Monday, November 3, 2014

November Fun! Ideas for Veterans Day and Thanksgiving that can fit right into your sequence

Phew! We made it past Halloween!  Halloween is always a little crazy at my school because if they students raise enough money at their Walk-a-Thon Fundraiser (which they always do) they get to wear costumes on Halloween and have a Monster Mash Dance in the gym for an hour. This year, luckily, the dance didn't happen during specials times BUT 3rd grade did come to music directly from their dance so they were a little wound up.

I love to incorporate seasonal music into my teaching- especially when it coincides with the sequence and there are so many great things to celebrate in November that we sometimes don't focus on as much as we should.  In my school, it is required to teach a special lesson on Veterans Day so I try to incorporate more patriotic music than I normally would all month.  The chorus also performs a Veterans Day Assembly during the day for the school and then again in the evening for their Parents.  

I love to have the older grades sight-read known patriotic songs like America (My Country Tis Of Thee), and America the Beautiful and then add simple orffestrations to them. We talk about the history of the songs and more.   6th grade learned dotted quarter patterns last year and 5th is preparing them now so America  fits into the rhythm half of my lessons perfectly. 

4th Grade is currently learning about The Star Spangled Banner in their Social Studies Class so we are learning it in music as well.  We talk about the history, how to stand, the meaning of the words and more.  I also found A GREAT Star Spangled Banner Jeopardy this year that I love to review anything you could ever want to know about the song.  I got mine for free from Lorenz Music on the Poems 200th birthday this year, but if you just google "Star Spangled Banner Jeopardy" there are a lot of great options. 

For the younger ones we do some patriotic listening and moving to things like Sousa, Instrumental (and Vocal) versions of the previously mentioned songs and more. Check out this great guided listening unit made by Music with Sara Bibbee on TPT.  I also plan on doing some listening gylphs with Patriotic Music as well.  Glyphs are a great close listening activity for any age. Students color a picture based on what they hear.  Ex.  If they hear percussion they might color the Turkeys Hat Orange, but if htey do not the would color it green.  Check out some by Sew Much Music or the Bulletin Board Lady on Teachers Pay Teachers! (There are both Armed Forces Glyphs AND Thanksgiving Glyphs!) 

At the Veterans Day Assembly, the chorus always gives great information about how Veterans Day came to be, branches of the Armed Forces and more.  We sing 4-5 songs ALWAYS including The Star-Spangled Banner and the Armed Forces songs of the Branches.  During the concert, we ask Veterans to stand and be recognized when their Branches song is sung.  We also try to get pictures from family members who have served and show those in a slide show during one of the songs.  This year I bought "The Bulletin Board Lady's" Veterans Day/ Armed Forces set and the kids will be using it to give great information about the each branch.  I will also be using the set to post facts all around the school so kids can be reading them from now until the assembly next week.  There are a lot of other great Veterans Day Sets on teacherspayteachers as well.  It was hard to choose! 

After Veterans Day is over, I flip to Thanksgiving and I am always sure to do "Over the River and Through the Wood" with all grades.  Older kids sight-read it and learn an orffestration to it- sometimes even coming up with their own as a class, and I am sure to read/ sing it to the younger ones.  I love this version.  

Another book I am sure to read/ sing to the students is "I Know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Pie" It is a wonderful Thanskgiving version of the classic tale and my students love to compare all the versions I have for different seasons.  Check out all my versions next week during the Tuesday Book Club! 

I also LOVE to do Shoo Turkey with 1st and 2nd.  I use it to assess solo singing after we learn it. I will either go down the line or point to a student to sing the "Yes, Mam" part.  My students LOVE to shoo the turkeys away around the room.  Be sure when doing this song you set clear expectations.  I tell my students that they can shoo the turkey anywhere in the room but once they hear the loud "Shoo" at the end of the song they must sit on their bottom right where they are to sing the next verse.  They are also told they must keep bodies to themselves and if they bump into anyone or push anyone over they have to sit out.  

I will also be using my Jack-o-Lantern stack music symbols game in November as well.  It is called Jack-o-Lantern, but really it is just pumpkins so it can be used all throughout the fall season.  Students stack 3 pumpkins- one with the symbol, one with the word, and one with the definition.  Another great activity (especially for a sub) is Color By Note activities.  There are so many Thanksgiving or Fall themed sheets out there and kids love them!

One of  my other favorite fall activities is writing on a lap staff using "Table Scatter" from target.  I got leaves and pumpkins from target for $3.00 a container.  I love to use erasers, but the plastic table scatter is extra helpful when differentiating between lines and spaces because they are see-through.  This way the students can see that the line is going through the note when the melody has notes on a line.

What are your favorite November Activities??? 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the shout out! Hope you have a great November!