Monday, March 24, 2014

What Does the Fox Say?? Ideas for a FOX themed lesson!

My students have been super into What Does the Fox Say? this year so I decided that the week before spring break would be "What Does the Fox Say? Day!" It is such a silly, but catchy song.  

Pinterest has been great for many "What Does the Fox Say?" ideas and I plan on using some of those (vocal exploration, orffestrations, etc.) and making an entire FOX lesson for all grades 1-6.  We are singing fox songs, composing or improvising fox sounds, as well as practicing all elements we would be anyways! 

Check out my lesson plans for 1st grade and 4th grade-  Grades 2,3,5,6 are similar to 4th with song lit that they are currently working on.  Both Lessons are 50 minutes.  

1st Grade: We are still prepping ta and ti-ti and s-m since I don't see my kiddos in Kdg.  We are super close to presenting both!
Video of What Does the Fox Say as students are entering the room.  Students sit in front of SB where movie is playing and can sing along until I stop it after the 1st verse.  

Greeting- Hello 1st Grade, Hello Miss Jencson (on s-m).  To individuals I sing Hello, How Are You and "What does the fox say?"  Each student gets to do the greeting today and make up their own silly sound that the fox says for the class to repeat. I have gotten many fun sounds from phrases like "I love you" to just silly noises similar to the video.  

Vocal Exploration on the SmartBoard-  I got this great vocal exploration file on Teachers Pay Teachers for free!  You follow the line with your voice from the tree picture to the fox picture. 

Goin' On a Fox Hunt- Exactly the same as bear hunt, or lion hunt, just using a fox instead.  We go up a tree, through a lake, through tall grass, through sticky mud, then into the cave where the fox is hiding.  On the way back instead of running all the way home, we stay up high in the tree where the fox can't get us, as it is very rare for red foxes to be able to climb.    The tree we are in happens to be an Apple Tree! 
Apple Tree-  We say the chant (I Climbed Up the Apple Tree...)and then play with the word rhythm- saying long and short-short, clapping the word rhythm, doing motions to the word-rhythm, etc.  Check out my TPT store for some beat/ wr charts including one for Apple Tree.  

Poison Pattern- The students just learned the poison pattern game recently and LOVE it.  This time, I made the poison pattern long, short-short, short-short, long and I have them repeat after me unless it is the poison pattern.  For the 1st two points (we play til 3) I say the patterns using long and short-short words but for their last point I play the patterns on the drum and they have to decipher.  

Starlight-Starbright-  The poison pattern is the 2nd line in Starlight-Starbright when PP is over, I have the students help me "put my flashcards that I dropped back in order".  At this level, there are only the 4 that are in the song in the wrong order on the board.  The students help me put the patterns in the correct order, realizing the PP was the 2nd line.  We then switch to High Low practice and show the High and Low notes of SL-SB in various ways.  I got a workout today because the boys always like to do push-ups.  

Do You Hear What I Hear?- This is a Smartboard game in which 1 student presses a picture of  music notes and a pattern is played on the piano.  The students have to match the recorded pattern with 3 choices shown on the board.  If they are correct, they move on to the next question with a GOOD JOB! slide, if they are wrong, a slide pops up that asks them to TRY AGAIN.  

The last pattern always matches a favorite s-m song they sing to Story Position.  I then sing and show them Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night.

If there is time at the end we play Musical Bumps to a recording of Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night.  Students dance to the music and when it stops, they sit.  The last person to sit is out. 

4th Grade: These students have just learned tika-ti and low la.   

Video of What Does the Fox Say as students are entering the room.  Students sit in front of SB where movie is playing and can sing along until I stop it after the 1st verse.  

