Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tinga Layo - caribbean folk song

I stopped by Dollar Tree today and got quite a few ideas which I'll be sharing within the next week.

In my area of the country, a lot of people celebrate Cinco de Mayo, so there were quite a few "fiesta" related items at my Dollar Tree.

I picked up this little guy (I haven't named him yet, I'm going to let one of my bilingual classes do that as I'm sure they'll be much more creative) for $1.  I've already created a PowerPoint for the song Arre Mi Burrito, so I think I'll be using that with my first graders soon.

The song Tinga Layo (click the link to download it for free) is in Spanish and is also about a little donkey, but it originates in the Caribbean.  I'll be heading there this summer on vacation, so I'm already pretty excited.  I mean, it is almost May, who isn't looking forward to a little summer fun?  This is a great opportunity to expose the kiddos to a few moments of Caribbean music.

Here's a slide for you to discuss with your students.  Try augmenting the lesson with recordings, videos, and books.  Have students share any personal experiences they might have with the Caribbean.
I've also included the notation in both Spanish and English, with the pitches "mi, so, and la" labeled - great way to say, "Hey, what do we have here?" and let students view and sing these with solfa/hand signs.

Here's some movement to add with the song:
And a way to add in our fun little friend:
Have fun!

Animal Moves, Animal Grooves

I'm obsessed with animal-based informative TV - at least on the weekends, or while I'm getting ready to go.  Every morning I start my day with "Big Cat Diary" on Animal Planet at 5:00.  Rowr!

Students love animals too, especially when we get to act like them!  Toward the end of the year, I do a lot of animal and jungle-based lessons.

I love Jungle Beat by Lynn Kleiner.  In fact, I love a lot of her books and own many of them.  I suggest checking her out - she really has some great recordings, ideas for teaching and making creative props and instruments, and they are all a lot of fun and clearly explained for us to use.

If you're looking to add some animal fun for free, check out Animal Moves, Animal Grooves from my TPT store.  I was inspired by my TV shows, haha, and the song "Follow Me" or "Do As I'm Doing".

Instructions are included, by I'm always more lengthy on my blog.  If you take the time to read them, you can really get the most out of this download.

First, print out the animal cards on cardstock.  Laminate.  Cut out.  Place face-down inside a hula hoop.  Seat the students in a circle around the hula hoop.  You will also need (if you choose) something to tap the students with.  I use a soft Funoodle (pool noodle) that I've cut in half.  When I "tap" the students on the head, I really "tap" the air above their heads - no true contact.

Teach the song to the students by rote.  Ask them to listen for when you use you speaking voice and when you use your singing voice.  Divide the song into two parts - the A part (singing) and the B part (speaking) and label as form (the plan or pattern music follows).  Sing the song again, patting the steady beat with alternating hands during the A part, then clapping the counting to 8 section of Part B.  Then, ask the students "How did I show the different parts of the song with my hands this time?" (You patted then you clapped).  You can transfer the pat to D and D octaves in a smaller keyboard instrument (I like to use soprano xylophones) and the clap to hand drums (which are easy to pass around the circle so many students get a turn).  For the first few times, you will have to demonstrate how to do Part B (Walk to the center of the circle, select a card from the hula hoop, say the name of the animal at the appropriate time, and lead the students in performing the action of the animal for eight beats).

Once students are comfortable with singing, moving, and adding instruments, you can walk around the circle and tap above their heads on the beat for the A part.  At the end (on the quarter rest) of the song, whoever was last to get "tapped" goes to the center and leads the class for Part B.  Afterward, they give the card back to you.  Continue moving and singing until all cards are gone.  You'll need to keep switching out instrument parts.  I like to assign a "Xylophone Expert" to stay at the keyboards the entire time to assist students as they come over to play.  You've always got one (or more) students who you know are just perfect for this job, and it allows you to spend less time focusing on/transitioning the xylophone players.

There are many ways to extend student learning with this activity (especially if you are playing it during a subsequent lesson).  Here's some ideas:

1. Label the B section as "call" (the solo student who picks up the card) and "response" (the class when they respond)
2. Play with the dynamics of the counts of eight - Start out piano, and gradually crescendo to forte by the end (use the correct terms)
3. Have students sing the call and response (on simple so and mi melodies) of Part B - this gives many of them a chance to sing soloistically
4. Use already performed animal cards to create an introduction to the song - students can clap the rhythm of the words (or play them on the instrument that they are on)
5. Add a partner song or connection - add a book about animals or another animal song

Let me know if you have any other ideas! :)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Low La Lessons, Games, and Activities

My older students (3rd and 4th) are working on (it varies per grade) low la, low so, and high do - really trying to get that extended Do pentatonic learned and practiced before the summer.

Low la and low so go really great with our recorder unit and a lot of the songs provide students the opportunity to add movement or well-loved folk dances, instrumentation, and explore their creativity and composition skills.  I, for one, and in love with anything La-based, so I'm excited we are here as well.

I included some of our favorite lessons in this set for teaching Low La:
Corn Grinding Song


Canoe Song/Land of the Silver Birch

Old Mr. Rabbit

See the Rabbit Running

One Morning Soon

Who Has Seen the Wind

Along with teach aides, printable games, and worksheets:

Rabbit Race - solfa and recorder matching game

Grocery Store Recorder Folder Game

Game Activities for Low La Patterns

Friday, April 26, 2013

In The Doghouse!

