Before & After Break...Weeks 16-17-18

So beware - this is a long one! Clearly the holidays got away from me and posts didn’t get done! So now I’m covering 3 weeks! It has been good to be back in the swing of things but the weather in Chicago is a little crazy this time of year which makes for my commutes to be a little scary at times! But so far we are hanging in there! This coming week I head to the Illinois Music Education Conference in Peoria, IL. I’ll be doing 3 sessions (1 each day) and I hope to see many of my IL colleagues during the conference! I love connecting with other teachers - it is a real shot in the arm for me professionally!

2nd grade has been in full program mode with Snowmen at Night which is also just regular curriculum! Over the last 3 weeks of school (1 week before break & 2 weeks after break) we’ve spent time really refining instrument parts and working on improvising! They are doing amazing work with instrument parts and staying together! We have also created movement for each piece! At this point we are now on ‘run throughs’ with speaking parts and talking about transitions from risers to the stage and back to risers! It is really important to me that EACH student have time on stage and at instruments in a program! I think they will be amazing on Feb. 7, 2019!! You can get the original songs and program ideas on my TPT store using the button to the right of this post!

1st grade spent the week before break on the “Jingle Bells” Mixer! I alter it a bit so they aren’t actually doing it in a circle but they have partners in free space! This works so much better for the younger students because knowing which way to go in the circle is so challenging!! Once we came back from break we started by reading the book Noisy Poems, which will now become the basis for their performance on March 14, 2019! Their performance will be called “All that Noise” and will be lots of songs and poems about noise! I’ve done this program before in Carmel for 4th grade so I am making changes for it to work at 1st grade! I’m writing new melodies to some of the songs and I’m going to have some of the pieces be unpitched percussion for them instead of bars. This past week we started into some of the songs including “Spaghetti” (the noise is the slurping sound when you eat spaghetti :) and we have started exploring Simple Triple Meter! So stay tuned on how this all turns out!!

Kindergarten also spent the week before break on the “jingle Bells” Mixer! That is such a fun things to do in December and they get partner work with it too! After break we read the book The Fish Who Could Wish which is such a cute book! I first got saw that book and got a song from Elaine Larson which uses the first part of the book as the text! I have now written a new Mixolydian melody for it and I love it!! I’ve become so passionate about getting modal melodies in my young students’ ears! Then we played Elaine’s game with it where we make a circle and sing the song while ‘swimming’ a fish puppet around the circle and at the end of the song the student with the fish puppet sings “what do you wish for?” and the student they landed on sings what they wish for! This becomes a great Arioso activity too because they can sing their wish any way they want to as long as they are using a singing voice! Of course everyone got a turn so it took a couple of class periods to get through it! I’ve decided that this book will become the theme for their performance in May 2019. So I’m starting to write songs about the things that the fish wishes for in the book - 8 songs in all so it will work for my 8 sections of Kindergarten! So you will probably see this show up on my TPT store too!!

We are busy at Madison school and hope you are having a great start to your 2019! I look forward to seeing some of you next week at IMEC! I miss being in Ft. Wayne this week at IMEA! It’s so odd not to be making that trip and I really miss my Indiana colleagues!! So friends - don’t be a stranger - give me a call or send me an email and let’s catch up!

It's COLD...Week 19

The crazy has started...Week 15