Friday, October 17, 2014

Boomwhacker Sharing/"Whacky Old St. Nicholas"

NOTE:  THE WHACKY OLD ST.NICK PPT SLIDE IMAGES HAVE BEEN EDITED.  IF YOU DOWNLOADED THE IMAGES BEFORE NOON ON 10/21/14, PLEASE DOWNLOAD THEM AGAIN.  THANKS!

Hello!  I just found something free online (and you know how much I love free things!) Raeanna Goss, whomever she is, has uploaded an awesome resource that I just used to notate my Music K-8 "Whacky Old St. Nicholas" song (Music K-8, Vol 16.2).

Could I do this myself?  Sure.  Would I pay $$ to download it from TPT?  No.  Will I download it for free from this website?  Heck yes I will!!!  She took the time to make the little ovals and color them appropriately for boomwhackers and gather (most of) the notation symbols needed to make a boomwhacker song.  Thank you, Raenna Goss.  Thank you.  

Well, in an effort to pay it forward, I will include the slides that I just created for "Whacky Old St. Nicholas".   I am so sorry if I made mistakes and didn't catch them.  If you would like to have these slides in PowerPoint so you can edit them, just leave a comment or email me and I will send it to you when I can. (Summer break is difficult b/c I'm not at my school computer, but during the school year my replies will be pretty speedy.)








Merry (early) Christmas!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Ravensburger Labyrinth

It's Sunday and POURING outside. My husband has gone in to work for a couple of hours and I'm sitting here thinking about Ravensburger's Labyrinth.

We picked up this game at an estate tag sale yesterday for $1.50.  It's a really simple concept.  There are a series of tiles on a game board that make up a labyrinth.  Some tiles are fixed to the board.  You are given cards with images of different magical objects that match the images on the tiles.  Your objective is to collect the items on the card by following the maze and you do that by taking the one extra tile and using it to push a row of tiles and thereby change the maze to advance your piece.  Confusing?  Yes.  Let me cut and paste the official directions just in case. . . .
The game board has a set of tiles fixed solidly onto it; the remaining tiles that make up the labyrinth slide in and out of the rows created by the tiles that are locked in place. One tile always remains outside the labyrinth, and players take turns taking this extra tile and sliding it into a row of the labyrinth, moving all those tiles and pushing one out the other side of the board; this newly removed tile becomes the piece for the next player to add to the maze.
Players move around the shifting paths of the labyrinth in a race to collect various treasures. Whoever collects all of his treasures first and returns to his home space wins!
We played it last night and I was fascinated by how simplistic it was.  There was no reading involved, just pictures.  Of course, being a music teacher, I thought how cool it would be to have a musical version of this. What if there were musical symbols or notes on a staff that the students would have to find in the maze instead of the pictures?  The problem with that, sadly enough, is that music is written in black and white.  While it can sound wonderful, it doesn't look as cool on a game board.  Well, that lead to considering instruments and instrument families, but I already have a game that I've altered with musical instruments and I haven't even used it once this year.  (Why haven't I used it?  It looks like fun!)  So on and on the thought process went until I landed on using the items on the maze in a song.  Maybe there is a short, Sol Mi La song I can write that the kids could sing after they reach their item.  They would have to fit the name of the item into the song, teaching musical rhythms.  I would just have to come up with a song. . . .

The next problem I have is convincing my husband that one more cool thing we have from home needs to go to the classroom with me ;)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Boomwhackers and the 5th Grade

My 5th graders are playing with the Boomwhackers this week!  Here is the lesson in PowerPoint*:

 We started with a review of boomwhackers using this guy's video:


Then we reviewed the Boomwhacker colors and their relation to the pitch and solfege syllables.

Then we did a review of the Music K-8 "Whacky Do Re Mi" vol 11.1.  The kids did it for their program last year, so we didn't spend much time on it.  If you click on the picture, it should link you to the youtube video.


This is a side note:  The official Music K-8 "Whacky Do Re Mi" video is available on youtube, as well. It's pretty cute.

The kids had a chance to use the boomwhackers as accompaniment, so I gave them an opportunity to play the melody with this slide. . . 

Next we reviewed chords.  Again, we've been working on chords for over a year now, so these slides proved to be a great visual to reinforce what the kids (should) already know.







All of this chord review was in preparation for the song "We've Got the Music" from the Australian 'Music: Count Us In' project.  If you haven't heard of it, click on the link and check it out.  It's pretty cool. "We've Got the Music" is from 2011, I think, and because the nature of the project, there are tons of resources all over the net including multiple youtube videos and music/chord sheets.  Again, the image below should link you to youtube.  I use this video when we are playing with boomwhackers. The song cuts off early at the end, but it works for practice.  Again, search youtube for other recordings. There is even a performance version with no vocals!


