Ho, Ho, Ho!

Here's a song I bet you know:

Well, here's a holiday take on it:

If you don't know the song or dance, it's really sweet and the kiddos eat it up!  It's perfect for 1st grade and working on quarter rest.  It can be brought back in 2nd grade to prepare re.

Formation: single circle, with all students facing a partner

  1. Phrase 1: pat partner's hands three times (on the text, "Ho, ho, ho!"
  2. Phrase 2: pretend to be looking at Santa Claus
  3. Phrase 3: trade place with partner (I have them place their hands on each other's hands or hold hand.
  4. Phrase 4: pat partner's hands three times and jump a half-turn on the rest so that they are facing a new partner.
Here's a PowerPoint I created that I will be using with my 1st graders in the next couple weeks.  We just presented quarter-rest and are singing & reading songs that practice this new concept.

We start by reading the text while we sing:

Then we sing and keep a steady beat:

Next, we sing and clap the rhythm:

Then we replace the text with the known, most familiar rhythms, ta & ti-ti:

Finally, we read it with the newest rhythmic element:

I've created some flash cards that we will use to reinforce the rhythms.  One fun thing to do with this is play "Clap what you don't see."  They way you play this is pick 4 cards (with older grades you can use more cards).  The student practice reading each of the cards one-by-one.  Next, you have them try reading all four cards without stopping in-between songs.  After a few times reading all the cards, turn the first card around.  They must still clap all the cards but they must remember the rhythm of the first card.  Gradually, all the cards are turned around so that all they are seeing are the back (blank) sides of the rhythm cards.  This is a fun memory game and they LOVE it!

This assessment is very similar to those that I created for the older grades with "Deck the Halls" and "Up on the Housetop", but simpler for my younger kiddos.  One one side of the card is printed the Santas and on the other card are the rhythms of the song.  The students receive four cards and must put the rhythms in order to match the song.  You don't have to print out the Santa side, but it makes it more visually appealing. ;)

If you would like a copy of this file, you can download this PDF file for free from my Teachers pay Teachers store.


Surprise!!!  In my recent holiday fever I bet you thought this would be a holiday post! But it's not.  This is a post that's been a long time coming.  Back in September, my third graders learned tika-tika.  One of my favorite tika-tika songs is this one:

There are a few activities that I do with this song.  
  1. Name game: we replace "Dinah" with names of students in our class.
  2. Improvisation game: instead of "strumming on the old banjo,"we put other things
    1. the first time, we go around the circle and sing it "Name Game" style (see #1) but I change the ending to various things.  I.e.: "playing on the Nintendo," "eating a burrito," "talking on the telephone," "listening to the radio," "dancing a funky disco," "talking to your daddy-o", etc.
    2. depending on the class we might have to do it again with me modeling this.  If not, then they make up something they are doing with the only requirement being that it rhymes and they can make it fit within the beats of the song (for me, it's okay if they change the rhythm.  That's part of improvisation)
  3. Listening game
    1. Formation: standing circle with one student in the middle who is blindfolded.
    2. Once the student in the middle is blindfolded, we silently make a hole in the circle.  This is the "door" to Dinah's house.  I elaborate through a story that Dinah has a "magically musical house" because the walls sing.  All the standing students are the walls of Dina's house.  The blindfolded student must find the door to the house by walking around the inside of the circle and listening to where there is no singing.  Once they "hear" where the door is they walk towards it until they are out of the "house."  They know when they have made it out of the house because their classmates clap for them.  This is a cue for them to stop moving so they don't run into a wall or equipment and to remove their blindfold.
This year I had a new idea for Dinah's house and that was to build a wall in Dinah's house. I sent out a notice in our school's weekly announcement that the music room was collecting EMPTY SQUARE tissue boxes.  I was able to collect a lot, to date I have collected over 100.  My goal was 80 as that would give me 5 sets of 16 boxes.  I wrapped the boxes in white butcher paper (you know, that roll paper that is in your school's work room).  I then printed out the following rhythms ta, ti-ti, ta-rest & tika-tika using MusicEd font (really, I do NOT work for them, I just LOVE their product!).  I laminated these rhythms and then using packaging tape I taped them and wrapped the boxes so that each box had one of those rhythms on each side (there is NO rhythm on the top or the bottom of the box- if there was the boxes would not stack evenly).

Once the boxes were assembled, as a class, we derived the rhythm of "Dinah's House" (a.k.a. the rhythm to the song "Dinah").  Here's a picture of what that looked like:

Like I mentioned above, I've collect just over 100 boxes and my goal was 80.  Since I had 96 boxes that gave me 6 sets of 16 boxes.  The student then got into groups of 4-5 with each group getting 16 blocks.  Their directions were to build a wall of rhythm.  I didn't care what their rhythms were but they had to be four beat across and stacked 4 high.  The only other rule (besides the etiquette required with this: i.e. do not fall on the boxes, do not punch the boxes, etc.) was that before they knocked down their wall they had to perform their wall for me.