Worksheet- Students have the chance to make up their own "What does the Fox say?" verse by composing an 8 beat rhythm, showing it to me, then adding silly words like "ring-a-ding-ding" or "wow-pow-pow".  After they have composed their rhythm they are asked to get out a xylophone or metallophone and practice the melody on the board (m-r-d-m-l, in F on staff, which is "What Does the Fox Say?" from the song) quietly.  When all are done, we work together to figure out the melody if they haven't already (I always give the 1st absolute pitch note, and many can read it anyways) we perform our new verses in rondo form with the melody from the board as the A section and the worksheet as the B, C, D, etc.  Get the worksheet from my wix site- just by clicking on the tab above and then clicking on "Blog Files."  

ORFF Aural Practice (2nd and 3rd skip this step and just perform in rondo singing the phrase the upper grades play) - I sing a m-r-d-l, pattern (same notes as used previous) and students echo back using the orff instruments.  Even though the students know high do, la and so I keep the aural practice with a small tone-set when they first learn a new note so they can feel and be more successful.  We will expand our tone-set with this activity as they get more comfortable with low la.  I do many random patterns of 4 beats each and end on m-m m-r m d which is the start of our next song. 

See The Rabbit Running (this is the song that changes- 2nd does We are Dancing, 3rd does Chicken on a Fence Post, 5th does Our Old Sow, and 6th Who Stole My Chickens and My Hens)- This one we get to from the instruments and sing as we put our instruments away.  We then play the Remote game with it where students switch from Words to Solfa (or rhythm depending on the grade) to Inner Hearing using my SB remote (which you can also get in Blog Files or For Colleagues on my WIX Site).  4th grade also conducts this song and then partner it with Old Mister Rabbit (another song with the same tone-set.) 

Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night- I read/ sing them the story, and then we listen to a folk version that has the fiddle that I found on Spotify.  We are just now diving deeper into the String Section so I use this as listening example for Violin/ Fiddle.   (For 2nd and 3rd this actually comes after the worksheet and then after we discuss other things the fox might eat which leads us to our next song.  Both sight-read the songs from the board- 2nd reads We are Dancing from staff notation, and 3rd reads chicken on a fence post in rhythm stick notation).  

Musical Bumps- Same as described for 1st grade lesson.  

Note: 2nd Also does "Goin on a Fox Hunt" and then sings "Apple Tree" (Apple tree, apple tree, will your apples fall on me) at the beginning of class before the story and worksheet.   3rd improvises using ta, ti-ti, and tika-tika on the drum as described in my previous post from the Amy Beegle Workshop.  

Monday, March 17, 2014

Workshop Fun- AOSA Cincinnati Amy Beegle Workshop

Reminder: Don't forgot to comment on my  Kindie Reggae post to win a free CD!!!! Giveaway is closed on March 21 (this Friday!)

2 weekends ago, I  attended a workshop with Amy Beegle from Cincinnati Consevatory of Music.  It was a great!  I got a lot of new ideas and was re-introduced to the Afro-Peruvian Music I posted about last year! 

We started with some simple warm-ups to warm-up our hearts, voices, bodies and minds.  We stretched, breathed, counted. Etc. 

We also did a new greeting chant that I loved that can alternate with the Hello song that I currently use to introduce many ways to say Hello in my class.  

The chant goes: Sorida, Que Pasa? Aloha. Guten Tag! Shalom, Good Day, Konichiwa, Paka! 

Students learn the chant and identify the languages and then put the beat in their feet and walk around the room while speaking.  The 2nd time through, students find a partner and tap hands, elbows, or other body parts (whatever teacher calls out) to the beat with a partner.  Then repeat! Very fun game.  

We then had story time where we read a great book called: The Way to Start a Day by Byrd Baylor. 

The book talks about how different cultures start the day using music.

After we read it once we were taught a mixed meter song by Amy and used it in a performance of the story.  To help with the mixed meter we used partners and said the word "beautiful" for the 3 meter and "sunrise" for the two meter.  She then led us to the ABAC pattern of the song she wrote.  (3 2 3 2, 3 3 2 2, 3 2 3 2, 3 3 3 3).   Many other songs could be used that are about a sunrise, greeting each other how music is important in our lives, etc. After we learned the song and read the story, Amy had various phrases of the book that we were to act out in groups using voices, sounds, and movement and the song was sung twice through-out.  I cannot wait to use this in 4th grade for our multi-cultural show this spring!  

