Monthly Archives: January 2018

Obwisana Lesson Ideas to Teach Ties

In this newsletter I’m going to share the process I use to teach ties, using the song Obwisana.  When first writing and recording songs for Musicplay in 1999, the internet wasn’t the wealth of information it is today.  I asked everyone I knew in Red Deer, Alberta (not a very multicultural city in 1999) if they know someone from Africa who would teach me some African children’s songs.  I finally was able to connect with “Nana” who was a health inspector in Olds.  I had some songs in secondary sources, but wanted some that came right from the source.  Nana had been born in Ghana, lived in Botswana, then emigrated with her family to Canada.  She remembered singing Obwisana as a child.  She didn’t have a literal translation for the song, but remembered that it meant, “Grandma, the rock hit my finger.  It hurt.”

Process:
1.  Teach the song, and tell the students what the words mean These projectables are from the Concept Slides in the Musicplay Digital Resource PowerPoints.  They are also in the Concept Slides section at www.musicplayonline.com .

Play the Game!!!  The traditional game is a stone passing game.  I’ve done it that way with students, but when I turned the game into a stick passing elimination game, it because a requested activity!  When doing passing games with grade 2, I start with the pile of sticks in front of me, and pass them out one at a time to my right.  I say, “Pick up, set down” and the child on my right does that.  Then there are 2 children who pick up, set down, then 3, then 4 until the whole class has a stick.  This is the way to get kids to all go in the correct direction when passing!  I mark one stick with tape.  The pattern we used was:  tap, tap, set down (in front of the person on their right), pick up. (pick up the new stick) . We sing the song and at the end of the song, the child with the marked stick is “out” and starts a new circle in the center.  I go into the circle with the first out.  They change sticks so the marked stick stays in the outer circle.  Once you’re in the middle, you’re just playing for fun.  There’s a kids demo video of this in the Musicplay Digital Resource, and at www.musicplayonline.com .

2.  Show where Ghana is on a world map, and show the students what life is like in rural northern Ghana.  My friend, Marilyn Pottage, took these photos on one of her many trips to Ghana.  She runs a foundation that helps provide secondary and university education for girls.  These photos are in the Concept Slides of the Musicplay 2 Digital resources and are in the Concept Slides of musicplayonline.com.

3.  Have the students pat the beats in the song.  I like to have them count the beats, then check if they have them right, on a beat chart.

4. Then I have the students clap the rhythm – the way the words go.  Then we figure out how many sounds are on each beat.

There are a series of beat/rhythm interactive activites at www.musicplayonline.com .  The interactive activities follow the same process.

The interactive activities at www.musicplayonline.com  are awesome BECAUSE they are interactive.  When you press PLAY on “Point to the Beat” – the beats pulse as the song is sung.

3.  Pat the Beats as you sing the song        4.  Clap the words as you sing the song

5.  Be sure your students understand the difference between beat and rhythm.

You can use “Is the drum playing beat or rhythm” to assess formally if students can tell if it’s beat or rhythm.  If you have student iPads or chromebooks, students can use the student login for www.musicplayonline.com . and they can complete the One sound, two sounds or more than one beat activity on their device.

6.  Clap a phrase of the song, and have students figure out how many sounds are on each beat.  In this song, they’ll be figuring out if there are some sounds that last more than one beat.

If you prefer to have hands-on manipulatives for your students, printable manipulatives of the same activities are given in the printables section of www.musicplayonline.com .

The Beat Pointing Page could be used in place of the interactive “Point to the Beat.”

The Rhythm Pointing Page would be in place of “Clap the Rhythm.”

For some songs, I like to give the students a set of the rhythm cards (#3-4) and ask them to re-create the rhythm of the song.  Easy sets include the words of the song, but if I want to challenge the students, I’ll take out the words!    We’ve made the rhythm cards so it’s very quick to copy onto cardstock, then cut out.  I store them in CD envelopes so I can see through the envelope window and know what song the set is for.  The Rhythm Sort worksheet is a written version of an online rhythm sort activity.  Write the Rhythm would be a great assessment.

Should you do every activity for this song?  Of course not.  I’ve given the wealth of activities at musicplayonline so you can choose the activity that meets the needs of your students.  If your 2nd grade are amazing readers, challenge them with a rhythm sort.  If you have a challenging class, or this is the first year you’ve taught these children, they may still need a beat pointing page.

How many lessons will this take?  That also depends on whether your students are struggling or strong readers.  But, I would allow more than one lesson, especially when you want to get kids creating their own music!

Create and Perform:  Whether your students are amazing readers or still struggling, all students should be encouraged to create their own music.  One of the ways that works well, is to have them create with word rhythms.  Two ways to create are given at www.musicplayonline.com .  The first is creating with words or just use the notes.  When class time is really limited, do this as a teacher led activity.

If you have more time, students could do either of these activities on devices, or you could print out rhythm cards or word cards for them to use to create an 8 beat rhythm.

Teacher can model with the interactive projectable above – then it’s easy for students in pairs or small groups to create their own word rhythm, or note rhythm using the cards pictured below.