Going along with the Doggie songs from my last post, I created a matching game called, "In the Doghouse!"  I like to use matching games as short (about 15-20 minute) assessment and review activities for the students after they've already learned a new concept and have had multiple chances to use that knowledge.

I've played similar matching games (there are lots at my TPT store) with all grade levels.  They have been very successful and fun, and great for me when I'm assessing progress.  Solfa or rhythm matching games are really fun because we get to explore the listening and performing elements that go with them (not just simply matching).

These activities are also easy to use with a sub, even if they have no music experience.  You can also get many activities out of one set of cards: listening, singing, reading, composing.  If you're looking to get the most bang for your buck our of you matching games, this post is worth the read.

  I follow these steps when playing games such as this one:

1. Sit in a circle of pairs.  Each pair of students gets once complete set of game cards in a ziplock bag.  Pairs are instructed to share with each other and work quietly to arrive at the answer.  3/4 of my classes can do this well, with little reminders from me, but for the other 1/4 that don't get along so well, I take extra time to model working with a partner, discuss situations that might arise and how to handle them successfully, and set more clear expectations and consequences if their sharing doesn't go the way I'm asking for.  I also insist on correct posture (criss cross applesauce) and quiet game play (during the listening examples) so that everyone can focus and be successful.

2.  I usually assign one of the students in the pair to be in charge of the materials (cleaning up the cards, turning in the materials, putting the plastic bag in their lap so it doesn't get mixed up during game play).  I ask that student to find all the dog houses (12) and then I have both of them put the houses into two rows of six.

3. Then, I play a singing listening game.  I sing an example and the students echo.  I repeat this two more times while they find the correct dog house.  Then, I reveal the answer.  They get really excited, so I allow them to do a "silent cheer" if the answer is correct.  We continue until all patterns have been sung.  I even select some students to perform the patterns alone.  For many students, they can recognize a solfa pattern on the staff and label it correctly, but they may lack the confidence to correctly sing it.  This gives students more opportunities to hear the pitches sung correctly (by either you or successful classmates) and truly develop the aural recognition of the relationships between the pitches that they need to sight sing - not just sight read. 

4.  I extend the listening game to include an instrument (or you could sing on a neutral syllable).  Students will have to listen to level of the pitches carefully to find each answer.  They are even MORE excited when they get these right.  If you have a sub, they often won't feel confident enough to do step 3, but they can easily do step four if you equip them with an instrument (I use a metallophone with only the bars F#, A, and B on it) and this print out:
 5. Next, I let the students match the dogs to the correct dog house.  With older students, I let them do this totally on their own time.  If they finish early, I instruct them to sing each example and evaluate their partner's voice and use of hand signs (they really don't mind doing this because everyone else in the class is talking and singing too).  With the little ones (kinder and first), however, we match them one by one.  I'll say, "Find the dog that matches the Mi So La So doghouse" - then I walk around and check that everyone has the correct answer before we move on.  The advantage to doing it this way is, well, go on to step six ;)

6. After all patterns have been matched, I ask the students to put away the doghouses and leave the dogs out.  Then, I repeat steps 3 and 4 (only about 4 patterns for each step this time) so the students get more listening and singing practice.

7. Students can also create compositions by stringing two or more dogs together.  Students can sing their composition for the class and have the class create that composition with their cards.   Some students can sing one composition while another.  They can even play their compositions on an instrument.

If time allows, the students can play this as a matching memory game (turn cards over - pick up two cards - if they match keep and go again, if not, other player's turn).

You can download In The Doghouse from my TPT store by downloading the preview for Doggie Doggie and Red Rover lessons.  If you've already purchased my updated Mi So La lesson bundle you'll find it there also (in the D Major folder).

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mi So La "Doggie" Songs

Students love both of these songs - why I never put them together - who knows!  They are really fun games for students to revisit later when they learn "Bow Wow Wow" also - so they are great for 2nd graders at the beginning of the year or 1st graders toward the end.

Beforehand (or in subsequent lessons) students can play the "Help the dog find all his bones" game.  There is a rhythm version.   Try chanting on "doggie" and "bone" then on "ta" and "titi":

 And a melodic version:

First, we learn the song, "Doggie, Doggie" - I love the game that goes with this and it also gives students the opportunity to sing alone.  I've used paper plates that I had drawn doggies (titi) and bones (ta) on for use in decoding the rhythm of the song.  I also like that this song gives me the opportunity to discuss what a 'slur' is.

I "chunk" the song into two lessons - one where we learn the rhythms (and then do other things) and one where we  complete the rhythm activity, learn the melody and play the game.  We play the game again in another lesson and we also learn the rhythms for "Red Rover".

Here are some slides from "Doggie, Doggie":

And some printables:

  Here are some slides for "Red Rover":

And the printables (I like to re-use lots of them by placing them in plastic page protectors and having the students dry erase markers):

For the game with "Red Rover" - I don't use the conventional one.  I mean, ouch!  For this version, the students sit in two lines.  One student on each "team" is the "team captain".  Team A goes first, singing the song.  Instead of singing Sally, they decide on someone on the opposing team and sing their name.  Then, the "team captain" tells that person which pattern they will have to identify (speaking voice) or sing (singing voice).  If the person selected does so correctly, they stay on their team.  If not, they join the other team.  The team with the most people (usually we run out of time - but you can play until all patterns are used) wins.

Here's an example of the patterns (in D major like the songs).  I also included other ideas for use:

If you already downloaded my updated Mi So La bundle, you'll find these activities included there.
You can also purchase the set of lessons and activities separately at my TPT store.