After this we moved onto the Afro-Peruvian Music.  See HERE for more info, as this section was very similar to her workshop at OMEA last year. 

After our second break, read another story, Smokey Night by Eve Bunting ,

which was about the LA Riots.  To go along with the story we sung another song.  For this one, Amy wrote the text (A- Jasmine, Jasmine, you are my only cat. Jasmine, Jasmine, where can you be? Jasmine, Jasmine, you are my only cat.  Jasmine, Jasmine, come back to me   B-Where did you find her, under the stairway, How can I thank you, Just let it be! [in high and low voices to represent the boy and the fire-fighter]) to an example from Music For Children (Book 1, page... #2)  Orff instruments got the chance to accompany the A section of the song, and then for the B we did some instrumental improve in family groups (glockenspiels, metals, woods, small percussion, recorders, etc.)  The B Section was a question/ answer so the improve happened in pairs where one did the question (any thing they wanted in pentatonic) and the answer did anything as well with only one rule: that they had to end on our home tone do (in this case we were in the key of C). 

Next we did a little of Chicken on a Fence Post and had some fun improvising in Rondo form.  Some students played a bordun while singing, then other people made a line behind a conga to improvise for the B section, (and C, and D, and E, etc).  This was prepared by giving each type of rhythm in the song a new word (Crow, Chicken, Cock-a-doo-dle for ta, ti-ti, and tika-tika) and figuring out the rhythm of the song, then improvising on those words using body percussion.  Only when most students are successful with the length of phrases, number of beats, etc did she bring people to the instruments.  I am most excited about bringing this one back to my 3rd grade class because I just presented Tika-tika last week and it is a great way to extend practice! I have also used this same format in other classes since the workshop- fourth grade is doing the same type of activity with tika-ti.

Finally we had a goodbye song which Amy learned from one of her 5th graders.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Kindie Reggae- CD Giveaway!!!

Hey All,

This month I given the great opportunity to review a new kids music album coming out called "Kindie Reggae" by RHYTHM CHILD. The extra great part is that I was even a free copy to give away to readers! Check out the information below and listen to a few of the tracks here and if you would like to be entered in the giveaway please comment below with your favorite CD to use in your music classroom or even with your kids at home. I am always looking for new ideas for listening examples, brain breaks, etc. Giveaway entry deadline is March 21, 2014 and a winner will be announced the following week.

