Three Things {Little Leaves are Falling, Echo Singing & Vocal Exploration}

Hi all!  I'm excited to be linking up with Aileen Miracle at Mrs. Miracle's Music room for this week's "Three Things".  It's actually two things I did last week and one from this week since I forgot to record it last week, lol!
First, my second graders have been prepping "la" and it will be presented this week. I only see them every 5th day so I need to choose song literature that has the current element that I'm teaching but also things I can bring back in the future.  This little round that I learned from Tanya LeJeune is great because we can isolate "la" in the first couple phrases but bring it back for reading "do" later this year.  This class was able to perform it as a two part round, yesterday's class was able to sing it as a 4 part round!


Second, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Call-response songs for warm-ups.  Not only does it give them a chance for active listening it also gives me a chance for a really fast and quick vocal assessment.  I sometimes will have them respond as a class or sometimes in small groups and often times as solos.  This little guy asked if he could be the leader!  So, why not?!

Finally, this was a fun vocal exploration that we did with both kinder and 1st grade.  I used my pig popper, she looks like this (and her name is Petunia, lol!):


One of the students pops the ball and the rest track the ball with their fingers and follow it with their voices.

Last week I also got to go on my daughter's kindergarten field trip to the Pumpkin Patch. Here's a selfie of us with her two buddies that were in our group:

And here's my little peanut on the wagon and in the pumpkin patch:

This is one of my favorite times of year: first, all things pumpkin are yummy but also the song literature and vocal exploration is so rich!  I can't wait to share some October fun things we're doing in my music class in the weeks to come!

Thanks so much to Aileen for hosting the linky party! Make sure to check out all the other fun posts that are linked on her blog post!


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Three Things {Students vs. Zombies, Plainsies Clapsies and Queen Queen Caroline}

I'm linking up again with Aileen Miracle at Mrs. Miracle's Music Room for the linky party: Three Things!


Here are three things we did last week in my classroom:

1.  I had a second graders request a Plants vs. Zombies game.  After toying with the idea I came up with a "Students vs. Zombies" game to practice so-mi.  (We're also prepping la with aural and physical prep right now, more on that in a bit).

So, I created interactive PDFs in which they could sing so-mi patterns from the staff or from stick notation.  As an extension, since they loved it so much, we did a stick to staff activity (or a staff to stick activity).  They saw the staff PDF and using flashcards had to work in a group of four to find the correct stick notation that decoded the staff notation on the LCD projector.  All members of the group had to agree on the correct answer before I would check it, that way there was cooperative learning going on.


Here's a peek at the PDF menu:
 And here's a peek at what one of the zombies brings up:
I will be making more versions of this game in the near future. :)

2.  To piggie back on Aileen's Plainsies Clapsies, my second graders played this game, but instead of bean bags we used footballs.  I mean, the Broncos had their season opener on Sunday so why wouldn't we, lol?!!!


 There was a very important rule: if they fumbled their ball they couldn't pick it up until the end of the song.  If you know the song and game, I didn't want anyone getting kicked in the head!

 I got the stuffed footballs at Oriental Trading last fall and we also use them for staff writing and for some of my interactive football games (when a group performs a pattern correctly they collect a football to tally their score.  It's quite silly but SO motivating!!)

3.  Queen, Queen, Caroline- my first graders are working on how many sounds are on a beat.  Using my large beat strips and foam crowns I bought from The Dollar Store, they put the appropriate number of crowns on the beat to represent the sounds.  The first and last line are different then the second and third lines so we used different colored beats strips to represent the form. This is 3/4 of the way through the song derivation.
I hope you all are having a great week!  Don't forget to check out all the other links on Aileen's blog for more teaching ideas!!!

Happy teaching!


a Kodaly inspired blog Amy Abbott Colorado music elementary teacher ideas files downloads
music a la abbott music education teacher resources teaching elementary kodaly musical concepts teachers pay teachers amy abbott musicalaabbott.com

Three Things {John Kanaka, Target Practice & 2, 4, 6, 8}

I'm linking up again this week with Aileen Miracle at Mrs. Miracle's Music Room for Three Things (that I did in my classroom last week):


So, first with 5th grade we're reviewing syncopa and prepping tam-ti (we're a little behind- we usually get to tam-ti in 4th grade).  So we sang and danced John Kanaka because it isolates tam-ti so nicely. Here they are:
This is an easy dance to teach.  I teach just the stomp and hand pattern first.  They get that really quickly. Then once they have it, we turn and face a partner.  By the time my kids have had me for a couple years they know that when I turn to my neighbor they figure out who theirs will be.  I'm a big believer of consistent systems in the classroom- THEY SAVE TONS OF TIME!!!  So, at this age I don't spend time having them figure out their partners, they can do it without stopping their singing.  At this point, they know the song so they take over the singing.  I can call "concentric circles" and they make a double circle.  I can teach the rest of the dance with calling the moves as they sing because they know the vocabulary.  Really, the only other things to add are the do-si-do and the step the the left.  They love this song and have a lot of fun with it!

