Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Tuesday Book Club- Where, Oh Where, is Santa Claus??

This is a short post today, highlighting one a favorite winter books that I use for movement exploration in K and 1! -

First I read the book while students listen and identify movement words (clip-clop, hip-hop, shake, etc.)

Next, I read the book again and we act it out!  Each page has a non-locomotor movement, and then the last couplet of the page, we use a locomotor movement to find a new spot in the room.  We gallop, hop, shake, bear crawl, push and pull, kick our feet, and more with this fun book.

The Locomotor movements for each page are:
Clip-Clop ~ Gallop
Hip-Hop ~ Hop
Flip-Flop ~ Seal Walk (using just arms, drag legs behind you).  If your room isn't big enough OR your students can't handle the seal walk, you can also have them pretend their arms are flippers and walk upright to a new spot.
Pit-Pat ~ Tip toe (like you are walking quick and light on snow)
Thump-Bump ~ Bear Crawl (Crawl with out your knees touching the floor)

During the "Look, Where? See? There!" page I have students sit, so that on the next page, where Santa's feet are flailing, they can kick their feet up in the air like described.  We then stand and HEAVE HO (push and pull) and finally gallop one more time back to our seats as Santa and the reindeer go WHOOSH, AWAY!

Get the book HERE

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Themed Winter Lessons for the Littles

I LOVE winter lessons.  The Nutcracker is my favorite (see my Nutcracker post HERE) but really I love all things winter.  This year, being at a new school my winter lessons for K + 1 all have a mini theme that continues our curriculum but is still super fun and relates to the festive season (you will see that the Nutcracker is incorporated into almost all of them though)  Each 30 minutes lesson, similar to first steps, has a vocal warm-up/ exploration time, simple songs, a winter song tale, an instrument or  movement (sometimes movement exploration, sometimes beat keeping movement, sometimes an action song, etc.).

One of my favorite themes from this year was BELLS!

First we say Engine, Engine into the room (my K and 1 do this EVERY class) and I pull out my sleigh bells and tell them we are taking the train to the North Pole.  We say it two times while I play the bells and then have a seat.

Vocal Exploration- Students repeat after me making bell sounds and then some of them get to be the leader.

Jingle Bells- we then talk about the instrument and things we notice and discuss if we know a song related to bells.  Of course, at this age, they say "Jingle Bells!" I sing the full song with this book (but any version would work). We then pass out the student bells and 1/2 the class plays to the beat at a time and then we switch.

Carol of the Bells- Next we watch Carol of the Bells by Pentatonix and discuss this other fun Holiday Bell song.  Every time we are preparing for movement, we watch and listen to the song first- sometimes I then change the version and have them notice what is different- sometimes it is the exact same song. 

Next, we get out the ribbon wands and move our bodies to the Transiberian Orchestra version of Carol of the Bells.  I always show the synced Christmas Lights video during this, as well.  See below for my routine. 

Other great versions to watch and listen to are the Lindsey Stirling version, as well as just the classic carol. 

Finally, I read There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell! - I sing this story to help calm our bodies after the ribbon routine. 

Here are some more themes I have done this year with a list of ideas!

Winter Wonderland Vocal Explorations - you can get them HERE 

Snowflakes song- with glockenspiels to beat.  Some students can be snowflakes with their bodies.
Watch the Waltz of the Snowflakes from the Nutcracker
Scarf movement to Waltz of the Snowflakes from The Nutcracker 
Frosty the Snowman Book to calm our bodies 

Nutcracker Vocal Exploration Lines- there are a few on TPT which you can get HERE
Watch The Story of the Nutcracker in Less than 5 Minutes - I LOVE this version because students get an abridged version of the story, but still see dances!

Stretchy Band Routine to the MARCH (show the form!) - I got this idea from twitter :)
     A section - march in a circle
     B section- 4 slow steps in then 4 slow steps out (2x)
     C section- T calls a color and the students holding that color run and switch places
Watch the Russian Dance- I love the version below! My boys are always so impressed!

"Decorate the Room" To Russian Dance.  We "throw decorations" on all the accents, hang ornaments and lights, and more! I just tell a story to fit the music as we are doing it. Kids love it- especially "throwing lots of glitter" during the bridge :) 

Dreidle Song- If you have time, learn how to play the game! 
"Ice Skating" on Plates to Waltz of the Flowers from the Nutcracker or the Skaters Waltz
Russian Dance from the Nutcracker- Plate Routine - see a video of this routine HERE
OR Chinese/ Tea Dance from the Nutcracker- Ribbon Routine
Use this post for more information on Winter Holidays around the World!

What are your favorite Winter Themes?? 

Monday, November 5, 2018

Students as Teachers- Learning through Leadership in the Music Room

So, the other day I had a student say he could teach the class. He was kind of being a smart-aleck but I decided it might be fun to let him try.  This class was already ahead of the others because they come on days that we don't have off very often so I told him he could teach the following day.  We laid down some ground rules, such as the lesson had to be musical, and allowed him to plan.

