And so it begins... Week 2

Week 2 has been absolutely joyful in the music room at Madison Elementary! I can’t get over what a difference a year makes! Knowing two thirds of my students already and having a permanent room that is bright and inviting has made the start of this year amazing! The music schedule is a little crazy because we are back to back with no space in between classes and I flip with PE which is a ways down the hallway so transitions are challenging to say the least! However, once we are in the music room, we are right at it!!

I’d like to talk about my “Rhythm Scores” that is part of my drill! Although I am an Orff Teacher, my “Rhythm Scores” are a little off of the Orff path! This is my rhythmic literacy and the weekly “drill” really helps them learn, retain, & be able to read rhythms! When I start, I start only with quarter note and quarter rest so we can talk about 1 sound on 1 beat or NO sound for 1 beat! I tell them that if I were to say “quarter note” every time I clapped a quarter note my clap and my words don’t match because “quarter note” has too many sounds! So we give it a nickname and call it a “quart”! This way my students remember what the note is called! Eventually I do switch to rhythm syllables and I use “Takadimi” but initially I want students to know the names of the notes and how long they last! We call quarter rests “rest”! So today (Friday) I had 1st grade practicing their 5 rhythm patterns all made up of quarter notes and quarter rests and the class that I had clearly has some challenges with the letter R because when they did their patterns they were all saying “quart west quart west” - it was so stinkin’ cute! And they nailed the patterns and were able to stay on the beat of the music and stay together! For week 2 of first grade…I’LL TAKE IT!

2nd grade started the week finishing up our names with “Ickle Ockle.” We talked about how many sounds/syllables our names have and we created movements to go with our names! Then we reviewed “Bobby Shaftoe” which was a lesson that I did with 1st grade in May of last school year! I have to say I was a little shocked to find out that they all remembered the words and the activity! I do “Bobby Shaftoe” with a partner game and in 1st grade we do it with one partner but now that they are in 2nd grade we practiced switching partners while we saying the B section & they did a beautiful job with it! We talked about finding a partner with our eyes and not needing our voices and when someone looks you in the eye that is them asking you to be their partner and we always accept their invitation! I was thrilled to see that they were staring each other down to make sure they had a partner - it was priceless! There are some pictures of my 2nd graders doing the mixer to “Bobby Shaftoe” on this website!

1st grade started “Wee Willie Winkie” this week! I told them the story, dramatically I might add, and then they told me what they heard and we talked about what some of the things in the story meant. (i.e. ‘in his night gown’ - ‘rapping at the window’ - ‘crying through the lock’) . I told the story again and had them imitate my hands as I went through the motions of playing the story on a xylophone in the air. We talked about what ‘upstairs’ & ‘downstairs’ would look like on a xylophone and then I played it for them on a BX. (I played backwards so they were looking at my BX correctly!) . That’s about as far as we got for the first lesson of the week. The second lesson of the week gave us the chance to actually get to instruments but they did everything with their fingers and when they come back next week we will use mallets for the first time this year! I like to get my kiddos on xylophones as soon as possible so they learn all of the procedures for instruments early on and it makes things easier as the school year progresses! But at this point it is all very exploratory! We had a little time during the second lesson of the week to get some singing and moving in with “All ‘Round the Brickyard.” I love this quick little song because they have to listen for the movements carefully! I added the Movement World Wall into this lesson and after we did a couple of basic movements like “clap it, clap it, clap it" and “pat it, pat it, pat it” - they got to choose a stationary word from the word wall to put into our song! They would tell me the word, like ‘shake’, and we talked about what we can shake and then sang the song with “shake it, shake it, shake it” and they chose what their movement looked like! It was so helpful to have my movement words on the board with Velcro because I was able to pull the word they named and kids could see it better and focus on the word at hand!

Kindergarten is still a work in progress and I think it will continue to be for a while! This week we explored our personal space and set a lot of boundaries! I continued to work with Sammy the Sloth - they LOVE him! And we also sang “All ‘Round the Brickyard” and explored some movements, however, I didn’t use the word wall with them! They aren’t there yet!

I’m starting to think about books that I want to use for my programs this year! I do a program with each grade and last year I did Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner with 2nd grade and I wrote modal pieces for each of the things that the Snowmen did! I’m tempted to do it again for 2nd grade because I know these kids better and I’d like to tweak it some! I’ve also just recently published those modal pieces & ideas for using that book in my TPT store if you are interested! I did 2 different animal books for Kinder & 1st grade last year and I won’t be doing animal stories this year! Stay tuned to see how that turns out! :)

All in all, school is going really well! I appreciate hearing from those of you that are reading the blog! I hope things are going well for your classrooms too!

Viva la Musica!

Let the Exploration Begin - Week 3

Off and Running - School - Week 1