Thursday, February 21, 2019

Writing in the Music Room | An Easy Sub-Plan!

Do your principals ever ask you how you incorporate writing in the music room? Are you ever in a rush for easy sub-plans that ANYONE can implement? One of my new favorite activities is great for both!

For this activity, I read/ sing/ teach a folk song and then have students write the back-story based on the mood of the song. I typically do it 1x with my students, and then they are ready when a sub is asked to do it later in the year.  After having about 15 min to write or think of their stories, I always love to have a few share.  Some students have even taken their thoughts home and continued their story and made it into a book! So fun!

2 great examples:
I Got A Letter this Mornin', Oh Yes!  - After we learn the song (it's great for syncopation and whole note) I have the students discuss the mood of the piece and then write letters based on the mood. This song while there are not a lot of words, is often called "creepy", "scary", "uneasy" or "sad" by a lot of the students due to the minor mode.  Their letters can be to a real person OR a fake person.  I have had students write to the moon, made-up friends, or friends who were home sick. We are sure to have correct punctuation and all the components of a letter in our writing.

She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain - For this one I show a video (see below) of the song and then have the students answer the questions: Who is SHE?  Where is she coming from? and WHY? Is it is good reason she is 'comin' round', or bad?  Students need to listen and hear text clues from all the verses to determine their stories and what motivated the character to "come round the mountain". I like using the plain lyric video so students don't feel like they are stuck within a certain setting or look.

Little ones can also do a version of this activity- where they write only 1 or 2 sentences and then illustrate their thoughts.  For example, with doggie doggie, have students think about "Who really did steal the bone and why?" Was it another dog? Was it a different animal? Was it a human?

Other song ideas:
Dinah- Why is Dinah the only one in the house?
Great Big House- Why is the house full of pie?
Who's That Tapping at My Window? - Who is tapping at the window? Why?

What other song ideas and guiding questions could be used? Write your ideas below!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Tuesday Book Club- The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors

Today's Tuesday Book Club is The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt. What an adorable book! This hilarious book gives you background information on how the game Rock Paper Scissors came to be. It is fiction of course, and oh so fun to read. After reading the story, there are so many ways you can incorporate Rock-Paper-Scissors into your classroom! 

Sei-Sei-Sei, from Japan, is one of my favorite songs to play this game. All children start with a partner and are standing on a large piece of paper.  At the end of the song- on HOI!- students choose Rock, Paper, or Scissors.  Which ever child looses folds their paper in half. If there is a tie- BOTH students fold their paper.  All students then find a new partner.  Once a student has folded their paper 4x they are OUT.  Continue play until you have a winner for the class! 

Also- Have you seen this video?
In my class, winners keep hopping trying to get through the course, and those who loose Rock-Paper-Scissors have to read a rhythm or solfege card before they get back in line.  The game ends when either someone has gotten all the way through the course OR all students have attempted and read a rhythm at least 1x. 

Another fun idea is Rock-Paper-Scissors composing. 
Disclaimer: I saw this idea on Facebook and fleshed it out, and am sharing my version.  Thank you to Shauna Slemp in the Elementary Music Educators Group for originally posting this awesome idea! She did it to have students record BAG recorder.

I did BAG recorder with my 5th graders and my 2nd Graders are working on DO right now. After reading the book we composed some So-mi-do songs using rock paper scissors.

Students got into pairs and played the game.  If Scissors won (or both students chose scissors) a SO was added to their song.  Paper = Mi, and Rock = Do.   I had students play 8 times for an 8 beat song of all quarter notes.  Check out this awesome student work!

You could also choose to have students first write a rhythm using known concepts, and then use the R-P-S to add the solfege, or as Shauna did add the notes B-A-G.  Working on a new rhythm concept such as tika-tika (beamed 16th notes)? Have students write a rhythm pattern where Quarter Note= Rock, Beamed Eighth Notes= Paper, and Beamed 16th Notes= Scissors (a rest could be when there is a tie.)

I have included 3 simple worksheets below that you can either print OR project to play as a class. They are super basic but get the job done :) Click HERE to access the google doc. When you click the link ,you will be prompted with a screen that asks if you would like to make a copy of the doc.  Click yes and you will be good to go! You can edit your copy, or just print a page as is, but you won't have to worry about messing up the original!

In addition to the activities listed above, you can talk to students about how Rock, Paper, Scissors is a great strategy to solve a conflict.  Partners can't agree? Play RPS.  Unsure of who got to the line first? Play RPS to see who gets to be in front, etc. etc.

Go Forth and Play RPS!