surf"- this a concept that we are all familiar with. ;-)  This means that as the song is sung I am going to have them switch from singing the song one way to another (i.e. they may sing phrase one on the words of the song and then the second phrase on solfa and so on.)  I tell them which "station" they will start on and give them a starting pitch.  Then, using another magnet (mine is a Fantasia Mickey Mouse that a former student gave me), I place the magnet next to the starting station and as the song is sung move the magnet to other channels as the phrases change.

Here are a couple variations to make it more difficult:
  1. instead of using stick solfa, have the song written on the staff with the text below.
  2. have the song written on the staff but without the text.
  3. have them sing all of the song from memory.  This one is fun to do with a song/game that the kids ask to play over and over again that they know VERY well.
There is one thing that I have haven't touch on and that's the "mute" button: works just like a real mute button and is wonderful for inner hearing.  I usually use it as an independent button (not in combination with other buttons), but you can do it in combination with the other buttons as a way to really challenge students.

Thanks again Tanya for sharing this game!!!

Musette in D & a Couple Tech-Tips

One thing that I really struggle with in my teaching is incorporating meaningful listening into my lessons.  I love John Feierabend's "Move It" DVDs and have lots of various listening lessons that I've gathered over the years that I use with my classes, but what I'm talking about is focused reading while the students are listening to a piece of quality art music.  This year, with opening a new school, I decided to narrow that focus and concentrate on incorporating it with my third grade concepts.  I shared  in first post on this blog the PDF of my PowerPoint for "Rondo Alla Turk" which practices "tika-tika."  Here is a preview of my PowerPoint for "Musette in D" by Bach that practices "Tika-Ti."

As with "Rondo Alla Turk," I have saved the complete PDF in google docs, you are welcome to click here for the PDF.  And as with "Rondo Alla Turk," it is fun to incorporate body percussion once the students can successfully clap the rhythms.  You'll notice that on the slide of "Theme B" it says keep the beat for 16 counts.  There are rhythms in those measures that they will not be able to read until 4th grade and this was my way of making it accessible to my 3rd graders.  I have them "follow the leader" during those 16 beats.  To start, I am the leader the first few times and after some practice, individual students take over the "beat-leader" role.

The title of this post also mentions "tech-tips" and here's where the first "tech-tip" comes in.  Before I share, I must preface this with the fact that I teach in a school district that has 26 elementary schools.  Of those 26 schools, 9 of us have taken Kodály levels with the majority of us completing our certification.  We have, over the past four years, created a Kodály collection for ourselves.  Through this process we have become very close colleagues and friends and we share a lot of resources and ideas with each other.  So, this tech-tip actually comes from my dear friend, Loretta Harvey.  I have had a hard time finding a version of "Musette in D" that is slow enough for the students to successfully read and clap the rhythm.  Her suggestion was to put it into Audacity, which is a free download, to slow it down.  Audicity, if you're not familiar with it, is wonderful: in addition to being able to change the tempo or a recording, you can also adjust the key, speed, etc. and record directly into it.  

Back to "Musette," here's a fun extension: Bobby McFerrin and Yo-Yo Ma recorded a CD called "Hush" and one of the songs that they recorded was "Musette in D."  Click here to listen to that recording, via YouTube.  Once the students have listened to a standard performance of "Musette in D" and successfully performed the rhythms along with the recording, have them listen to this one: they always love it!  And I've got another tech-tip for you (again, from Loretta Harvey): copy the URL and paste it into KeepVid.  From here,  it will walk you through how to save/download the YouTube clip.  You can save it as an MP4 file (video) or an MP3 file (audio only) and it will directly accessible on your hard drive.  I must admit that I sometimes when using KeepVid I  feel like I need to put on my eye patch and shout "Arr!!" but I also don't trust the Internet to be readily available at all times when I'm teaching and this ensures that I don't waste any valuable class time with a technological problem.  

I hope you've all had a great weekend!  For me, my spring break is over today and this week I've got a second grade concert on Thursday.  Hope you all have a great week!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...