Author Archives: Denise Gagne

Mother’s Day Activities

Mother’s Day 2018  is May 13th

There are some great songs for Mother’s Day in Musicplay:
Musicplay for Kindergarten #143 Moms are Special
– there is a class Big Book template available for this song in the Printables section at Musicplayonline.com.
Musicplay 1 – #97 That’s My Mom
Musicplay 2 – #83 Mom, You’re the Best .  – there is a class Big Book template available for this song in the Printables section at Musicplayonline.com.

There is a new song for PreK, Mom is the Sunshine, that is written, but not yet recorded.  This will become song #121 in PreK atMusicplayonline.com I wrote it last Thursday, and our wonderful arranger got me an accompaniment track in time to teach it to my PreK class the same day.  The kids and I added movements, and they can sing and do the movements (will have kids demo soon too!).  My PreK class seemed to get that “Mom is the sunshine in my world” is a metaphor (without using that vocabulary), and I invited them to create new verses.  One thought of, “Mom is the Butterflies.” and that was lovely.  Then a hand went up, and this child suggested “Chicken.”  Chicken?  I asked her if she really liked chickens a lot and she said she did, so we sang, “Mom is the chicken.”  We won’t record that verse, but you can sing it with your PreK – Grade 2 students if you like!

This is the printable for the new song.

We thought that teachers might want to have the children color and illustrate what they think the song is about.  In PreK, this is responding and connecting in the USA national standards:  a With substantial guidance, talk about personal and expressive preferences in music.  MU:Cr3.2.PKa With substantial guidance, share revised musical ideas with peers.  (chickens or butterflies?).     MU:Pr4.2.PKa With substantial guidance, explore and demonstrate awareness of musical contrasts.   – should we sing it quiet or loud?  Why?

For your older students, we’ve created a poem/body percussion activity in the UNITS section in Mother’s Day at  Musicplayonline.com.

 

Objective:  The students will create an accompaniment for a Mother’s Day Poem.

Teaching Process:

1.   Project a copy of the activity, and discuss possible ways to fill in the blanks.  If you like, you could create a class composition, or could have students do it individually. If doing this individually, give each student a copy of the Mother’s Day Activity printable.  If you have very little time, you could use the exemplar that is given for the activity.

Say each line of the poem in rhythm.  For example:  M is for meals that my mom makes.
3.  When you’ve decided on a rhythm, create body percussion to accompany the word rhythm.  For example:  M is for meals that   my  mom makes
pat pat-pat pat pat   clap  clap   clap

4.  Discuss the performance and decide if you like it.   Try it a new way and decide if you like it better.

5.  If you wish, and if time permits, transfer the body percussion to unpitched instruments.

For example:
stomp – large drum
pat – small drum
clap – rhythm sticks

6.  Discuss the performance and decide if you like it.   Try it a new way and decide if you like it better.
The lesson plan that’s posted online, includes alignments to the USA national standards for Gr. 3 – Creating.   To all the teachers who are mothers or care-givers, you are busy, busy people and I hope your families celebrate you on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

Find all the activities in this post at Musicplayonline.com in the UNITS section. (left menu)

 

Want a great PD workshop this summer?    Come to the Artie and Denise Summer Symposium #9 in Herndon, VA (near Dulles and Washington DC). It’s an awesome workshop with teachers from many states, provinces and countries attending!

Engaging Activities for Gr. 4-6 Music Classes

Every music class is different. The song that might be the favorite of one class of Grade 4 students, another class might not like. If I introduce a song or activity and the students really dislike it, I’ll put it aside for another year.

What do I do with the (fortunately very rare) student who says that they don’t like music. Does every student like math? reading? art? Music is a required part of the curriculum, just like math, reading, and art. There are skills that they are expected to learn, even if it isn’t their favorite subject. As a teacher, I’m expected to write report cards, do outdoor supervision and attend staff meetings — even if those aren’t my favorite things to do. This is life.

What do you do with the kids who want to listen to pop songs and don’t want to sing folk songs? In language arts do the students read Archie comics? No – they read literature that has been selected because it’s “quality” literature. In music class will I teach pop songs? Sometimes, for a specific purpose, I will. But I would never teach just pop music, any more than I would feed a child junk food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Folk songs have survived for hundreds of years because there is something in them that is timeless and they teach us not just musical skills, but teach us about our past.

There are some games and actitivities that are always favorites! If you start the year with activities that the students really enjoy, you’ll have more success introducing new activities.
Find all of the singing games listed below at www.musicplayonline.com . There will be song videos AND there will be kids demo videos available to help you learn how to play the game.  Get more information on the Musicplay curriculum at http://musicplay.ca/.

