Archive for the ‘TPT store’ Category

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Under the Sea: Vocal Exploration

March 27, 2014

Spring Break is starting to wind down. Boo!  I’m feeling under the weather, recovering from an untimely bout with a stomach virus (not fun when both pregnant and away from home!)  I decided to do some sitting-on-my-butt work, namely organizing clip art and digital classroom materials.

As I am pining for some nice, warm beach weather, I thought a set of ocean inspired vocal pedagogy cards were in order. This clip art was just too cute to ignore. They would be a great intro or lead-in to such songs as Ickle Ockle or Sea Shell. My 2nd and 3rd graders are preparing to sing Vem Kan Segla (Who Can Sail?) for our Spring concert. I plan to utilize these warm ups for them next week.

Jelly fish preview

Please enjoy! You can find them free in my TpT store.

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St. Patrick’s Day Rhythm Identification

March 14, 2014

I mentioned before that I am not a big “holidays in the Music room” sort of person. I want the activities to add to my curriculum, not take time away from it. I found a cute way to sneak in a little St. Patty’s Day fun while staying on topic and not taking any extra time to introduce the holiday.

My Kindergarteners have recently learned ta (quarter note) and ta-ti (eighth notes.) They have been reading flash cards, writing/drawing the rhythms on dry erase boards*, and doing simple dictation with craft sticks.  They were ready to identify the pattern they heard performed from a selection of choices.

After perusing Pintrest and mulling over ideas, I had a brainstorm. Why not leprechaun gold? 

Leprechaun

For this activity, I performed one of the six patterns and asked the students to find it on the page. They were instructed as to which color crayon to use for each turn. This made it VERY easy to look around the circle and see who was correctly identifying the rhythms.

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For the first three turns I clapped and spoke the pattern using rhythm syllables. To amp up the rigor, the last three patterns were only clapped. Most of the kids found the patterns very quickly. When there were only two patterns left, I asked the students to articulate how they were different. (ie. “One pattern starts with ta and the other one starts with ta-ti.”)  Since I do not give report card grades to Kinder, I sent the completed worksheets home with instructions to read all of the rhythms to their families. (Five-year-olds think getting Music homework is the coolest thing EVER.) If I were to do this worksheet with the older classes, to whom I do give grades, I would likely do the same. I would simply look around the circle to quickly mark down the names of those who did not accurately identify all of the patterns, and how many were correct. I would only have had one or two children whom I would have needed to make a note about. 

Interested in this worksheet and versions including other rhythms?  Check them out on my TpT page. It’s a freebie!

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Butterfly Rhythms: ta, ta-ti (ti-ti), and rest

April 19, 2013

I had acquired a number of foam pieces shaped like butterflies on a visit to my local the dollar store. I had a couple of different ideas of how I might use them, but just didn’t feel very happy with any of it. They sat in the extra bedroom languishing until about a week and a half ago.  I was doing some last minute lesson planning and needed a quick opening activity that I could also use during the next class for learning centers. I also wanted a way to see if individuals in my kindergarten and 1st grade classes were able to identify patterns of rhythms.  As Spring is finally upon us in New Jersey, I decided the butterflies had found their time.

I took eight butterflies and, using a permanent marker, wrote a four beat rhythm pattern across the shape. For Kindergarten I made a set using quarter notes and eighth notes. The 1st grade set included the same rhythms, plus quarter rest. I had this grand idea of getting a butterfly net and asking the kids to “capture” the butterfly I performed.  As with many grand plans, practicality won the day. Hence, Bop the Butterfly was born.

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Bop the Butterfly, a rhythm identification game

•Place the rhythm butterflies on the floor or on a table, randomly spread out.
•Choose one student to be the “entomologist” or “lepidopterist.” Give them a mallet.
•The “expedition leader” (at first the teacher, but later on a student) reads one of the rhythm patterns aloud.
•The “lepidopterist” needs to search/hunt for the correct butterfly. They can “bop” the butterfly by tapping it with the mallet.
•The “lepidopterist” can ask their assistants (the rest of the class) for helpful hints. (ie. “It starts with a ta.” “It is near the door.”)
My students loved this activity.  It is so simple, yet effective. In fact, during the next class the students had a chance to play Bop the Butterfly as part of learning centers. They took turns being the expedition leader. Some groups even made the game competitive by seeing who could discover the butterfly first.  Just last night my school held a curriculum fair for the families. I included Bop the Butterfly at my table. The children taught their parents how to play.  Many were impressed to see the children playing together, reading and identifying the rhythms.
Check out my TeacherPayTeachers store to download the game and rhythm cards for FREE! While you are there, check out the other items I have created.  There aren’t that many right now, but I would love to hear what you think.
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Folk Song Arranging (and my first TPT upload)

April 8, 2013

When you look at the cognitive domain of the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy the most complex level of critical thinking involves the creation of something new, utilizing the recently acquired  knowledge. In Music, the learning activities that best allow students to engage in this mode of thinking are those that involve improvisation, composition and arranging.  Improvisation is often overlooked as too difficult or set to the side in the interest of time. (There are already so many concepts and performances to squeeze into the curriculum!) It is vitally important that we give our students opportunities to improvise…but that is for another post.

Composition activities are more often completed in class. They can be as simple as writing a four beat rhythm pattern to play on a hand drum, or as complex as writing a song in Rondo form in la pentatonic on the music staff with lyrics based on the current Social Studies unit.

Song arranging falls through the cracks so often that, when I mention doing an arranging project at my school, many music educators look at me with surprise. Why is this?  Arranging a know song or songs into a unique performance is a wonderful way to get your students’ creative juices flowing and gives you a chance to see how well they are synthesizing the elements you have recently worked into the curriculum.  An arranging project can highlight and enable you to assess a multitude of musical elements:

  • form
  • texture
  • the use of the singing voice
  • the ability to sing and play simultaneously
  • effective use of dynamics
  • the ability to write and perform a specific rhythm through the creation of ostinati
  • steady beat (while performing the arrangement)
  • ensemble skills
  • part singing…

The list could continue on and on.

Recently in my own classroom I have had my 3rd graders working on a group project arranging three known folk songs into a new performance. They will be performing the three songs (Rocky Mountain, Dinah, and Great Big House in New Orleans) in the Spring Concert. What better way for the kids to become deeply acquainted with the songs? Each group consists of three or four students. Their goal is to create and perform the three folk songs in a new and different way.  They must have a bordun and an ostinato in their performance, and all group members must sing. They can sing in unison or layer the songs to create harmony. The beauty of using do-pentatonic folk songs is that when sung simultaneously they create a lovely sound. To help the students to achieve their musical goals as smoothly and successfully as possible, I created a packet.  Each group would receive these materials at the beginning of the project when I explain what they need to accomplish. Each step is laid out for the students so that they know exactly what to do and in which order.  I have created manipulatives to assist the students in developing the form of their piece.  There is a graphic organizer to use in the planning phase, and which will act as a map of their arrangement.

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I have led students through projects like this in the past, but this year is the first time I am using these materials. The students have a much clearer understanding of what they need to do in class and I am freed up to assist more with the creation process.  While I am using those three particular folk songs, the forms I created do not specify the repertoire, leaving it open for use with different grade levels and selections of repertoire.

If you are interested in downloading these materials, please visit my new TeachersPayTeachers store. Since this is my first item posted on the site it is FREE! Check it out and please let me know what you think.

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The manipulatives were made using graphics from My Journey to 5th Grade.

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