My 3rd graders are practicing tika-tika (and prepping ti-tika) so I made a target practice game.  I really wanted to stretch them and get out of the "4-beat pattern practice" that we easily fall into. So, I made cards with 8 beat patterns in 2-meter.  They got into groups of 4 and each set of 4 got a set of 16 cards that they set out so they all could see them:
Then I would call a card and they would use a Nerf dart to "shoot" the target.  This group all thought they were correct- again, it's 8 beat patterns so many of them were similar.  Once they shot a target they'd hold it up and I would check and let them know who was correct.
When using Nerf "shooters" you have to pick out the right kind.  They'll stick to laminated cards, it's a lot of fun. You'll need the kind with the suctions on the top like these:


I do have the cards in my TpT store, I'll be posting the rest of the rhythm files tonight, as well as a bundled set.

With my first graders we're prepping ta ti-ti (one and two sounds on a beat). One chant that I LOVE for this is "2, 4, 6, 8" because 3 of the 4 lines are rhythmically different:



With this, we did a mini-contra dance.  The students were in two lines, facing their partner.


  1. On the first phrase they took 4 steps towards each other.  
  2. On the second phrase they shook hands. 
  3. On the 3rd phrase they pointed to their wrists where their watch would be (beats 1 & 2 of that phrase) and then pointed at the their partner on "don't wait."
  4. Finally, on the last line they took 4 steps backwards to their starting positions.
To change things up we said it different ways: "high like Mickey Mouse," "low like Darth Vader," slow motion, super fast, robot style, etc.  This was my way of getting them to do it more than three times without getting bored with it. :)

Thanks to Aileen for hosting this weekly link up!!!  Make sure to head over to her blog this week, she's having a celebration for reaching 3,000 followers on TpT.  If you're not following her make sure you are as she's having a followers only freebie on Thursday!!!

Have a GREAT week everyone!

a Kodaly inspired blog Amy Abbott Colorado music elementary teacher ideas files downloads
music a la abbott music education teacher resources teaching elementary kodaly musical concepts teachers pay teachers amy abbott musicalaabbott.com

Three Things {Build a Minion, Pete the Cat and Airjitzu}

I'm super excited about a new linky party that my friend Aileen Miracle has started!!!  It's called Three Things.  

Each week we'll be blogging about three things that we did with our students that really worked well in our classes.

So, here's a peek at three things that worked well and were SUPER fun in my classes last week.

First, with 5th grade we're reviewing fa so to make fa flashcard reading more fun, the class would read a pattern and then one student would come put a part on my brand-new "Build a Minion!"

I found this guy at Walmart this past August when my own two kids and I were visiting the toy section.  I knew I just had to have him to use as an incentive for flashcard reading.  He comes with two sets of goggles, two arms, two legs 3 mouths and a guitar.  I somehow, between my presentation in Amarillo earlier this month and the start of school, lost 2 of his mouths but we still have one so we made due.  The kids thought it was funny, especially one class that thought it was fun to put his arms where his legs went, his leg on his head and his mouth above his eyes.  Too fun and they did a great job reading!
Another new find this summer was my Pete the Cat Puppet on a Stick & Pen.  Really, who can't resist Pete?!  
My 1st graders used Pete (on a stick) to echo sing "Oh My, No More Pie" and then we transitioned into Pete telling little Pete (we called the big one Daddy Pete and the little one Pete's son) about Georgie Porgie Pudding Pie.  Daddy Pete would recite the chant in a low voice, little Pete would beg for daddy to tell it again (this was how the students learned the chant... also questions about the story being told).  Then, little Pete felt confident retelling the chant, and he said it in a high voice.  The students were then asked to say it like Daddy Pete and then again like Little Pete.  Then we mixed it up and Daddy and Little Pete tried to "trick" the first graders by switching between low and high voices.  This was a super fun way for them to review high and low and was a really great vocal warm-up towards the beginning of our lesson.

Speaking of vocal exploration and warm-ups, I was intrigued with this toy that my children bought at the Lego store with my husband this summer:

It's called an "Airjitzu"- it has a draw string that you pull.  The ninja in the capsule then flies up in the air and lands like a top.  I thought it would be fun for vocal exploration, so we tried it with my son's class.  I knew that I didn't want to use it with the littler kiddos, it's too sophisticated in getting it set up and I don't want to spend my class time putting together a toy.  So, this worked really well with my third graders.  Here's a little video of my son's best friend using it and his class following it with their voices.