 

Favorite Games
Musicplay 4
* Wake Me! Shake Me!  – create a B section
* Good Morning (#5) – what my students liked most about the game was introducing themselves
* Cut the Cake (#28) – every student I’ve ever taught loves chase games
* Sarasponda (39) – kids love the stick game, especially the toss
* Ma Ku Ay (#22) – kids love the stick game – they’d borrow rhythm sticks at recess to practice
* Pass the Pumpkin (26) – the challenge of doing the rhythm chain keeps kids engaged
* Stella Ella Olla (#34) – my students would play this game every music class from Sept – June! Loved it!
* Categories (#64) – this game took a few classes until they “caught on” but we’d often use it after that.
* My Bonnie (#35) – going up and down each time there’s a B is fun!

Musicplay 5
Concentration (#2)
Ickle Ockle (#8) – the song is simple, but the kids love the chase!
Four White Horses (#10) – the clap pattern is tricky to teach, but not really that hard and the kids like the challenge.
Button (#13) always engaging – they have to see if they can guess
Our Old Sow (#28) my students favorite game!
Green Sally Up (#33) – this is a clap game with a handshake. The creating was fun too!
Old Maid (#46) – fun stealing partners
Waddally Acha #88 – fun with the Boomwhackers

Musicplay 6
Dollar #19 – played like Button, it’s an engaging game
COFFEE #46 – try the tennis ball routine with the round – fun!
Hanky Panky #30 – this is played like Stella Ella Olla
Un Elephant #117 is the same kind of game with French words.

Creating Activities – Using the singing game song as a theme, have students create a B section.  If you have Orff instruments, teach the Orff arrangement, then have students improvise melodies using a tone set from the song as a B section.  If you don’t have Orff instruments, create ostinatos using ideas from the song and try song + ostinato.  Or, create word rhythms with ideas from the song, transfer to body percussion or unpitched instruments as an introduction/ending to the song or as a B section.  The Orff Source vol. 1-2-3 (or the Orff arrangements at musicplayonline.com) have many creating ideas for most of the singing games listed above.

Listening Activities
Listening Logs A teacher from St. Michael’s boy school once wrote and told me that her 5th grade classes favorite activity was to do listening logs. It wasn’t what I would expect, but it was this class’s favorite!
Cup Games – In the Listening Kits 3-4-5 (also listening section at musicplayonline) there are cup games. I like to teach one or two patterns, then have the students make up their own. The only patterns they can’t use are ones that they’ve learned somewhere else – has to be brand new!
Rhythm instrument play alongs – kids love to play rhythm instruments!
Head and Shoulders Knees and Toes – From Listening Fun book.
– kids loved this when we did the videotaping. They really liked all the tennis ball routines as well!

Favorite Songs
Musicplay 4:
This Little Light of Mine – this is familiar, so is easy to teach. I find a sing along song at the beginning of the school year gets the kids singing. It might be that it’s familiar, and they have confidence singing it.
Bats – Kids love the balloon sound effects in this song
Chester – Kids love the challenge of doing the actions as tempo increases
Scotland’s Burning – this is a round that is easy enough for your students to have success in 2 parts. I found adding the actions made it even more appealing.

Musicplay 5
Little Tommy Tinker (#3) – very successful round
Ronald McDonald #17 – fun action song
We Love to Sing #95 – great warmup – stand up each time you sing “We love to sing!”
Shalom #23 – great for Remembrance Day, we added sign language for part 1.
Jack was every Inch a Sailor – #14 – this is a fun folk song and easy to accompany with I and V chords.  There are lots of songs in Musicplay 5 that use just two chords – accompany with ukelele, guitars or . Boomwhackers!   There are too many favorites to list them all! Same with Musicplay 6 – lots of excellent choral pieces!

Activities
beat/rhythm with sticks – Yankee Doodle Stick Game in Musicplay 4 works well If you’ve found other favorite songs in 4-5-6 for doing beat/rhythm switch, please let me know!
Beat Boards – drumming along with pop songs. Get the students to create their own pop song playalongs!
Review note values: draw a whole, half, quarter, eighth on the board. Kids play what you point to.  Do this with a fun pop song in 4/4 time – Sugar Sugar works well. Try this with tennis balls!
Creating rhythm compositions – use the note squares that are in Musicplay 6, or give students a template and have them create their own rhythm compositions. Turn the composition into 2 or more parts by adding an ostinato or playing it as a canon.
Composing piggyback and raps – this unit is part of Musicplay 6. Rap tracks are on CD#4. If you haven’t tried this unit, copy the reproducibles (in the back of the binder worksheets 17-22) and get your kids creating rhythm compositions, verses, then piggyback songs, then raps and rhythm and blues songs.
Pop Song Assignment – Musicplay 6 pg 6-7
Guitar or Ukelele – Many of the songs in Musicplay can be accompanied with instruments. Musicplay 5 includes many songs that can be accompanied with just 1 or 2 chords.
1 chord minor #20, 21, 33,
1 chord major #6, 8, 24, 62,
I-V #2 Concentration, 3 Little Tommy, 10 Four White Horses, 15 Alabma Gal, 25 El Torojil, 26 He’s Got the Whole world, 27 Peace is FLowing, 28 Our Old Sow, 38 Winter is Here, 45 Early to Bed, 54 I’ve a Car, 75 Funga Alafia, 77 Old Woman, 79 John Kanaka, 89 Play that Rhythm, 91 Clementine, 92 I Let Her Go, 96 Boll Weevil .  If you don’t have guitars or ukeleles, you can accompany with Boomwhackers.