This CD is GREAT! There are 9 tracks, 8 of them original songs.  Even my Fiance, who is an architect with no kids as of yet, heard a few of the tracks and said- "What are you listening to? It's really good!"
Below I have a little blurb about each song- the notes in BOLD are taken from the CD info and the non-bold stuff is my opinion of the song.  Many of the lyrics in songs are geared towards pre-school and primary grades but all have great background music which can help older students in accompaniment projects, percussion ensembles, etc.
All You Need Is Love – soulful spin on a classic Beatles tune … passionate & emotional
This song reminds me of a lullaby version of the original song. It is a much slower version, but beautiful all the same. I love the back beat- just a simple percussion ostinato with other instruments sprinkled in.  This version does not have the complicated meter of the original which makes it great for younger kids to experience the song. Would be really cool to do a scarf dance with this for a Valentines Day activity (maybe next year!) or just as a great listening example through out the year to focus on treating each other with respect, etc. 
Get Up & Go – our anthem for healthy living … written for White House event
I like this one.  It is a little slower than I expected but still gives great ideas on how to live healthfully, exercise, etc.  There is even a kid rap section- very cute! This one would be great to incorporate into Jump Rope For Heart Week, Walk-a-Thon day, or other fitness activity days your school might have.  It is a really good speed for crunches (not too fast but not too slow).
Mother Goose Party – a real family mash up … each member takes a turn
This one has horns! Yay! There is a intro/ chorus and then family members take turns reciting mother goose rhythms (Little Bo Peep, Pease Porridge Hot, Jack Sprat, Wee Willy Winky, Cock-a-doodle-doo, Horse and the Flea, Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers, Little Jack Horner, Crooked Man, Little Boy Blue, and more!) This one is definitely geared toward Kinders and 1st grade- great for a brain break in these grades.
Music Time – a groovy call & response sing-a-long … with a sweet simple message
This would be a great entrance song for younger kids with the call and response of Rhythm-Child and Music-Time.  You could listen to the whole song every once in a while and then just do the chorus as an intro to class as they are walking to their seats.  Has a great message of listening to all types of music at all ages.
Play My Games – lively roots reggae lyric about family … in the spirit of love & togetherness Play My Games has verses loving many people in your family- brother, sister, whole family etc. and reasons why they are the best.  I like the background music in this one a lot.  The lyrics, as with many on the album are geared towards young kids (pre-school to 2nd or 3rd). 
Sprout The Positive – sincere, acoustic & percussive … message of hope for the future
This song tells the story of a "Sprout" growing as a seed from a big tree into a big tree and starting the cycle over again.  It tells us why we should "sprout the positive into a big tree" in our daily lives by doing good deeds, random acts of kindness etc. 
ONE Drum Tribe - compelling tale about pirates and drums … storytelling with a soundtrack
As stated in the CD notes- this track is a story told to music. The villagers use music to scare away the pirates :) Little ones would LOVE to color pictures to this song, act it out, and older students could even listen for how the music fits the story then write their own stories to other instrumental music (this can be a great lead-in to any genre of music from classical to hip-hop, reggae to pop.)
Reggae School – do you know where Reggae comes from? … a tribute to the music & history
This song gives a fun overview of Reggae history so it would be great in a unit of different musical genres.  It tells us why the melodies have a small range, and why percussion is the main form of accompaniment- because they are much more accessible to people all over the world.  "Out of Jamaica, to the rest of the land, Born from the drum of the African". 
Looking Over – powerful song with lingering optimism … we are never left alone. 
This one uses just un-pitched percussion and voices in harmony- very cool.  It has a great message of never being alone, even when we have lost someone we love because they watch over us from above.  This one does mention God, or as He is named in many Reggae songs "Jah" so if you work in a public school that is picky about mentioning religion be careful. 

Here is a little more info on the CD from the email I got:

The focus of Norm’s work is his family band “Rhythm Child”, an innovative platform that offers children meaningful music with an interactive component to bolster both health and developmental skills. Rhythm Child has received a
National Parenting Publication Gold Award, and their Instructional Drumming CD was recently spotlighted by the Academics' Choice Awards, an organization committed to honoring mind-building media.

“I greatly appreciate your helping to create so many lovely memories for families from across our Nation.”
~ Michelle Obama (after they performed at the White House for The Easter Egg Roll contest)

As Norm Jones (Rhythm Child) says, “I want to give kids a sense that the music is not talking down to them, and that it’s filled with flavor and realness.”

Some interesting things to know about Rhythm Child are:

  • The Academic Choice Awards stated that “Say It & Play It” (Rhythm Child’s previous release) helps teach and enhance skills such as following directions, sequencing, hand-eye coordination, and practicing use of both hemispheres. Listening to the music enhances health, relaxation and mental stimulation, spatial temporal reasoning, and improves memory.”
  • His children’s music furthers this esteemed tradition and has been best described as “John Lennon, Bob Marley, and Otis Redding playing a music festival on Sesame Street.”

