Well, we made it through Halloween week! I didn’t do a lot for Halloween this year but I did use “In the Hall of the Mountain King” for Circle Movement at the beginning of class for everyone! They loved it! Our specials team also dressed up on Wednesday. We found T-shirts online that said “I’m a music teacher…what’s your super power?” and we each had our own specialty - PE, Library, Art, etc. We added capes and masks and we were set! The kids loved it! It has been about 25 years since I dressed up for Halloween at school. Carmel had stopped that ages ago! It was a lot of fun!
It was also nice to be back to regular lessons this week after missing 3 days the week before when I was sick! 2nd grade is now in full swing for their performance at Barnes & Noble on Dec. 1st! We are doing 3 songs - “What Do Snowmen Do At Night?” - “Winter Fantasy” (Partner songs which include “Jingle Bells”) - “Snowflakes” (cute song I found online) . We do “What Do Snowmen Do at NIght?” so we can promote our grade level performance on Feb. 7, 2019! And since it is based off of the book Snowmen at Night, it is very appropriate to do at a Bookstore performance! This performance is a district wide fund raiser and is a long standing tradition! The kids are very excited about it! The exciting thing for me is that this is the ONLY holiday type performance I have! Gotta love teaching little ones!!
1st grade has continued “1,2,3,4,5 Once I Caught a Fish Alive” with “Little Fishes” this week! I ended up changing the game/dance a bit. I found that 1st graders struggled with turning to the right in a circle. I can get them to do it but it takes a lot of guidance! So I kept them in their rows and partnered them up and then they left their partner for 1/2 of the B section poem (“Little Fishes”) and then followed their same path back to their spot for the other 1/2 of the B section poem! You can see a class doing this in the video to the right! Some classes were able to actually do a mixer by going away from their partner for 1/2 of the poem and then looking for another partner for the second 1/2 of the poem! We talked about how to find a partner with their eyes and not call out to them so they could keep the text going! The classes that had the control to do it did an amazing job! Some classes just didn’t do this step! The 2nd lesson of the week we got onto instruments and they learned how to take bars off the instruments correctly! They played a G bordun and started some beginning improvisation on instruments! They did a super job with the improvisation. They are all able to alternate their mallets on a single bar now and they got to choose a different bar to play on for each of the 4 characters of the “Little Fishes” story. Each time the character changes they choose a different bar to play on!
Kindergarten reviewed “5 Fat Turkeys” and then learned another turkey song “I’m a Very Fine Turkey” during their first lesson of the week! We worked on some creative movement and moving safely in the room by strutting like turkeys! It was a the cutest thing I’ve seen in a long time!! Kindergartners are so stinkin’ cute anyway and then you have them strut like turkeys and it makes for a big smile for sure! The 2nd half of the week we played “Pick and Key” which is adapted from an activity in the American Music for Children Vol. 1 that I have used in the past! The problem was that this particular group of kids (all of my Kindergarten classes) really struggled with understanding how to play the game. They couldn’t keep their eyes closed and listen for the singer! I was hoping to use this as an assessment of solo singing but it didn’t really pan out! It just shows that even 30 years in we have lessons that bomb and we have to go back to the drawing board and try something else next time!
This coming week is full of things to look forward to! On Tuesday I will be working with music teachers in District 63 near Skokie. We will be focusing on assessment and improvisation! On Wednesday I head to Cincinnati, OH for the AOSA National Conference! That is always such a wonderfully encouraging time and also a time to reconnect with so many amazing colleagues from all over the country! Sometimes we (music teachers) feel like we are alone in this work since we are usually the only music teacher in our buildings! Conference gives us the time to really get re-energized and have others to bounce ideas off of and learn new things as well! Next week’s post will be focused around conference! Have a great week my friends!