How did it go?  Well, he kind of repeated my lesson from the previous day (I see my kids 2x a week for 30 min each) BUT students were still singing and practicing rhythms.  They were having fun.  The best part- it was AMAZING for building relationships with my students.  I sat with the class and only stepped in as Teacher when I felt it was necessary and helped with writing things on the board. Other than that- Mr. C led the class. They all loved it and are now asking when they can be the teacher. I think it may be an experience some of them- and especially Mr. C- will remember for a while.

While, I can't have a different student teach every class- you know, with all the content and standards I need to get through in my short time with kids, this experience got me thinking of how I could have students be the teacher more in my room.  How can they help other classmates learn?  It might not be a whole lesson, but there are definitely ways to allow your students to lead each other and learn together (aside from the usual class jobs, etc).  Some of my ideas are below.

Students lead warm-ups or solfege/ rhythm games that I have already introduced.
Once students are solid on a game, it is so easy to have them be the leader.  Students can lead rhythm tic-tac-toe, human piano, solfege or rhythm echos and so much more.  You can also have students conducting, starting off songs, and leading/ explaining instrument parts! Do you see an expert? Have them share!

Students make a game or teach a favorite song.  Not just the words, but the concepts. For this, students can take a song they already know and think of a fun way to teach it that emphasizes a music concept- whether it be solfege, rhythm, dynamics, articulation, or anything else. As music teachers, we are always doing this- why not let the kids try as well!

Group Projects with a presentation at the end.  Flipgrid?* Lead a lesson? Video for a substitute?  Group projects are a great way to allow students to become the expert on a topic and share with their class.  I love having students research and then teach- especially with families of the orchestra, genres of music, and broad musical concepts like Dynamics or Tempo. Students can present directly OR make videos.  I love having students make videos because they can be used in so many ways. Once the videos are made they can be presented to their class, kids can watch at home, OR videos can be saved as a great sub-plan where the sub plays the video and then the groups dive deeper with their class, thinking of an activity to practice what ever topic was presented on.

Fourth grade is currently working on a project where they choose a big musical concept (dynamics, tempo, mood) and make a "music  minute" video a la Megs Music Room on youtube and then also have to come up with an activity to help reinforce the information learned in the video they made. They may make a video on Tempo (including accelerando) and then make up a routine to In the Hall of the Mountain King.  Or make a video on how to remember lines and spaces on the staff, and then have their class do staff relays to review. They are LOVING it. 

PS. If you haven't watched any Megs Music Room videos- do it! They are great!

Student teachers for younger grades. Your students will LOVE coming into a younger grade and teaching a song or concept that they remember from the past.  See if they can come in at recess- or even (gasp!) miss a part of another subject to come in and teach a favorite song and game that goes with it.

Enjoy these ideas and let me know yours below!
*See more on FLIPGRID here

Friday, October 26, 2018

#FlipgridFever Using Flipgrid in the Music Room

Ya'll! Have you tried Flipgrid?  If not- you need to NOW! It is seriously the best! It is so easy to use, and it's FREE!

What is flipgrid?  Flipgrid is a website where you can make "grids" for each class and then topics within each grid where students can record videos. Once they are done with the video, the are asked to "snap a selfie" and can add stickers to it.  This is what others see when they pull the grid or topic up. I have a grid for each grade, and then topics within each grade to break it down even more.  You can set the privacy settings differently for each topic.  Grids can be public, accessible within a certain email domain, or even accessible only with a code. 

I use it mostly for projects.  Some projects my students have done with flipgrid are Parodies, instruments of the orchestra, and more.  For the parodies, students wrote a parody and then recorded it using flipgrid.  Then others had the opportunity to respond to the parody to guess which original song was used.  This was a 5th grade GM project and they loved it. Some ended up just singing their song, while others got really into the video aspect and made up dance routines to go along with their music! 

For instruments of the orchestra, 3rd grade students worked in groups to research a family of the orchestra then used flipgrid to record a mini-lesson describing their family.  They could also upload attachments like slideshows or google docs to accompany their lesson. Students then watched the videos and learned about all the families of the orchestra from the experts in their class!  This was great before our trip to see the Columbus Symphony! After the field trip, we were able to record reaction videos saying our favorite songs or other favorite parts of the concert.  While everyone can respond and reply to videos- the teacher can always set each grid or topic so that approval is needed before a video is posted AND teachers can leave private feedback/ grades. 

I also use flipgrid to allow students to give each other shout-outs when they do something awesome or kind in class.  Each student recorded a video of just their name and then others can reply to this name video with a shout-out.  Students shout-out to each other for great singing, kind acts, awesome instrument patterns, being a good sport, and more. This has been a great way to build community in each class and grade.

Many music teachers use flipgrid for playing tests as well.  It is awesome for recorder karate and rainbow ukulele (or similar programs).

