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 :)