Create accompaniments for poems or simple songs: Use word highlights or ostinato to create accompaniments for poems or simple songs

Does music class have to be fun? Practicing scales on the piano or a trumpet isn’t something that I’d call “fun” but I know that I have to do the technique to improve my skills on my instrument. I think that students get a great deal of satisfaction from doing something well – singing well, accurately playing a part on their instrument, creating a movement that looks neat, learning to read a new rhythm. It’s not always “fun” – but it’s very satisfying – and that makes me want to keep doing an activity.

Coming Soon – Ideas for Earth Day!

 

Artie and Denise – in Dulles, VA .  July 17-18, 2018

Join Artie Almeida, Denise Gagne, and Katie Grace Miller for a 2 day elementary music conference that will give you a wealth of ideas and inspiration for teaching elementary music classes. Close to Dulles airport – -GREAT workshop and close to Washington DC for sightseeing! Workshop registration includes a one year subscription to musicplayonline.com – it’s like a free workshops!!!   Register: http://musicplay.ca/

 

Easter Dynamics and Composition Lesson

Find the Easter Basket

A fun lesson for the week before Easter, would be to teach your classes, Find the Easter Basket.  This has always been a favorite lesson for me to teach before Easter.  It’s a great opportunity to review dynamics, including crescendo and decrescendo or diminuendo.

Process:

  • if teaching to K, teach the song by rote
  • If teaching to Gr. 1-5, read the rhythms for the song by projecting the digital resource or musicplayonline.com, read from the student books, or write them on the board.
  • Teach the melody by rote, or if your students can read la so mi, have them read the melody.
  • Explain how the game is played. Don’t let the students shout. If the sound is harsh, have them clap the rhythm of the song softly and getting louder to show where the basket is, instead of singing.
  • Play the game.

Game Directions: Choose one child to hide the Easter basket and another child to look for it. The child who is going to hunt for the basket leaves the room while the “hider” hides it. When the finder returns, the class sings the song, singing softly when he/she is far away from the basket, and singing louder as he gets closer to the basket. The basket must be hidden in plain sight. The game continues until everyone in the class has had a turn to hide the basket or to find it.
If you have a really large class, and kids are getting wiggly waiting for their turn, play the game over two classes. Keep track on your class list of all the students that have had a turn to hide or find the basket. In my classes, the kids get to hide OR find — not both.

Teaching Purpose/Suggestions: This song is included to teach or review dynamics.  Show the dynamics projectables.  (These are in the digital resources, or at musicplayonline these are in the concept slides.  If purchasing as a TPT activity, the slides will be a projectable.)
Older classes still like playing games!

  • For an older class, show them how a simple game song like Tisket a Tasket can be turned into a jazz classic.  Search on YouTube for Ella Fitzgerald’s version of the song.
  • Discuss how the Ella Fitzgerald version differs from the game song given here.
  • Make a Venn Diagram that shows how the versions are similar and how they are different.

Extension:  Create an EASTER RONDO
1.  Teach the Orff arrangement, starting with the bass part and adding as many parts as your students can handle.

This arrangement is from The Orff Source by Denise Gagne
2. Have the students make a pattern using Easter icons
K-1-2:  For the little ones use one sound/two sound cards:
Bunny Chick Bunny Chick.  Bunny Bunny Bunny Chick

2-3-4: For older students use two beat rhythms:
Easter bunny, Easter Bunny, Basket, Chick . (ti-ti ti-ti,, ti-ti ti-ti, ta ta ta rest)

3. Have them play the patterns on body percussion or non-pitched instruments.  Or, improvise melodies based on the rhythm of the patterns on barred instruments. Use the patterns as an introduction to the song, or as an interlude between repetitions of the song.

