Sunday, September 15, 2013


With Halloween on the way, I'm totally in the Autumn-mode.  Here are some skeleton/bone/ghost songs that I love (and none of them mention "Halloween", in case you have students that don't celebrate):

First of all, there's my personal favorite, "The Ghost of John" by Martha Grubb.  I use it every Halloween and the kids love the spooky melody.  Last year, I came across a great movement idea from Amy's Blog (she sings "Tom" instead of "John"): Ghost of Tom.  I love doing rounds with older kiddos, and this song is great for that as well.   This year, I found a great orffestration in the Share the Music Series (you know, the really old one text book series - that's all we have so you can see why I create so many PowerPoints, haha).  That series has great orffestrations because many of them include instructions for teaching the orchestration (yay, I don't have to figure it out).  The orffestration was created by Carol King.  I'll share the first page so you can get an idea:

My older students already know the song "Dry Bones Come Skipping" (this is now included in my Fall into Music  bundle).  We've used it as a name game already this year.  The students sing the song while walking in a circle for the A section and stopping and facing center for the B section.  One person rolls a ball from the middle of the circle out.  Whoever the ball hits catches it, and instead of 'Zekiel's bones in the B section, we'll sing their name and they sing a solo on "Some of them bones are mine."

 I've included a few slides for: discussing who Ezekiel was, reviewing the lyrics, and adding the steady beat.

By Halloween, (fingers crossed), the 4th and 5th grade students will be ready to add low so to our pitch repertoire (they already know low la). This song also has some challenging rhythms, including "syncopa" (eighth-quarter-eighth) and tika-ti (sixteenth-sixteenth-eighth).  Now, obviously being Kodaly-based, the students will learn other songs with tika-ti before we get to this one (they already know syncopa, but it never hurts to review).

The students will also add orff instruments to the song.  I created an easy accompaniment for BX and SX.  A while ago, I found a recorder counter-melody (I don't remember where - I have so many books) which the students can also add.
In the past, I've also added, "Dry Bones" (Dem Bones) with motions (in a large circle):
A Section (sung twice):

Ezekiel cried: Students cup hands near mouth
Them dry bones: Students hold arms out, bend at elbow, and wiggle arms (mimic skeleton arms)
Hear the Word of the Lord: Students cup ears, point to mouths, then point upward.

B Section:

During this section, we point to whatever bone is being mentioned.  Hear the Word of the Lord is the same as above.

C Section:

Them bones, them bones, gonna walk around: Students step counter-clockwise to the half note beat (four times).
Them bones, them bones, gonna walk around: Students step clockwise to the half note beat (four times).
Them bones, them bones, gonna walk around: Students step counter-clockwise to the half note beat.
Now hear the Word of the Lord: Same movements as before (students face center).
There's also, "Skin and Bones".  This is a good song for introducing low la, as the "ooh" incorporates it.  Students can sing and discern that the new note is lower than mi, re, and do.

This year I found some very cute erasers at Target.  We'll use these to figure out the last line of the melody, then to dictate patterns I sing and play.  Students can also create their own patterns (using mi, re, do, and la).

I like incorporating ideas from this video - it looks like there are some "trees", a few "bones" on the ground, and one student could be the "old woman" (the only cane I have is a candy cane one, oh well).  Cool ideas in the instrument section too - although older students could also add the recorder on the "ooh".
I hope you find these spooky ideas helpful!


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