Thursday, January 8, 2015

Seasons Song

My students and I have been celebrating winter this past week with a delightful song I learned years ago in my first Kodaly certification course. I teach this tune to K-2 children (fall verse) in late September and revisit it as the seasons change, moving from a singing game and rhythm exploration to iconic notation and composition activities, depending on students' readiness. This is a great piece for discovering or reinforcing 'la.'

The children enjoy creating new lyrics for this simple but lovely melody as the seasons change. As an extension, older children enjoy switching up the solfege/rhythm cards and creating something new. 

You can click on these PNG files and print them. I will also post the full packet in PDF format in my store as a freebie. Enjoy! : ) 

 Winter Icon Cards

First-graders map the rhythm of the song.
 Second-graders map the pitch and rhythm.

Singing and signing (solfa) for real-time assessment.

 Spring Icon Cards

 Summer Icon Cards

Autumn Icon Cards

As an extension in second grade, we list words that match our rhythm building blocks and select four to create a new song as a class. Then students work in pairs to compose original (very simple) four-phrase melodies based on rhythmic text. The kids get quite excited and pleased with their creations. It's delightful to see my youngest students so engaged in meaningful music exploration!  (If you're interested, here's a link to my Rhythm Building Blocks printables, which are available in my Musical Magic TPT Store.)

Friday, January 2, 2015

'Fall-ing' in Love with Music

This fall, my students 'fell' in love with some delightful music activities. Although this post is 'post-autumn,' I want to share a few highlights for my readers who might enjoy or adapt these ideas in the future.

Text-based Compositions - Exploring Rhythm, Form, and Tonailty
In twos, students composed phrases based on Halloween- and autumn-themed text. Then a student pair (A) combined their phrase with one other team (B) to create a four-phrase song. I had them choose from these forms: ABAB, AABB, or AABA. We were able to explore rhythm/syllable relationships, D = la pentatonic (minor pentatonic: D, F, G, A, C, D') with Orff instruments, four-phrase form, and the power of collaboration. This project was engaging and easy to implement with my 3rd-5th grade kiddos. My students learned a lot and were proud of their compositions! Details of this learning project and ready-to-go materials are available in my Halloween Words & Rhythms - Literacy and Composing Activities Set.

Exploring Syllables and Rhythm with Iconic Notation
My younger students explored syllabic rhythms using autumn-themed iconic notation. I chanted simple four-beat rhythmic phrases and had students pat the beat on their laps as we repeated the words. (Phrase examples: "pumpkin pumpkin patch patch" or "witch's broom witch's broom." Then we chanted the words and touched pumpkin beats. We 'discovered' that there was one word on each beat, so next, I had students put one candy corn on each beat. Then we finger-tapped the syllables of the phrase and 'discovered' that some beats had more than one sound. And finally, students 'notated' the rhythm by placing additional candies on beats that had two sounds. This was an extension/assessment of the activities we did with my Jack Jack Jack-o-Lantern Rhythm Activities Set.

Conducting with Light Sticks
This picture doesn't look like much, but oh, it WAS! My students absolutely loved conducting classical works and movie themes in the dark, using light sticks as batons. Students were thrilled to practice 2, 3, 4, and 5-beat conducting patterns to selections composed in minor keys. (I was able to make the light sticks last for two days by keeping them in the freezer when we weren't using them.)

Hope these ideas inspire you. Thanks for stopping by!