In addition to all the awesomeness from above, guests can be invited now! Make a highlights topic or grid and invite guests to view while keeping most your grids/topics private to the class.  This is an amazing feature that I am so excited to be using.  It is a great way to show off to parents and community members what is happening during music without making EVERY video or topic public!

If you want more ideas on how to use flipgrid you can check out their blog OR their "Disco" (discovery) Library where teachers from all over have posted grid topics they are using in their class.  You can search by keyword, subject, and level (elementary, middle, high, etc.). There are some awesome music topics in the DL. I found a 2 minute opera scene topic that my students will be doing soon!

Do you have #flipgridfever? Be sure to add me as a #gridpal!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Tuesday Book Club- In the Hall of the Mountain King

It's October! It's Fall! It's My Birthday Month!

One of my favorite stories to do in the fall is "In the Hall of the Mountain King".  The version I read is adapted from Henrik Ibsen by Allison Flannery, Illustrated by Vesper Stamper and, of course, includes the music by Edvard Grieg.

When I introduce this story/ song, first I show the doodle chaos video.  Students LOVE this video.  As we are watching I ask them what they notice about the song. Because the movie is kind of funny, I am sure to remind them I want to know what they notice about what they HEAR not what they see.  We talk about dynamics, tempo, orchestration and more in grade level appropriate terms.

After we watch the video, I then read the book.  We have a short conversation about how the story might fit with the music and then, the fun part, we get to act it out.  I read the story again, as students are up and walking through the forest, entering the castle, looking around, and then running from the Mountain King (all to the rhythm of the song).  If it gets to crazy, I tell the students that we need to hide frozen like a statue in an open doorway of the castle and we freeze silently and look side to side to make sure the King doesn't see us.

Students, and I, LOVE this activity and ask for it again and again and again. Have fun!

Get the book HERE

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

No One in the House but Dinah

I thought today that I would share one of my favorite 16th notes/ re songs!

Dinah used to be a song that students didn't like as much, because it was a song that we just sang beautifully. I know these types of songs are important, but as is typical for 3rd and 4th grade, students would always ask what the "game" was. 2 summers ago, however, I took my Orff Level 1 and wrote a super fun orff arrangement to this song and students are loving it!

Because I only see my students 30 minutes at a time (2x a week) I typically add one instrument part each week. I like to let every single student try it out so it can take up about half the period.  They LOVE at the end when we can put all the parts together!

To prepare the orff patterns, we play them "on our bodies" first and match the placement.  For the bass line, we tap our legs- hands together.  For the alto xylophone part, we tap our clavicle- alternating hands, and for the tambourine part we snap.

Each part is slowly layered in over time and students are encouraged to speak the patterns (see the words in the PDF picture) and do the body percussion even when it is not their turn at an instrument. When we put it all together we split into groups and do the same. 

Especially this year, my students are super excited to play and get the patterns correct.  They haven't played their orff instruments much in the past (it's my first year at this school) and it is really fun for me to get to see them improving each time.

Check out the arrangement and try it for yourself!  When you click the link it will make a copy of the pdf arrangement just for you! DINAH ORFF

I also just recently did learn a game for this song (thanks Facebook!).  Students stand in a circle while one closes their eyes in the center.  The teacher then chooses (silently) two students to make a gate the center student can escape from.  The gate students separate a bit and then DO NOT SING when the song starts.  Still with closed eyes, the center student must try to escape from the circle by the end of the song by listening for where there is a gap in the sound.  This game only works if ONLY the gate students do not sing.  My students have been really enjoying this game, and even reluctant singers join in to ensure the game goes off with out a hitch.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Tuesday Book Club: Bom! Went the Bear

Welcome to another Tuesday Book Club! This weeks post is all about Bom! Went the Bear by Nicki Greenberg.

Get the book HERE

From the back of the book:
              Bear loves to play his big bass drum, and march around like he's 
              king of all the land.  It's so much fun that soon he's joined by 
              all manner of animals. But with so many musicians determined
              to perform, is there room for Bear to march to the beat of his 
              own drum?  A joyous celebration of music and play. 

This book is so adorable.  It is great to introduce kids to many animals and instruments. There is a lot of onomatopoeia in the book as well many of our kindergarten comparative words like quick-quick, s-l-o-w, high and low.  At the end it also shows a great example of a decrescendo by repeating the same words over and over but printing them smaller and smaller to give the impression that the animals are playing quieter as they are moving away.  

I have read this book to my K and 1st graders and they loved it.  We are going to be doing vocal explorations with it next class where they echo some instrument sounds or reveal what they think some of the instruments should sound like.  

This book would also be great for a sound story for older students.  There are lots of opportunities to add in different sounds- even if the instrument students choose isn't the exact instrument in the book. It would be a great way for students to be creative to show different musical concepts.  

What are your favorite vocal exploration or sound story books? 

Check out the new Tuesday Book Club tab at the top to see more great ideas for books to read and resources to use in your music room!