Here are a few sample walls:

This activity ending up being more fun then I ever anticipated it AND lend itself to some AMAZING teaching opportunities.  

First of all, it introduced/reinforced direction of note-heads related to note-stems.  SO many times when dealing with rhythm we write the stems up and neglect to write rhythms with the stems down.  Here's an example where they DID put a note stem going down (you'll notice that ALL the other groups have their stems going up. . . guess what I need to teach more of. ..  stems going down!):

Secondly, it was a GREAT chance for part work.  This group did it before I even asked them too- when I came over to hear their wall, they were ready to read it for me, with the boys reading one side of the wall and the girls reading the other side, AT THE SAME TIME.  As a teacher, this was A.MAZ.ING and fun to see!:

During the second lesson I encouraged all of my classes to have their groups perform both sides of the wall at the same time:

One class took the part work so far as to put all of their block together to create four walls.  They divided themselves into four groups.  Each group practiced their wall individually and then performed their wall for everyone.  After that, they tried clapping and saying all four of the walls together.  This was pretty tricky, but after a few tries they did it, they felt very successful and had a GREAT time figuring it out:

Of course this activity did produce some things I suspected.  Some groups did patterns:

Every class had at least one group that made a wall of rests:

This one was funny, it was their spin on the wall of rest:

And this group had a good time with all those tika-tikas!
This was a great learning activity for me.  It really reminded me of how much more I need to do with small group work, improvisation and composition!

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer

You guessed it, another Christmas song! :)  This one's for my 4th graders who are preparing syn-co-pa or ti-ta-ti (you can read my brief self-debate about this in the Deck the Halls post).  We all know the tune, but here it is anyways:

Here's the PowerPoint I'll use with them, text only:

The following are the preparation slides.  I mentioned this in previous posts, but I use the tie to teach ti-ta-ti, like I do with so many other rhythmic elements.  So, we first learn about "single ti's" and read patterns containing ti-ti  but written as single ti's.  From there we add the ties, as notated below:

Once ti-ta-ti is presented, the students will then read the rhythm from these slides:

My 4th graders won't be reading the melodic slides as they won't learn ti until 5th grade.  But they can read the first two measures (in isolation) for practicing do'.  In a year or so, when I've got my curriculum established, my 5th graders will be read these:

 I made some ti-ta-ti/syn-co-pa flashcards that are extracted from song literature that I use with my students (I don't do ALL of these songs every year and often times use other songs that aren't listed below)

This card includes
1. "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer"
2.  "Weavily Wheat"
3. & 4. Epo i Tai Tai

 This card includes:
1.  "Hill 'n Gully Rider"
2.  "I Got a Letter"
3.  "Lead Through That Sugar and Tea"
4.  "Alabama Gal" (Come Thru 'n a Hurry)

This card includes:
1.  "Big Bunch of Roses"
2.  "Black Snake"
3. & 4.  "Canoe Song"

This card includes:
1. & 2. "Duck Dance"
3. "Funga Alafia"
4.  "Caney Mi Macero"

This card includes:
1. "Lil' 'Liza Jane"
2.  "Rabbit Run"
3.  "Oboshinotentoten"
4.  "Shake the Papaya"/"Alabama Gal" (Come Thru 'N Hurry)

After the students have learned the songs, played the games/activities (where applicable), have successfully read the songs from notation and can read the flash cards above we will play the following song matching game.  Each of the Rudolph cards below will be cut along the dotted lines:

The cards below will also be cut out along the dotted lines.  Then, the students, either in pairs or small groups, must match the Rudolph Reindeer title card with the reindeer rhythm card below. For differentiation, you can challenge those advanced kiddos to perform this task alone.

This card's songs are "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Funga Alafia":

"Epo i Tai Tai" & "Hill & Gully Rider":

"I Got a Letter" & "Lead Through That Sugar and Tea":

"Alabama Gal" (Come Thru 'N Hurry) & "Big Bunch of Roses:

"Black Snake" & "Canoe Song":

"Duck Dance" & "Funga Alafia":

"Shake the Papaya" & "Rabbit Run":

I know not everyone can use holiday literature or might be teaching ti-ta-ti at this time of year, so I also made the exact same copies of these cards with pictures based on "The Canoe Song".  Here are a couple examples:

 This file is available for download on my Teachers Pay Teachers.

I hope you all had a great day back from Thanksgiving break!!
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