We are big into "I can" statements this year, so:
1. I can use my singing voice when I sing with the class.
2. I can use my singing voice when I sing alone.
3. I can listen for quiet and loud sounds in a song.
4. I can listen for a fast steady beat and a slow steady beat in a song.
5. I can play the xylophone correctly on the steady beat.
6. I can play the jingle bells correctly on the steady beat.
7. I can use music to tell a story.
8. I can move and play in the music room safely.
Obviously, the kinders can't read all of these (you should see my first graders - they love to read them and "check them off" in their brains as we do them) but I still use this language with them. I don't bombard them all at once with these statements, but rather refer to them as we need them through out the lessons.
To being the lesson, I teach the song, "Soft Kitty" by rote. Yes, we are talking the same, "Soft Kitty" song that Sheldon sings in the TV series the Big Bang Theory (of which I am a huge fan). We pantomime motions that correspond to the words and the students love it (my 1st graders still ask to sing this all the time). Later in the year, we can decode the rhythm since it uses the ta, ta rest, and titi (see, it is still educational!). The version I use is a little different from the one below (I have a quarter note and then a rest instead of the half note and I end this song with do-re-do instead of do-do-do). We discuss the dynamic level of this song (quiet - piano). The students sing this beautifully with nice tone - I love it:
|Click on this to learn more about the song|
|Cute little picture to help explain the song|
Afterward, the students sing with the recording. We do the following movements, all while singing. I assign one student to be the "cat":
Verse 1: The cat pretends to be asleep, curled up on the floor. The other students are the "mice" and they point at the cat as if noticing "oh, he's asleep, we can come out now"
Verse 2: Mice pretend to creep around (hands up by chest like, small tiptoe steps).
Verse 3: Mice pretend to eat cheese with hands.
Verse 4: Mice pretend to sleep, lie on back.
Verse 5: The cat wakes up and pretends to sneak around (on two legs, not four).
Verse 6: The mice wake up and safely run (it is really controlled jogging - we never run if we are inside) while the cat pretends to chase them. On the words "in the house" the mice must freeze and put their hands in a point above their heads (like a house roof) before the cat can tag them.
There is really no point to this game. If the cat tags someone, we pretend to "chomp" them, then they promptly return to the next repetition of the game. The kiddos don't mind - they love it. I switch out the cat every round.
To extend this, I assign a few students to soprano xylophones set up in G pentatonic. The students can keep the beat with both hands playing together on any notes they choose. During the last verse, the students enjoy playing with the quicker tempo.
We also re-visit these songs later in the year when we learn "Naughty Kitty Cat" which you can download for free here.