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.


  1. Thanks for sharing! Always looking for more Orff ideas! :)

  2. This is the most brilliant way of playing this game I've seen yet (and the safest!). My kiddos can't handle chasing games or free locomotor movement, and this flips it so they are rewarded for being safe and careful. Brava!