Sunday, July 21, 2013

10 Elementary Pedagogy Week 1 Goodies

For the past week in Elementary Pedagogy in Hungary I have gotten so many new ideas!  Some may seem obvious but were light bulb moments for me and others I would have never thought of myself.
Below are a few of my favorites.

1. Felt Staff
         Why have I not thought of this before??? I use dry erase staffs and many other manipulatives, but a felt staff {with pockets} can be so much faster for simple melodic dictations.  The felt notes "stick" to the felt staff so the student can hold up their work to show the teacher and you don't have to worry about a marker being dried out, students taking forever to make sure their note heads are perfect, etc.  The pockets hold the note heads so you don't have to worry about plastic bags, etc.

2. Solfa Apartment Building
          For a while I have been using Solfa Street when presenting new notes.  Bori used a Solfa House/ Apartment instead and I love it.  Do lives on the first floor, re on the second, etc.  This really shows the relationship between notes (step or skip) and transfers right to a set of solfa steps because there is no elevator in the building.  :)  (The steps where half steps are in music are drawn smaller)

3. Cat and Fish
           This is a game for very simple pitch recognition after students have learned LA.  The teacher has a picture of a cat and another of a fish.  The Cat can only sing s-m-s and the Fish can only sing s-l-s.   The teacher sings 1 melody and the students have to say which animal is singing.  The teacher can then make it harder and make 2, 3, or 4 phrases in a row (cat, fish, cat cat [s-m-s s-l-s s-m-s s-m-s]).  Students can also lead.

4. Hot Crossed Buns
           Everyone knows this song, but Cyrilla added movements that help show the contour of the song and made it a little more fun.  Students clap above their head on HOT, pat a partners hands on CROSSED, and pat their legs on BUNS.  On "one a penny, two a penny" students roll their hands in front of them (getting slightly higher for the 2nd phrase when the pitch changes).  I love this because it is an un-concious way to show the changing pitches of the song.

5. Solfa Ship Distress Signal
          A classmate came up with a really fun idea for after students have just been presented a new note.  Students get into groups of 3 or four and they are the captain of a solfa ship.  They are required to come up with a secret signal to send to another ship using only handsigns.  The other ship must decode and sing the message, then send one back.  This is very similar to the way ships actually communicate with flags or morris code.  I have been trying to think of extending this and making it some sort of musical battleship game but have quite figured it out yet.  When I do there will definitely be another post!

Some other random things are:
1) Always tap the pulse when inner-hearing or playing a rhythm type game (or have a student do it) ESPECIALLY when passing rhythms in a "telephone" like way by tapping it on the shoulder of the person in front of you.
2) To not only sing patterns for students when looking for a new note, but play patterns on various instruments (piano, recorder, orff instruments, etc).
3) When asking students to figure out the solfa of a song- don't always have them start at the beginning- especially if the end is super easy and can lead them to be successful in the rest of the song.
4) Have students demonstrate A LOT.  Try to choose successful students to sing on Solfa alone, or read a rhythm aloud many times a class so they are used to it.  Have the whole class do it together, one or two solos, then the whole class again.   If the student is incorrect in any way you can ask the performer what they noticed about their version that is different from the teachers.
5) The question: WHAT COMES BEFORE SOUND??? (the answer is silence).  This is a great way to get kids to be quiet :)

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