Happy Thanksgiving! Since this week (the week of 11/19/18) is a short week, and a continuation of the material from last week, I decided to combine last week and this week for this post! Coming back from conference is always exciting after being inspired and energized at conference! Even though I don’t change my original plans because of conference, I am able to implement new strategies learned and there is just a renewed spirit in me after attending AOSA’s annual conference!
2nd grade has been continuing to prepare for their performance at Barnes & Noble on Dec. 1! They are doing a great job of working on their words at home and practicing using the YouTube links I gave them! I recorded one of my classes on “What Snowmen Do at Night” so they could see and hear themselves and I have added that video to the right of this post! This song is also the opening song to their program that is based on the book Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner and is completely modal. “What Snowmen Do at Night” is in Dorian and also has an Orff accompaniment (as do all of the modal pieces) but we will just be singing it at Barnes & Noble with recorded piano accompaniment! Instrument parts for program will begin in December! You can find the entire program on my Teachers Pay Teachers store using the link to the right of this post!
1st grade was introduced to solfege last week with “See Saw.” This piece starts with a game of ‘human see-saws’ and then we replace the words with “high” and “low” and then I show them the clip from “The Sound of Music” to introduce this concept of a ‘singing language’. ‘sol’ and ‘mi’ were labeled on the 2nd lesson last week and then we took it to instruments! I used poly spots to create the pattern of their instrument in F pentatonic (2’s & 3’s) and stepped short melody fragments and students played them back! I was thrilled with how well this worked! This was a strategy I got from Matthew Stensrud at conference last week! Most of my 1st graders made the immediate connection of the spots to the bars on their instruments! It actually blew my mind a little! After a few melody fragments I ended up on high C’ and low A and stepped ‘sol’ & ‘mi’ patterns and then started singing! So I never actually had to say “C’ will be our ‘sol’ and A will be our ‘mi’” - it was all done through discovery and exploration! When we get back from Thanksgiving I’ll get some of that work on video but you can see the partner game see-saws on the video to the right of this post!
Kindergarten played with “1, 2, Tie My Shoe” last week and we started putting the numbers on claps and then we put the words on pats and then combined them! Then we made a sitting circle and I got a hand drum and played all of the numbers as an example and then I played “1, 2” on my hand drum and then passed it to the child sitting next to me while we said “tie my shoe” - then that child played “3, 4” on the hand drum and passed it to the next child while we said “shut the door” etc. We just started the poem over when we finished it until we got all the way around the circle! Then I did the same process with the guiro playing on the words and passing on the numbers! Then I passed out hand drums to every OTHER student and passed out other types of UPP to the students in between the drums! Then the drums played all the numbers and the other UPP played the words! Initially they struggled with being able to play only their part - they wanted to play all of it but they got it in the end! We also passed our instruments 1 student to the right so they got to have a different instrument and play the other part! You can see a class playing their drums & UPP on the video to the right of this post! This week I transferred the poem to the barred instruments by playing the numbers down low and the words up high! We then added in the vocabulary “piano” and “forte” to play with dynamics! This ended up being a really solid lesson for kindergarten!
At this time of year I realize how blessed & thankful I am to have had 28 years at Mohawk Trails with awesome colleagues and wonderful students and families and now to be at Madison with equally wonderful colleagues and fun and adorable students! I’m still getting to know the families at Madison and I look forward to building those relationships in the community! I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving!! Enjoy and appreciate family and friends that surround you!!