Thursday, January 31, 2013

Multi-cultural Fun- Trip to Japan

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Every Year my fourth graders do a multi-cultural performance and showcase dances and instruments from around the world.  On Thursdays I hope to feature some of the activities we use.  All of the activities are used to teach either a rhythmic or melodic concept as well as connect my students to music from across the globe.  They are not always initially taught in fourth grade, but sometimes earlier and then brought back for other concepts.

The two examples today are usually taught in 3rd grade when we are working on ti-tika and then the song, Oki Na Taiko, is brought back in fourth for low so.  I bring back the chant just for fun as a random rhythm in fourth when we are doing Taiko drumming at the same time.

Oki Na Taiko is a song I use to teach ti-tika as well as low so.  After the song is taught, we do a rondo with different taiko drum patterns I have gotten from various sources over the years.  We watch a video of taiko drumming on YOUTUBE and look at the technique. The video linked here is a Japanese 6th grade class drumming. We then use 5 gallon buckets from Home Depot and rhythm sticks to drum.  I hope to soon make stands and make the drums look and feel a little more authentic.  The kids LOVE drumming, but you have to make sure only 5-7 people are drumming at a time if your room is anywhere near other classrooms because it gets LOUD.  I tend to do: A is drumming, B is Singing in Japanese, C is Singing in English, and D is singing in solfegge.  I have four rows in my room so it works perfectly with the rondo format so everyone gets a chance to drum.

Omotchio is a chant I got this summer from fellow Kodaly Graduate Jaime- Thanks! The chant imitates the process of making Mochi. Mochi is a type of sweet rice paste that is made by pounding the dough with large hammers and then kneading it.  Check out this Mochi Making video to see some really fast mochi making.  Be sure to watch until the end!

The hand clap game imitates the motions seen in the video, and the translation describes the dough making process.  This is a very fun, yet complicated, hand clapping game that the students seem to really enjoy.  It also looks really impressive when done in a program!  I taught this in fourth grade today and one of my Japanese students was very exited to help demonstrate because he has done the game in Japanese school before.   Very Cool! (He also affirmed that I was pronouncing the words correctly, which was good (-: )

Here is the game:  Children are in partners

One Child claps the beat vertically the whole time
Child B follows these actions:
Phrase 1: Claps the beat alternating below and above A's hands.
Phrase 2: Claps "Pet" below A's hands, "tan" between A's hands, then "ko" below A's hands.
Phrase 3: B begins with hands together.  The right hand makes a circular mvmnt btwn A's hands on "Konete"
Phrase 4: B follows this pattern with A's hands- below, between, above.  above, between, below.  below, between, above, between, below, between, above.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Valentines Day Activities!

Here are a few activities I do for Valentines Day every year.
The 5th and 6th grade lesson is a 3 part lesson, the others I can squeeze in one class, or expand.

5th and 6th Grade Valentines Day!   Writing a Valentines Day Song :)

Lesson 1:  I have 6 Valentines day rhythms on the board.  Sayings like Be My Valentine, Box of Chocolates, and Here's a Dozen Roses For You! Each is put to a rhythm that is four beats long. Check out the dropbox link to get the rest and the rhythms I use.

Students sing "I Got a Letter" and make their 4 bar phrases an interlude to make a rondo.  They write their four bars on a worksheet and I save it for the next week.

Lesson 2:  Student get out their worksheets again, and this time, I give them the chord progression (we are learning about I, IV, and V chords now) and they add solfegge to each measure.
My Chord Progression is: I IV V I but you could do whatever you want.  We sight read a few as a class, still in rondo form with "I Got a Letter"

Lesson 3:  Student convert their songs to the staff.  (This could also be for homework... if you give homework).  Finally we project a few and read them from the board.  I have a document camera that works great for this.   :)

1st and 2nd Valentines Day! Quarter Notes and Eighth Notes

The First and second graders sing "I Hope!" from Game Plan-Grade 1 and one student walks around with an envelope full of Valentines day words.  There are words like "Chocolate, Valentine, Candy Hearts, Be mine, etc"    If a student is tapped on the last beat of the song, they get to pull a word out of the envelope and decide which rhythm it matches.    