It's a little hard in the previous video to see it work, this one didn't go as high but you can see how the Airjitzu works:

I hope that all of you who are back to school have an amazing week!!!  I hope to blog more often, at least once a week so if I don't blog before Sunday, I'll see you next week!


a Kodaly inspired blog Amy Abbott Colorado music elementary teacher ideas files downloads
music a la abbott music education teacher resources teaching elementary kodaly musical concepts teachers pay teachers amy abbott musicalaabbott.com

What's on Your Wall? {A Peek into My Classroom}

HI all!!!  I've been back to school for a week now so I'm late to the party.  Which party? The Linky Party, hosted by Tracy King, the Bulletin Board lady!!!


It's a linky party to show off how we've all decorated our classrooms for the year. Now, I'm going to be completely honest, I decorate my room at the beginning of the year and that's it.  I don't change out my bulletin boards, with my 2 kids, teaching full time plus teaching choir and two handbell choirs I don't have time.  It's not been until the last couple of years (thanks to the peer pressure of Pinterest) that I've started getting more into decorating my room.

So, my theme for this year is "We Are the Music Makers, We Are the Dreamers of Dreams."  This is my board, outside my room. (We don't have "bulleting boards" in our school but that staple wallpaper, so I can make this as big or as small as I'd like!)

This is the board along my back wall (forgive the before school mess on the risers!)

This is my self-assessment board.  I started this last year and I really like it!

I don't have a behavior chart, instead this is a self check in so if I have a kiddo that starts to get off task I can whisper in their ear to do a self check in.  Right next to that is my objectives. I tried to have ones that were preprinted and magnetic.  Those kept falling down so I'll be working on some velcro ones I can add to these but in the meantime, a vis-a-vis marker is used to write them down.

I really don't have all that much wall space, so this is squeezed between two windows (and with the bright Colorado days it's hard to get a good shot!
 Here's the top of it:
And here's the bottom:

Between the other windows are my hand sign charts.  I waved between posting these....
 Or posting these there.... I might post the body signs somewhere still, we'll see, lol!

I have my M-U-S-I-C behaviors signs at the front of my room.

By my desk I get more personal.  I have pics of my kids and some Bronco things.  These are done with intent- showing my interests helps build rapport with students and showing my sports interests really helps me connect with those boys, even if they aren't Broncos fans!! :)

Something I added this year was the cute cover to my lesson plan book. My set includes many different colors, I just like the orange! :)

All this can be found in my "We Are the Music Makers" Set on TpT (it includes WAY more than I've shown here!


If you'd like to visit more music rooms, or if you're a blogger, make sure to link up with Tracy King!!


   

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a Kodaly inspired blog Amy Abbott Colorado music elementary teacher ideas files downloads
music a la abbott music education teacher resources teaching elementary kodaly musical concepts teachers pay teachers amy abbott musicalaabbott.com


Musical Road Trip: Part Work (part 1)

Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope that you've been enjoying the "Blog Hop" that's been progressing over the past couple weeks!




 I'm so excited to be the 4th stop on the Music Road Trip!!  



I'm excited about the topic that I'm blogging about today and it's something that has been a goal of mine to incorporate more and more in my elementary music classes: PART WORK!  Now, for the purposes of this blog I'm only going to concentrate on rhythmic part work.  (I'll be honest, I started this post and it got REALLY long, lol!)  So, next week I'll finish it up with some melodic part work.

When I first first started teaching and heard part work I was a little overwhelmed.  And let's face it, part work, in which the students are performing independently in two or more parts, is a little daunting.  But, there is definitely a sequence and a hierarchy in which part work can be taught with success.

ESSENTIALS FOR PART WORK:
Before a teacher can expect students to be successful at part work they MUST do a couple of things. First and foremost, the teacher must sing FOR the students, not WITH the students.  This is the hardest skill, as a teacher, to do!  I know there are times when I want to jump in and "save the song" while the students are attempting to perform a song but it's so important to resist that urge.  By singing FOR them and NOT WITH them a teacher encourages musical Independence, which is the other key to teaching part work.  

These two concepts and practices, singing FOR the students and musical Independence, should be introduced when students are very young.  I begin this the first day of kindergarten with students echoing what I say.  Now, you could argue that a very simple echo or an echo song is not part work, but in a very primary way  it is: one part is the leader and one is the echo.  This starts to lay a foundation and set an example that the teacher and the students are separate.  (When you sing WITH the students the students not only aurally become dependant on your vocal model but subconsciously make a connection that the teacher's voice is NEEDED for them to be able to sing as a group).)

