Sunday, September 8, 2013


This is a song I created last year to review basic rhythms (quarter note/eighth note pair) with my 1st graders while also discussing melodic direction.  It was very successful and this year I've re-vamped it with some more fun visuals.  You can download it here (the instructions are included and they are very specific).

I love using fake fall leaves (available at Hobby Lobby - pretty much everywhere this time of year) as we sing and move to the song.  We do several vocal exploration exercises (I move my leaf up and down and the students mirror with theirs, while singing "ooo" - then I give students a turn) before I perform the melody of the song for the students.  As students learn the song, they are constantly moving to the melodic direction (using their leaves too).  There are motions for each pitch and the students love this, but our favorite parts are the glissandos at the end.

In later lessons, we review the lyrics, track icons for the steady beat, track icons for the rhythms, learn the rhythms, and track icons for the melody.  We also play the melody on boomwhackers (I change the color of the icons to match those of the boomwhackers).  Students also re-construct the melody as a class using printables.
Melodic Icons

Melodic Icons for Boomwhackers

For the wrap-up lesson, students create their own "fall leaves" song which they share with the class then take home.
I've added some extensions to this file.  Now, rhythmic icon and rhythm note cards are included.  There are several suggestions in the file for ways to use them.

I've also included instructions to an vocal improvisation game that I'll share (the kiddos loved it):

Use this game after the first mini-lesson.  You will need at least one fake fall leaf (I give each student one).
Seat the students in the circle.  Review the song.  Tell students we will use an AB Form with A - singing and B - playing the game.
Select a student to sit in the middle of the circle, place their leaf on their head, and shut their eyes.  While singing the song, choose one student to take the leaf off the head of the child in the middle and hide it somewhere in the room.
After the song, the student in the middle “wakes up” and begins to search around the room.  The rest of the students guide that student to their leaf by:
Shaking their leaf low and improvising on Do-Re (C major) by singing “ooh” - this indicates that the students is far away from their leaf.
Shaking their leaf in the middle and improvising on Fa-So (C major) by singing “ooh” - this indicates that the students is heading in the correct direction
Shaking their leaf up high and improvising on Ti-DO (C major) by singing “ooh” - this indicates that the student is very close to their leaf
Once the student has found their leaf, the game can begin again.  Extend this by having students improvise low, middle, and high sounds on C Major Pentatonic on a metallophone

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