I  have a big chart in the middle of the floor where they can place their word.   There are at least two words for each rhythm.  Depending on where 2nd grade is, I add more rhythms to practice quarter rest patterns as well.  Click here for a worksheet your students can do with this activity. 

These activities can definitely be altered for other grades as well.  Feel free to add your own phrases, and change the lessons up a bit :)  All of the Valentines Day words and the worksheet are in the same dropbox file:  

Enjoy and Happy February! 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Don't Laugh At Me- Sung by Peter Yarrow

Ok. My plan for the blog is to really expand and do themed posts on certain days.  Monday will be and idea from my classroom based on an American folk song, Tuesday a story book, Wednesday a product review, and Thursday a multi-cultural song or idea.  At least one post a week will have a pop song written in solfa to guess or use in your classroom :)

This week, because I just thought of this idea yesterday, I switched the product and the Story Book. Check out yesterdays post about beat blocks.  I will try to post Friday about a Folk Song, to make up for Monday.

The story book I chose for this week is "Don't Laugh At Me" Sung by Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul, and Mary fame).  He also did a forward.  The book is by Steve Seskin and Allen Shamblin.  The ISBN is 978-1-58246-058-1.   The book comes with a 2 track CD- one with Peter Yarrow singing, and one that is just instrumental for you or your kids to sing along with.   I love books that you can SING with your class, and ones that they can go home and find on Youtube or Amazon.  Take a look at this youtube video of Peter Yarrow singing.

This is a GREAT anti-bullying book.  It talks about how people may look or feel different but that we are all special for being good at different things.  This book has made some adult aids in my room cry at times.  The kids are ALWAYS really responsive to it.  One First Grader even told me "In the yearbook last year I saw that you had pink hair in a picture and I didn't laugh at you, even though it was different" :) That was for Pink Ribbon Day in October.

Anti-bullying has been a theme this year at our school during what we call Wilson Way Days.  These are days where we meet as cross-grade level groups and have a lesson, and then split up in the afternoon for SPARKS activities (the kids get to choose a community-member led activity that interests them such as duct-tape crafts, science experiments, or a foreign language.)   This book fit in great the weeks leading up to and after our 1st Wilson Way Day in December and I showed it to every grade 1-6.

The song is such a powerful lesson for kids.  :) Check it out!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Lego rhythms

I'm back! Holiday shows and musical casting happened, but I am going to be posting at least once a week. OMEA is next week so I am hoping to post a lot with ideas from workshops.  My goal is also to start to get theme posts going as well. 3 posts some weeks: the 1st an idea from my classroom (game, Smartboard file, song); the 2nd a product review (books, manipulatives, instruments) and the 3rd a storybook review. There may also be a pop song challenge at the bottom of some posts written in solfegge so see if you can figure it out! I give these to kids, sometimes as just solfegge, sometimes with rhythms, or sometimes from hand signs. They love it!

On pinterest a few weeks ago I found a Lego rhythms smart board file where students wrote rhythms using animated Lego blocks.

 I got to thinking, why can't we use real Legos? Low and behold, a few days later I found this etsy site:  Beat blocks   She uses baby Legos and modge-podges rhythms onto the front. Kids can then stack the lines of songs and know if all their phrases are the right length etc. 1 bump on top of the block is one beat, two humps is two, etc.  Sets are $20 each or you can buy a template and modge-podge yourself. I can't wait to get mine and try them out. If the kids love the Smartboard version, they have got to love the real thing.

**Update- she has also added Diatonic note and solfege blocks to build songs based on their melody.  :)

Note: this post is NOT sponsored. I just think this product is super cool so I am featuring it :)

Pop song challenge: l s m r m s m      l s m r       l s m r m s m      m r r d d

Hint: it's part of a song by an American Idol.