Sunday, August 25, 2013

Let Us Chase the Squirrel

I love using this song for the Fall season.  The melodic content is a great review for my 3rd graders at the beginning of the year (before we add "La" back in and then move on to the extended Do pentatonic scale).  You can download it here for free: Let Us Chase the Squirrel.

The students can use the title slide as a pitch ladder and create patterns for their friends to sing by pointing to the pictures.

Here are the lyrics of the song.  Try having students create their own motions for the lyrics - they love this!

 Have the students keep the beat by tapping their fists lightly on their open palms.  Transfer this to a woodblock.  Talk about why a "wood block" might be a good instrument to use with this particular song.

My kiddos love to "predict" which rhythm will appear based on the iconic representation.  Have students track the pictures while they say the words.

Have the students clap the rhythm while chanting the words.  Then, have them clap the rhythm while saying rhythm syllables of your choice.  Last, have them clap the rhythm while saying the words "in their head" (audiate)

Since my student have already used all these pitches and we are simply reviewing, I don't include any iconic representation of the pitches in this lesson.  The students simply sign the pitches while tracking the song as I play it on the piano.  Then, the students sing on solfa and sign while I play the melody.  Third, the students sing and sign without me playing the melody.  Then, they sing on the correct lyrics (they continue to sign).

On this slide, I have students come up and identify: all the do's, all the re's, all the mi's, and all the so's.  We also identify where repeats, steps, skips, and leaps occur.  We also add in the 2nd verse.

Here's the orffestration of the song.  The woodblock is easy enough to add (have students clap the rhythm then transfer), as is the SG part (have students snap on the "rel" or highest pitch then transfer).  For the BX/BM part, have the students pat it on their legs, keeping their right hand in the same place but moving their left hand in and out to mirror the movement they'll use on the instrument.  Transfer.

Students love this game.  Those that aren't playing the orffestration will enjoy singing and playing this.

This year, I've added another activity to this song that I think hits so many topics in one - I know I need it!  The printable cards below can be used by students in a variety of ways:

Singing Practice: The students can practice singing the patterns on the cards. They could evaluate the singing of others.
Listening Activity: The teacher sings (on neutral syllable if using the cards with solfa on them, on a neutral syllable or using the solfa if using the cards without solfa) or plays a pattern and the students locate it.  The teacher can play more than one pattern to make the listening activity more difficult.  Students could also sing or play patterns for their peers to find.
Composition Activity: The students can compose their own melodies, using one squirrel card first (the squirrels have melodies that don't end on "do") and ending with one hickory card (melodies that end on "do").  You can label the squirrel cards as "question" phrases and the hickory cards as "answer" phrases.  Students can add lyrics and instrumentation to their composition.  Print the cards on regular paper and then have the students glue their own two-card creations to brown construction paper to create a bulletin board display. 

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