Well, that took up a whole 45 minute class period, and the kids had a ton of fun doing it.  Hope this gives you some ideas!

*If you would like me to email this PowerPoint to you, please leave your email address in the comments section below.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

We Are Dancing in the Forest



In my previous post, I linked a PDF file from the Sioux Valley Orff Chapter that provided ideas for Locomotor and Non-Locomotor movement.  The file itself is a good read with excellent ideas.  One of them is the "Playing in the Forest" song/game.  Here it is:

I tried this game out today, but of course, I had to tweak it.  I wanted to incorporate the Orff instruments, so I thought the wolf's "den" could be the instruments.  I set out one each of the bass, alto/tenor, and soprano xylophones and the alto/tenor and soprano metallophones. So, five instruments total.  Yesterday, I sat at the bass xylophone and played C and G quarter notes (as notated above, only I left out the rests and just alternated C and G) while I sang the song.  If are having a hard time reading the music, I also put it in Finale:

I showed the kids a PowerPoint with just the lyrics:



We did the typical "listen and repeat" while I played the bass xylophone.  Just in case this is new to you (as it is to me). . . . I sing the first line, kids repeat.  Continue with lines 2-4.  Then I sing the first two lines, kids repeat, I sing the last two lines, kids repeat.  Then we sing the whole thing together.  The song was pretty intuitive except EVERY one of my four classes of Kindergarten and 1st Grades got caught up on "Who knows what will happen to us".  I'm not sure why.  Maybe it's just too much of a mouthful.

After we all learned the song, I had students take turns coming and playing with me.  That was my first day.

Day Two was today.  It took a few tries, but this is what the game ended up looking like:

I sit at the bass and play/sing the song with a kid on each of the instruments and a "wolf" next to me. The rest of the students are in the middle of the classroom waiting for my instructions.  We ended up telling a story with this game, so it started with us walking in the woods.  The kids sing "We are walking in the forest. . . " while the instruments play.  Instead of having it be a freeze game, I told my kids that the "wolf" is looking for the BEST walker. This is how it is in the wild when a wolf looks for its prey, they look for the best animal to eat.  Only this is a nice wolf, so instead of eating you, our wolf will be letting you play the instruments. "Best" means someone who is safe and maybe makes the best faces or whatever, but most importantly, FREEZES when the music stops.  Of course they pick their best friends, they always do, but reminding the class of what the wolf should be looking for helps everyone stay focused. The best walker then goes to one of the instruments and the person who leaves the instrument is now the new wolf.

The narrative of the game took us into a hollow log that we slithered through. "We are slithering in the forest. . . " Once we got out, we stretched. "We are stretching in the forest. . ."  Then we came upon a pond so we swam. "We are swimming in the forest. . ." When we got out of the pond, we shook to get the water off. "We are shaking in the forest. . ." When we got out of the pond, we realized we were at the top of cliff, so we side stepped at the edge of the cliff until we reached a safer spot "We are side stepping in the forest. . .", then we rolled down the gentle slope. "We are side rolling in the forest. . ."  When we got up we were dizzy, so we spun around. "We are spinning in the forest. . ."  All of a sudden, we thought we spotted the wolf so we ran (but in music class we baby run because Mrs. Huffman is still freaked out about kids knocking into each other and the instruments). "We are running in the forest. . ."  Once we got away we felt really good about ourselves for escaping so we did a silly walk.  "We are silly walking in the forest. . ."

The narrative could go on and on tip-toeing by a bear, skating on an underground frozen pond, belly crawling under brush.  The possibilities are endless.  Some of the movements, like swimming and stretching, were Locomotor movements paired with Non-Locomotor Movements. I made sure and clarified that with the kids.

I really liked this game.  Kudos to Orff people for putting this stuff out.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Orff Movement



Okay, well, I don't know if you can tell, but this is not my classroom and these are not my kids and this is not me.  I snatched this picture from Google Images because it was the closest I could find to what my classroom looked like today.  I pulled my lesson from what I have gleaned over the years from the American Orff-Schulwerk Association.  If you don't know much or anything at all about the Orff movement, check out this site and you may get a better understanding.  I posted this picture because it resembled what my classroom looked like today, and with 30 some kids moving around my room, I didn't have the foresight to grab my phone and take pictures this time.  I got a bee in my bonnet today to talk about Locomotor and Non-Locomotor movement with Primary today and it went GREAT!  Here is what I did.  

I got specific information about movement from the this PDF file.

