Who's That?!

My second graders are currently practicing half-note.  One of my favorite songs for half note is this song:

This song can be found in 150 American Folk Songs.  Its possibilities are endless!!  I've used it for solo singing, where one child sings "I am tapping at the window" by his/herself and another sings "I am knocking at the door."  I've used it as a vocal timbre (recognition) game with two students hiding or the class closing their eyes while two students sing the for mentioned parts.  The class then tries to identify the solo singers.  It also lends itself very well towards early improvisation.  (I actually learned this song from Jill Trinka and this is how she notates it in her third volume John the Rabbit) The students can create/suggest "who" is tapping at the window and at the door.  For instance, in October goblins, ghosts, witches, etc. were tapping and knocking.  In the past students have improvised famous athletes, fictional and non-fictional characters and real people (i.e. fellow classmates, teachers, etc).

This year, I made a new PowerPoint for the song.  I'll walk you through it, follow along! :)

It includes a slide from which the students sing the song:

It includes a slide from which the students will read the rhythm (later on in the year, after re is presented we will read the solfa of the song):

And here's the part that I'm excited about!!!  I have created a slide that has 12 doors.  The numbers on the doors are hyperlinked to rhythm slides.  The first four doors are linked to rhythms from known song and doors 5-12 include new rhythms that they will read.

There are various ways to "play" this with students.  First, the class could read them all together with the main purpose simply being practice.  Once the students have practiced this, you can "up the ante" but making it a competition between you and the students: if they say it correctly they get a point, if they don't you get a point.  Or you can use it as an assessment and have individual students or small groups of students read it.

So, to use the PowerPoint, click on the number of the door:

It will bring you to one of the various rhythm slides, as notated below.  Have your kiddos read the rhythm.  When you want to return to the main "door" slide, click on the key in the lower right corner and it will take you to that slide.

This slide is from Here Comes a Bluebird ("hey, diddle diddle day day day):

The one down fall is that it doesnt' immediately change the color of the number's text until you "open" another door.  It's PowerPoint's flaw, not mine, lol!!!  If you know how to fix this or make it work better please let me know, I'd love to know how to improve this!

Here are a few other sample slides:
This one is from Are You Sleeping ("brother John" and "ding, ding, dong"):

This one if from "Who's That?":
 This one if from Blue ("I had a dog and his name was Blue"):

Here's an "unknown" or new pattern:

And here's another sample of a new reading slide:

I'm going to try to upload some of the files that I post on here into "Box".  Please let me know if you are unable to download this file! :)

You "should" be able to download the file by clicking here. I initially tried to upload the file with MusicEd font but it didn't translate.  If you'd like the original file withe MusicEd notation please leave a reply with your email and I'll send it your way!  ;)

Have a GREAT Sunday!


  1. I absolutely love your blog even though we only wrote a paper on the Kodaly method back in college. I'm back to teaching full time this year after being home with my kids for the past 9 years. I'm having a tough time, to say the least. I'm not sure where to start with my curriculum and where it should go. I have CSOs that I have to teach each year, but I feel so overwhelmed. Did you come up with your yearly curriculum on your own over the years? Any tips?

    1. Thanks Anna! I'm envious that you were able to take time off to spend at home with your kids. I have a 2 & 5 year old and would LOVE more time at home with them!!!

      I love Kodály and it's methodology: I did my four levels at Portland State in OR with Jill Trinka, Susan Brumfield, Carol Brown & Sean Diebler. If you get the chance to take levels, do them with Susan Brumfield, you won't be sorry! In my opinion she's the best pedagogy teacher you can ask for. I also did two levels at Colo. State to get my masters. (level II with Sue Leithold-Bowcock and III with Ann Eisen, who were bother great teachers too!)

      I would highly recommend Ann Eisen and Lamar Robertson's book "An American Methodology" as a starting point, My curriculum is based mainly on the pedagogy I learned from Susan. I also use the American Methodology a lot. . . and I make sure that the CO state standard are being met, which happens naturally in the Kodály method.

      Kodály is a lot to take in, that's why it takes 3-4 years for levels. But teaching now is overwhelming: there's such pressure on assessments and performance outcomes. I totally understand how overwhelming it can be!

      If you're interested in trying to implement some Kodály into your classroom I would suggest taking it in baby steps. If you can take level one, take it. If you can't, pick ONE grade to focus on this year (I would do the youngest grade that you teach) and get the American Methodology and try it with that grade. If you teach out of a textbook for the rest of the grade levels for this year, so be it. Those were written with musical intent (while they aren't a "curriculum" per say) and will suffice while you're getting your "feet wet" in Kodály. I hope that makes sense! :)

      When I get that overwhelming feeling I remember a conversation that I had with Lamar Robertson. He told me when I brought him out for a workshop one time. He told me that his wife (who just passed this summer) always told him before workshop to "make them glad they came." Make sure that your kids are having a good time, that they are enjoying music. Music is an asethetic subject. .. . that is my main goal. All the reading and writing, while very important, are secondary to making music meaningful to the students. Being in a new school last year, I spent a lot of the year "baiting the hook"- doing things that would catch their interest and get them to trust me. Make what ever you do joyous and meaningful to your students. We all know that a very small minority of our students will go into a musical career, so give them the tools they need to make music a part of the rest of their lives: steady beat, singing in tune, the aesthetic qualities of music, how to be active listeners and a participating member of an audience.

      I would lay money on the fact that you're doing a great job, but we all know that we are our worst critic. .. and that's a blessing and a curse, huh?! :)

      You are always welcome to email me! Let me know if you'd like my email address!

    2. Thank you SO much for your reply and advice. I truly appreciate it and would really like to have your e-mail address, if you really don't mind ; )

    3. You bet, it's amy.j.abbott@gmail.com

  2. Hi Amy!
    I love reading your blog. I am a Kodaly teacher in Plano TX. Your manipulatives and ppts are very inspiring!! I don't know how you find the time to post about them!! Just wondering if your ppts are supposed to be able to be downloaded or do you just show them to inspire? I love them and would love to borrow but can't seem to figure out this one? Thanks!


    1. Hi Debi! Thanks for your comment! You should be able to download them- I put this one in box so try this link: https://www.box.com/s/27ixn2zkojb4jlzkykss
      If that doesn't work, leave your email and I'll send you any and all of the ppts that I have posted! :) I'm hoping I can get a "download" page going soon so everything will be more easy to access. I really believe in sharing, especially if it cuts down on our workload and improves instruction!! :) Please let me know if the link works. :)

  3. Hey Amy,
    Could you email this to me? I can't get into Box.
    Amy Swonger


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