Saturday, September 27, 2014

Who is Sasha?

I bought a new toy (of sorts.)  After reading about the fun other
 music teachers have with folk dancing, I decided to plunge into unfamiliar territory.  I had never thought about, nor had an interest in, teaching dances to my students, until now.  Purchasing my new "toy", a.k.a Alabama Gal folk dance collection was my happiest moment this week.  And let's admit it....we ALL need a little happy in our lives :)  I introduced Sasha (dance #1 in the book) to 4th - 6th grade early in the week, then 3rd grade toward the end.  Not only did the kids have a blast, but also, they were asking to do it again for the next class. There were none of those awkward moments that we typically experience.  You know what they are.... when the cooties come out and none of the children want to come within six inches of each other, much less touch hands or link elbows.  Participation was at 100% and that made this teacher smile:)  I can't wait to introduce more of the Alabama Gal collection of dances this year.  Woo Hoo! 

Alabama Gal - Book/CD/DVD

This week, my itty-bitties were still working on steady beat and ta/titi icons.  Using stones (our fave class manipulative because they are sooooo pretty), I would recite one phrase from a song and have them add stones to their beat sheet to match the way the words go.  For instance, "Queen Queen Caroline" would be one stone in the first two hearts, two stones in the third, and again one stone in the fourth heart.  We repeated the activity with several of the songs we have learned since day 1.  It was great practice for the students to visualize and create their own icons for "the way the words go" in the songs.  

As a checkpoint, I would put magnets on my hearts so students could compare their rhythms with mine.  When all were on track, we would touch our stones while saying the corresponding phrase in the song. 

And so it goes, on The Music-Go-Round!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Steady Beat Review and Practice

 School is into full swing now and my schedule reflects the busyness of not only teaching, but also keeping up with my own children and their activities.  Whew!  I think some time management tweaking is in order.

In the first weeks of school, I've been reviewing/teaching steady beat with the students.  The first grade "babies" have caught on faster than in the previous years.  It seems this group of students has a stronger internal beat than their predecessors.  Yea!

First and Second grades practiced on beat sheets with partners and independently multiple times.  We used strips for "Engine Engine", "Queen Queen Caroline", "Bee Bee Bumblebee",  and "Cobbler Cobbler."  


Students enjoyed learning the Cobbler Cobbler game and have asked to play each time they come to class.  We also played Bee Bee Bumblebee in a circle, eliminating one player on the word "out."  When the circle was down to three or four players, students made predictions about who they thought would be out next.

Third grade students learned "Benjamin Franklin" and practiced passing the ball on the steady beat around the circle.


As each student was eliminated, they chose a percussion instrument to play and help keep the beat while the others continued passing the ball in the circle.

Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth grades sang the African song, "Obwisana," while passing sticks on the floor.  I introduced/reviewed macrobeat and microbeat, and we practiced both as I called out commands.  The macrobeat was super fun and easy once we got in the groove, but the microbeat was a bit of a challenge as several students weren't able to keep up.  To keep them listening even more, toward the end of our activity, I added a "reverse" call and the students changed directions passing their sticks.  
All in all, we got a lot of laughs and had a great time.
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 and others on a music education link-up!