First, I had the kids sit criss-cross applesauce scattered around my room and I told them how Locomotor movement meant moving from place to place and Non-Locomotor meant staying in one place.  I showed them this quick slide I put together on Promethean Planet*:



Thanks to the nature of the Promethean board, we were able to slide the different movements under the correct category. (We stayed unsure where to put hop and jump, since you can do both without travelling.) Once both lists were complete, I had the kids listen to "The Skater's Waltz" from the curriculum.  For the "A" section, we did Non-Locomotor movements.  For the "B" section, we did Locomotor movements.
Afterwards, I had the kids sit back down and share with the class what Non-Locomotor movements they used and then asked them what Locomotor movements they used.  Those kids love to share!  Then we each got a bean bag and did "The Bean Bag Boogie" song from Greg and Steve.  They have done this song before, but this time, we decided to do Non-Locomotor movement during the verses and Locomotor movement during the refrain.

Next week, we will try the wolf activity suggested in the a fore mentioned PDF file. It looks too fun.  

*If you would like me to email this Active Inspire file to you, let me know in the comments section.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

YouTube Resources for the Music Classroom

Okay, we all have those days when we just don't have the energy or time to present the most AWESOME LESSON EVER!, but we are still looking to present quality education to our kiddos.  For me, I feel like I did my job if I have the kids a) Sing, b) Move, c) Play instruments, or d) Notate/Read Notation.  That means some days, we just sing songs.  Some days, I just have them moving around (usually after too many consecutive indoor recess days or on days they don't have gym).  Some days we do a mixture of two or more.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, YouTube is a wonderful resource and there are videos out there that promote all of these facets of the Music Teacher's job.

I am going to let you in on what I did today with my Kindergarten and 1st Grade groups.  I played 6 videos today.  The first 3 highlighted movement, and the last three were just for fun.


These first 2 are pretty self explanatory.   The are from a group called Koo Koo Kangaroo and I love what they have put out by way of silly dance songs.

Dinosaur Stomp: House Party Dance-A-Long Workout


Awesome Rainbows: House Party Dance-A-Long Workout


The next one is also from Koo Koo Kangaroo, but it's not as clear cut as the first.  I ended up having my kids sit for a little while and rest until they start talking about the ninja sneak and I let the kids sneak around the room.  They love that because usually I tell them to stay in front of their chairs.  This one let the kids go a little crazy with ninja kicks and ninja yells, but it was tons of fun!

Koo Koo Kanga Roo ft. Justin Pierre - Ninja Training (OFFICIAL VIDEO)


By this time, my kids were getting pretty exhausted and my room was beginning to get stuffy, so the next few videos were just for fun.  I suppose the Elmo video could be used for lessons about "quiet and loud".  The Swedish Chef video might be good for keeping a steady beat, and the StoryBots "So Hot" video is a good intro to hip hop and rap music. . . ?  But these are my filler videos mostly.  The kids LOVE them and it's a way for me to say "thank you for working so hard for me, now let's take a break".

Sesame Street: Celebrity Lullabies With Ricky Gervais



The Muppets: Pöpcørn



Outer Space: "I'm So Hot," The Sun Song by StoryBots


****Edit:  I do feel it is important to evaluate yourself and make sure that you don't rely on YouTube for ALL of your lesson planning.  It is tempting to lean a bit too hard on YouTube sometimes because the kids respond to it so well.  Remember, your education and training has built you up to be more than the person that just pushes the "PLAY" button.  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Kagan Music Structure! A Variation of Round Robin With Instruments

So, I get observed by a Kagan coach once a month doing a Kagan Structure.  This month, I found a suggestion in the Kagan Music Book on page 301.  The author suggests a structure which is nice, but I tweaked it a bit.  

I had the kids sit in small circles.  Three chairs have rhythm sticks and the fourth has claves (thick rhythm sticks).  When the music is playing (I used "Down, Down Baby" from the old Silver Burdett series), the kids pass their instruments to the left continuously until the music stops.  


When the music stops, everyone freezes and keeps the instrument in their hand.  Whomever has the claves thinks of a rhythm and plays it for the group while saying "ta", "titi", or "rest" and the group repeats it back to them on their rhythm sticks.  

It will happen, so there is a rule that if someone doesn't have an instrument when the music stops, the person with the extra instrument gives it to them.

When the groups are done repeating the rhythm, they raise their sticks in the air to show me they are done and we start the music again and pass the sticks.


I also included the rule that if you already had the claves, pass them to someone who hasn't had them yet.  The kids pictured today are my Kindergarten group!  They did surprisingly well with this activity.  We were only able to do it about 4 times before the sticks became light sabers and we had to redirect to this song.

I liked this activity because it actually felt like Kagan was able to do what it was supposed to do.  I got to let go of my control of the classroom and let the kids manage themselves.  It got really loud at times, but they were doing the activity with very minimal guidance from me.   I would say this was a Kagan win :)