Jingle Bells Dance

Confession time: I'm sometimes a Sunday night planner.  Okay, a lot of times I end up planning on a Sunday night.  Now, I have my year, trimester and month plans scoped out of what I want to teach.  What I find myself on Friday nights doing is putting down how I'm going to teach it and the song literature and activities that go with that.

My first are practicing ta & ti-ti and of course "Jingle Bells" a good song for isolating ti-ti ta ti-ti ta on the "jingle bells, jingle bells" part.  Now, pardon my rush but the only version of Jingle Bells on my computer is in augmentation of how I sing it and have my kids read it:

We're going to be doing some reading work of ta ti-ti in the high concentration portion of the lesson and deriving the ti-ti ta ti-ti ta on "jingle bells, jingle bells" is going to be my transition into the "change of pace" portion of the lesson, which will be a dance that goes to Jingle Bells.  

There are two ways that I do this dance.  The easier version uses a parachute and the more advanced version has concentric circles with partners.

Here's the parachute dance directions:
Formation: circle, everyone holding on to the parachute.

Verse (32 beats total)
Beats 1-4: heel-toe-heel-toe with the right foot (dashing through the snow)
Beats 5-8: four slide steps to the right- like a side-ways gallop (in a one horse open sleigh)
Beats 9-12: heel-toe-heel-toe with the left foot (o'er the fields we go)
Beats 13-16: four slide steps to the left. (laughing all the way)
Beats 17-32: repeat the first 16 beats

Chorus (32 beats total)
Beats 1-2: with parachute in hands, three pats on feet to the rhythm (jin-gle bells)
Beats 3-4: three pats on knees, to the rhythm (jin-gle bells)
Beats 5-8: four pats at waist, to the beat
Beats 9-16: lift the parachute over the head.  I call a color and those students with that color let go of the parachute, turn around in place and re-grab parachute.  Now, if your students are really careful those students on the colors called can run under the parachute to another spot of that same color.  This is the FUN way to play! ;)
Beats 17-32: repeat the first 16 beats.

When I do this with older kiddos we do it in a concentric circles.  

Formation: concentric circles, facing partners (one in the outside circle, one in the inside circle)

Verse (32 beats total)
Beats 1-4: heel-toe-heel-toe with the foot that leads in the counter-clockwise direction.  This is the right foot for the outside circle and the left foot for the inside circle (dashing through the snow)
Beats 5-8: four slide steps counterclockwise- like a side-ways gallop (in a one horse open sleigh)
Beats 9-12: heel-toe-heel-toe with foot that leads in the clockwise direction (o'er the fields we go)
Beats 13-16: four slide steps clockwise. (laughing all the way)
Beats 17-32: repeat the first 16 beats

Chorus (32 beats total)
Beats 1-2: with right hands, partners pat each other's hands three times to the rhythm (jin-gle bells)
Beats 3-4: with left hands, partners pat each other's hands three times, to the rhythm (jin-gle bells)
Beats 5-6: with both hands, pat three times as in the first two steps.  **This will NOT match the rhythm
Beats 7-8: clap own hands three times.  **Again, this will NOT match the rhythm
Beats 9-16: join hands with partner and do a full circle turn
Beats 17-32: repeat the first 16 beats, with the exception that in the last step, after the full circle turn everyone takes an extra step to the left and then has a new partner.  This has a really nice flow and even the older kids enjoy it!

Have a great day!

Santa's Lost His Jingle Bell Stick-to-Staff Activity

I recently posted some Polar Express melody files and in those I included a sets of flashcards that have jingle bells and a set that Santas on them.  My second graders are preparing do but we're also still practicing and reinforcing re, especially in the s-l-m turns and m-l intervals.  When I was creating the file it dawned on me that it would be fun to do a stick to staff matching game.  This week we used them during whole group instruction with the goal of doing it again in small groups.  

Now, I know that reading stick notation is easier than staff notation but since we're in late practice of la, I wanted to drill some staff reading.  So, first the classes sang through the flashcards written on the staff.

Next, I showed them a stick notation flashcard.  Now, at our staff meeting this week we talked about wait time. I'm HORRIBLE at wait time.  With such a limited time of seeing the kids I feel a constant pressure to squeeze as much as I can into each and every second of a lesson.  But when I do this I rob my students of processing time.  So, this is what I tried with this activity: instead of raising their hands when they saw the matching staff card, I had them point to the card on the floor.  I was able to get a rough idea of which card they were pointing and it gave them ALL time to think, process and check their work.  And really, it didn't take all that much longer!

Here's a sample of what it looks like to match the stick to staff cards:

Here's one of my 2nd grade friends matching the card.  After each match we did a "thumbs up/thumbs down" signal to check our work.

I love how my buddy in the blue is helping his friend:

The whole matching activity, from start to finish of reading the flashcards and matching the card to each other took about 5 minutes, perfect for a 2nd grader's attention span and they felt so accomplished.

Have a GREAT Weekend everyone!

Yankee Doodle

Hi everyone!  I hope you had a GREAT Thanksgiving!  I'm going to be breaking out the seasonal songs and games with my kids this week.  We have a little less then 3 weeks until Winter Break with one of those days being a late start.  So, I will see my Kinder-3rd graders 3 times and my 4th & 5th graders 4 times.  There's not really any time to start any new conceptual learning so this time will be spent with a lot of reinforcement of known concepts and a lot of prepping and repertoire building for when we get back.

My 5th graders are currently prepping ti.  This is the EARLIEST I've ever been able to do ti and I'm quite giddy.  They will also get to at least tim-ka (dotted eighth-sixteenth) before May and that too makes me giddy.  I have NEVER taught tim-ka!!  This is in part to it being my 3rd year with the majority of the kiddos and the other I really believe is that I'm teaching children who speak my same "native tongue."  You see, I worked in a "bilingual" school for 10 years prior to being at Red Hawk.  Bilingual is in quotes because it really was an English-language acquisition school.  90-94% of the students' first language was Spanish which means, with me being an English speaking teacher, they were learning in their second language or in a language which was new to them.  As much as I tried to learn repertoire that I could use in my teaching that was from their culture it couldn't replace the fact that I did not grow up with that musical language.

Wow, that was a tangent!

At any rate, back to ti.  My fifth graders are preparing ti, which means we're singing and playing and moving and creating with a lot of repertoire that includes ti.  This brings me to Yankee Doodle.

Mallory Harrison, our past ROCKE president, learned a hand clapping pattern at the OAKE National Conference last year at one of the sessions that she attended.  At Susan Brumfield's ROCKE workshop last year she briefly showed it to me.  I'm not sure if I remembered it correctly but here's the gist:  she learned it to Yankee Doodle (which, there is a fun play party for this song in "The Handy Play Party Book".  If you don't have this book, buy it for yourself as Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa present, you deserve it!).

Here's the "A" section, I'm sure you all know the song:

The hand clapping pattern, facing a partner, goes:
right hand (of partner)
clap (own hand)
left hand (of partner)
clap (own hands)
both (hands of partner)
clap (own hands)
both hands with partner, with inter-linking fingers.  (weave fingers like you are "folding" your hands, then twist your fingers so that they are towards you and your palms go to your partner).
back (against own hands)

Then the pattern repeats.  The 7th step is the hardest (and the hardest to explain)

This was a lot of fun, but we like to kick things up in the music room, so after the finger-weaving pat they changed partners (we were in concentric circles).

Here's a little video of one of my 5th grader classes so you can better see it:

I hope you all have a GREAT week!
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