One of my favorite books to use in the Winter, especially with K and 1 is The Mitten. A Ukrainian Folktale adapted and illustrated by Jan Brett. (Click the picture to get the book!) Students love seeing the mitten grow as more animals join in.
Much of my lesson was adapted from this blog: High Shoals Music Blog. She also has an adorable Orff Instrument component that I haven't done- but need to, so be sure to check it out!
After the first reading, we assign a rhythm to each animal using descriptive words in the book. These usually end up being similar, and I have a "deck" of common phrases kids come up with, using both stick notation and iconic notation. Sometimes kids come up with silly things, and that is totally fine with me. We write all of our patterns on the board and then can refer for the rest of the lesson. Common phrases are below- all 2 beats long.
Snowshoe Rabbit or Hopping Rabbit
Snuffling Hedgehog or Prickly Hedgehog
Big Owl or Swooping Owl
Meadow Mouse or Tiny Mouse
White Mitten or Snow White Mitten
Many of my patterns end up being the same rhythm, but usually we are either still prepping quarter and beamed eighths, or have JUST learned them, so I don't mind the kids having practice hearing rhythms with different words.
Depending on the class, we may read the story again and have each student choose an animal to be, and an instrument to play their pattern on (in non-covid times of course- this year no instruments). While reading, we chain the patterns together so when the Mole comes, just the mole kids play, but when the Fox comes many pages later, we hear the mole, rabbit, hedgehog, owl, badger AND fox in turn as their animal names are stated in the story. On the sneeze we ALL get to play random for 3 seconds. If I want more individual assessment, we may have students "act out" the story so each animal is only one student. Then I can hear them play their own pattern and assess steady beat, rhythm and more quickly while having fun!
Finally, kids then get to make up their own 8 beat patterns using decks of animal cards with the patterns. If we are still preparing quarter and eighth, I use my iconic notation decks, but if we are practicing we use the stick notation decks. Get the decks HERE. They are not super fancy, but they are what I use (Examples below)! While the mittens, Baba, and Nicki cards are not used while reading, they are included in the decks for students to create their own patterns. I always have blank cards ready so students can add their own if they come up with something awesome earlier in the lesson (just paper cut to the same size as my laminated cards)!
After a few minutes to organize their 8 beat patterns (4 cards) students get a chance to share their creations. They read their patterns with both animal words, and rhythm words (ta, ta-di; long, short-short, etc.) This is another great quick assessment! Sometimes we share in a rondo form using the Mitten Song in the blog post mentioned above. I also love using the 2nd verse of "Snowpants" from Music K-8 (which is about mittens of course).
Do you use this wonderful book? Let me know how in the comments!