Assessment:  As with all new concepts, you may want to assess if students understand.  The Rhythm Sort and Rhythm Erase activity at www.musicplayonline.com . are both great.  I might do the rhythm erase first.  Note that we haven’t included the song title.  We did that so you could use it as a mystery song.  The Rhythm Sort is a great activity to do as your assessment of the “Obwisana Unit.”  There is a printable version of the rhythm sort in printables online.

Rhythm Sort worksheet     Create a word rhythm:      Accented Beats

Obwisana Lesson Ideas Screen Cast:  I created a screen cast to show teachers in a video the materials in this newsletter.  I made a mistake though – and didn’t include in the video the Concept slides about Ghana.  So be sure if you teach this lesson, you include the cultural context.   You can watch the video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLB99FyylsA&t=5s .  The video includes the kids demo of the game.

Hope you enjoy the screencast and newsletter with lesson ideas on Obwisana!

Denise

Denise Gagne
denise@musicplay.ca
www.musicplayonline.com
(blog) www.denisegagne.com
Musicplay Teachers Group on Facebook!

Next Blog PostChinese New Years lesson and ideas!
If you want a sneak preview, visit www.musicplayonline.com and go the first 4 songs of Musicplay 3.  We’ve removed those songs and replaced them with songs and lessons on Chinese New Years!  (Our programmers are working on a “New” Songs section)

Recorder Mad Minutes

MAD MINUTES – A Great Way to Help Students Develop Note Reading Abilities!

Mad Minutes help students develop their note reading ability. Mad minutes were invented by math teachers to help children develop instant recall of math facts.  In music, Mad Minutes are timed drills to practice letter names. As the students enter the classroom give a mad minute and a pencil to each student.  Usually I hand out the papers, and the first student in line gives out the pencils.

If students are learning BAG songs on the recorder, they should be completing a BAG Mad Minute.  As they learn to play more notes, add the notes to the Mad Minute.

Start the timer, and tell the students to “GO!”   Tell the students to call out “Done!” and raise their hands when they are finished. Then, you tell them how many seconds or minutes and seconds it took them to complete. I like to do a mad minute at the start of every recorder class. In the Recorder Resource Kit there are two BAG mad minutes, then the mad minutes add a note. When you are working on BAG songs, use the BAG mad minute. When you start on the low E, use the BAG E mad minute. Use each mad minute more than once – lots of repetition is needed for students to develop instant recall of note names.

Students try to improve their best time. It’s not competing against others in the class – they are competing against themselves. This has been really engaging for my students – a great way to start off the class.

Watch the video to see the level of engagement!

If you have students taking private lessons, make them harder mad minutes. If they take piano, I give them a mad minute with treble and bass clef – and the piano teachers love me for it.

Where can you get Mad Minutes?  Mad Minutes are included in the Recorder Resource Kit. We’ve just lowered the price of the Recorder Resource Kit with Projectables (PDF and videos!) to $40!   The Recorder Resource Kit include 38 songs in regular AND Kids Notes notation. The songs are sequenced as follows: BAG E D C’ D’ F C. The kit includes many extras: practice bugs, composition template, quiz, rubrics, theory worksheets, and note name flash cards. It’s available as print and/or download.  The Kit includes instruction on how to do a Recorder Karate program with selected songs from the kit.  But there are far more than test pieces in the kit – this is a carefully sequenced collection, so your students will learn to read music – they won’t just learn to play a test piece by rote.  

Order the Recorder Resource Kit from your favorite music store or from Themes & Variations:

Canada: http://shop.musicplaytext.ihoststores.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=116-P

USA: http://shop.musicplaytext1.ihoststores.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=116-P

All the songs that are in the Recorder Resource Kit are given twice – regular notation and kids notes. With Kids Notes, the letter name is imprinted right on the note.  You can make kids notes booklets for your students who struggle – helping them to keep up with the class.  Kids notes are a huge help to students who still struggle – even after completing many mad minutes.  The projectable PowerPoints, PDFs and movies in the Kit project both regular notation AND kids notes.  Kids notes are much better for the kids than writing letters under the song.  When kids pencil in notes, all they look at is the pencil.  With Kids Notes, they see the placement on the staff and they read the rhythms – and easily transition to note reading when they are developmentally ready.

  • The Recorder Resource Kit includes 38 songs in regular AND Kids notes notation.  It also includes:
  • mad minutes
  • theory worksheets
  • assessment tools:  theory quiz and playing rubrics
  • Recorder Karate test pieces, and helpful hints (in the Teacher’s guide)
  • Projectables in 3 formats:  PDF, PowerPoints, Movies

Canada: http://shop.musicplaytext.ihoststores.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=116-P

USA: http://shop.musicplaytext1.ihoststores.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=116-P

Student Book Recorder / Book / CD Packages
Students practice more and practice better when they have the accompaniment CD. We make these affordable packages available to Canadian schools. For $10 you get either a quality Handel recorder or a Yamaha recorder, the Recorder Resource Student Book and a CD. (If students don’t have a disk drive on their computer, they can email for a download version) . Order Packages for Canadian Schools