RHYTHMIC PART WORK:
As your kindergarten students, or students in any grade level, begin to learn song literature the simplest way to start incorporating part work is to have them keep a steady beat while singing a song.  This is a very primary way to incorporate part work but there are two things happening at the same time: singing and beat keeping.  This then progresses into the students tapping the rhythm as they sing a known song.

Once the students can sing a song and keep a beat and sing a song while tapping the rhythm it's time to combine the two.  I first do this by having the students sing the song and pat the beat while I tap the rhythm as they sing.  I like to have them pat the beat first because it is a bigger gross motor skill and for my visual learners (while they should in internalizing the beat) can also see the beat better than then rhythm and stay together as a group.  Once they can do this we switch, they tap the rhythm and I keep the beat.  From there, the teacher steps out of the picture completely, except to start the group, and one have taps the rhythm while the other pats the beat.  When this is done it's important to switch parts so that all students have the change to pat the beat and tap the rhythm.  Once students can do this, small groups then tap the rhythm and pat the beat or perform them on various non-pitched percussion instruments.  The more experiences and exposure to these types of activities early on the better!

After much practice of beat vs. rhythm I move into rhythm ostinatos.  The easiest is via body percussion with quarter notes (pat-pat-clap-clap, or some other simple beat pattern alternating between body parts).  The next is to incorporate rests into the pattern (ta-rest-ta-rest) and then add eighth notes (ti-ti ta ti-ti ta).  Once the first rhythm patterns have been presented, late practice is a great time for students to read rhythm ostinatos while singing known songs.  This is a great use for your 4 beat flashcards.  Pull one out that has a known rhythm

Rhythm canons are next in my sequence.  I start these by saying chants in canon with the students.  They start and then I come in second.  We do this numerous times before I start and they come in second.  The reason for this is that they need to hear when their entrance is by me modeling it.  After that we will use a song for the basis of our canon.  These are a little trickier.  Here's how I break it down.  The students will sing a song and then I start tapping the rhythm of the song that they're singing 2 or 4 beats after they start.  We then switch, but this is harder because they're hearing me sing and tapping something different.  From there, we do like before and split the class.  This can be done with known songs and with reading new, unknown patterns from a visual.  There are MANY variations that you can do with rhythm canons and Ann Eisen and Lamar Robertson go into it in great detail in their book, An American Methodology.

From there, we go into putting two songs together. One of my favorites is to have the students sing Apple Tree while I chant "I Climbed Up the Apple Tree."  We then switch and then the class divides in two and perform it without me performing a part.  Another example would be "Busy Buzzy Busy Bee" and "Burnie Bee".  

With all the skill listed above, as the students have more experience, the levels of difficulty can be increased.  This year I made a couple of files just for practicing part work.  The first one was the "Broken Hearts Club" and it was a cumulative exercise where first students would read small 4 beat patterns individually and then at the same time: 




After 4 beat patterns, they would read 8 beat patterns together (practicing them individually first):



And then finally 16 beats, individually practiced first and then we would put them together:

The thing I LOVED about this file is all the patterns are songs that we did in class: you'll notice above all the slides are the same songs- the blue is "The Canoe Song" and the red is "Black Snake."

The next file I made was this spring and my 2nd graders couldn't get enough of it. I'll admit, it was challenging though!  These are my Every Birdie Loves Rhythm Files.

Here they chose between a solo, duet or trio of rhythms.  If they chose a solo it was just a single 8 beat line.



If they chose duet there were two parts.  They'd practice part 1:

Then part 2:

Then put them together:  (This is Paw Paw Patch (purple) and Dinah (Orange.)  They LOVED figuring out which songs the rhythms belonged to):

And the trios has three parts.  Part 1:

Part 2:

And part 3:

And finally they put them together.  With the trips I started to mix known songs with contrived rhythms to keep them on their toes.  I had 3 of my 4 classes want to do only trios!  

I'll blog next week about some melodic ideas for part work.  If you have a blog post or product that talks about or supports part work (flashcards, etc.) please link up below!  All products linked up below are 25% off through Sunday morning.

My Broken Hearts Club BUNDLED SET will be 25% off in honor of this sale!



Thank so much for visiting the previous stops with Aileen at Mrs. Miracle's Music Room, Karla at C Major Learning and Jena at Sew Much Music.  Next Sunday we'll stop with Malinda at My Musical Menagerie before we come to our final stop (at which all the bloggers listed will blog about a little surprise!).




   

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a Kodaly inspired blog Amy Abbott Colorado music elementary teacher ideas files downloads
music a la abbott music education teacher resources teaching elementary kodaly musical concepts teachers pay teachers amy abbott musicalaabbott.com
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