  • Previous to Rhythm Child, Jones was best known for his work with the iconic band General Public with whom he toured with nationally and internationally, and appeared with on Arsenio Hall.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

4 Favorite Tim-ka (dotted-eighth sixteenth) Songs for Upper Elementary

Just thought I would share some of my favorite tim-ka (dotted-eighth sixteenth) songs for upper elementary.  My students have been LOVING these songs and games and that is not easy with this particular 6th grade group I have right now.  All of the songs have fun, but very different games, which keep the kids working hard during that particular "thinking" portion of the lesson (sight-reading, symbol recognition, diction games, etc) so that they can get to the movement game once the tough thinking is over- though many of the games, of course, also involve a lot of brain power with rhythm or solfa recognition, vocabulary, or even just remembering what certain game signals mean.

Who Stole My Chickens And My Hens-  This is a great (and tricky, once you get all the levels added in) concentric circle game (see picture for directions) with a fairly simple AABA rhythm (it uses only quarter note, quarter rest, and the tim-ka [dotted-eighth sixteenth] patterns).  I learned this game from Bruce Swank in my levels at Capital University in Columbus and it is a hit every year. (The picture for this song are from the Level 2 packet from Bruce- all other pictures in this post are from my personal Master Copy Retrievals).

Rabbit and the Possum- While the subject matter is a little serious (a rabbit robbing a possum) we talk about anthropomorphism (giving human qualities to animals in stories) and why people might have written this song in the first place.  The students LOVE both versions of the game.  This one is much more complicated rhythmically (great for rhythmic dictation!) but I incorporate that into my "Version 2 Game".   

Version 1 is played exactly like "Marco/ Polo."  One student is the 'Rabbit' and one is the 'Possum'.  The Rabbit is blindfolded and is trying to tag the possum- to find where the possum is in the room, the rabbit says "rabbit!" and the possum replies with "possum".  I usually play for 3 times through the song and if the possum is still not tagged, they win.   
Version 2 of the game is played like "Steal the Bacon".  The students are split into two teams and each given a number (there is a '1' on both teams, '2' on both teams, etc.)  The teams stand on opposite sides of the room in a horizontal line facing in toward the  middle.  In the middle of the room is a small object for the teams to race to.  The whole class sings the song and when it ends, the teacher calls out a number, ex. 4.  At this time, the 4 from both teams races to the middle to retrieve the object and get it back to their side of the room before getting tagged by the member of the opposing team.  I have decided as an extension that instead of giving numbers out, I will give each student a rhythm card (with a rhythm from the song) that they will have to decode before they can run to the middle, so instead of calling a number at the end of the song, the teacher would call out a rhythm- eg tika-tika ti-ti tika-tika ta.  At the end, each team can work together to put the measures of the song in order.   

Chase the Squirrel-  I use this song as an introductory square dance song.  The only verses I have documented from a source are "Round Up Four and Chase the Squirrel" and "Break and Swing and Chase the Squirrel".  I have added verses such as "swing your corner", "promenade", "allemande", "do-si-do", "grand-right-and-left", always with a "Round up" verse in between going up to round up 8 and then back down to round up for.  Once they are used to the formation and the basic steps, I do a promenade your corner verse where the corner becomes the new partner.  This song is a great spring board into other square dances (which my 6th graders are really enjoying this year).

Sei Sei Sei- This is a Japanese song where the game is just Rock-Paper-Scissors at the end (they prep on ocha-laka and "shoot" on HOI! which the boys really like to yell) Sometimes I play as I was taught where each student has a piece of paper and every time they loose they fold their paper in half.  Once it is folded 4 times they are out.  That tends to take a while though, so I also do "single-elimination".

ps. I decided to wait until it feels more like spring to do my WHAT DOES THE FOX SAY lesson.  The post is mostly ready, so stay tuned for warmer weather and a fun post of lots of ideas that relate to this popular song.  For a second, I thought this song might be on it's way out, but then I heard staff members, 3rd graders, and 6th graders all mention it within the past week so I think they will still enjoy the lesson a lot.  :)   Also stay tuned for a Kids Reggae CD Giveaway!!!