For the little ones, make a pattern with one and two sound cards.  With your older students, give them cards with two beat rhythms.  I use white CD envelopes to store my cards – then I can easily see with set of cards I have in them.  A tip from Christie Noble and Tracy Stener (authors of Making Music Fun series)- copy sets of cards onto different colored cardstock. (that’s why I used black and white drawings) . Then the kids are less likely to mix up the sets.   I’ve made the cards so they are quick and easy to cut out – make a set of cards for your class in minutes.
I’ll post the word rhythm cards at musicplayonline.com in the printables for Gr. 2 #75 Find the Easter Basket song tomorrow when I have my technicians to help me.
To view The Orff Source visit www.musicplay.ca
To view the printables visit: musicplayonline.com

St. Patrick’s Day Unit – Lesson Ideas for St. Patrick’s Day!

2018-03-09 St Patrick’s Day Lesson Ideas

The St. Patrick’s Day Composition, Improvisation Flashcards & Theory Unit is available to download from Teachers Pay Teachers OR use the interactive composition, improvisation, Rhythm Chain and Rhythm erase at www.musicplayonline.com. Musicplayonline has 10+ Irish folk songs and instrumental selections for movement/listening that aren’t included in the TPT version.  The TPT version has additional flashcards, themed recorder mad minutes and a themed staff lesson that aren’t at musicplayonline. 

1.  Two Fun Fact movies are included in this unit. The K-5 movie is shorter with less detail.   Show the students the movie to begin your St. Patrick’s Day unit. There is also a colour by .  note value activity included.

  • 2. Leprechaun Improvisation includes:  song, mp3, worksheet
  • To the Teacher: this is a melodic improvisation activity for PreK – Gr. 5.
  • Discuss the legend that says if you catch a leprechaun he can grant you three wishes. Ask the students for suggestions of what they might wish for.
  • Teach the song by rote to younger students.Older students may be able to read the rhythm and the melody. (drm s)
  •  Demonstrate how to improvise some of the students ideas for wishes. Use a variety of pitches: s ml, drm, drm s.
  • Ask for student volunteers to improvise vocally their wishes.
  • If you’d like to perform this, a performance/accompaniment track is included in the unit OR accompany with a C-G bordun on Orff instruments

3, Compose a Melody 1 AND 2 .  Compose with solfa: drm, drm sl Or with the notes CDE or CDE GA

  • To the Teacher: Choose from Melody 1 and Melody 2 poems for the composition activity. Both have the rhythm notated, so students only have to write the melody.  Choose whether to have your students compose with solfa: drm, drm sl Or with the notes CDE or CDE GA
  • Teach the poem.
  • invite students to improvise melodies for phrases of the poem using either do, re, mi or do, re, mi, so, la.
  • Use the projectable PowerPoint to create a melody as a class. (copy and paste the solfa or the notes to compose in PowerPoint.)
  • Accompany the composition with a bordun on the Orff instruments. You can accompany  drm, drm sl in the key of C with C-G.

Rhythmic Phrases PPT and Worksheet

  • Teach or demonstrate how to complete the worksheet using the PowerPoint. Say the phrase and invite the students to tell you which rhythm matches the phrase.
  • In the PowerPoint, copy and paste the rhythm into the box.

Have the students complete the worksheet as a center activity or an assessment activity.

5. Shamrock Rhythm Erase

  • This has 8 levels for Gr. 1-6  – interactive PDF, PPT, Worksheet are included online and in the TPT version.   To the Teacher:
  • Say each of the rhythm patterns.
  • When students know them all, click on one to take it away.
  • Say all four patterns again.
  • Click on another one to take it away.
  • Continue making patterns disappear until you are left with only the shamrocks.
  • Have the students tell what the patterns are. Click to check if they’re correct. (In the interactive PDF, click the “reset” button.
  • Try playing the patterns using body percussion or unpitched percussion instruments.
  • Try having the students use the worksheet provided to write the patterns down, check
  • their answers with the activity.
  • Try a new level!

Leprechaun Hunt Rhythm Chain

  • This has 8 levels – interactive PDF, PPT, Flashcards .   To the Teacher:
  • • Help us find the leprechaun! To start, click on the start button to make the first rhythm appear.
  • When the students have memorized the rhythm click on the rhythm to make it disappear.
  • Clap the rhythm again and find the leprechaun’s yellow footprints.
  • Click on the footprints to reveal the next rhythm. When the students have memorized the second pattern clap the first pattern followed by the second. As you collect more patterns the rhythm chain will become longer.
  • Continue collecting rhythm patterns by clicking on the rhythms and the footprints.
  • Have the students tell what the patterns are. Click to check if they’re correct. (In the
  • interactive PDF, click the “reset” button.
  • Try playing the patterns using body percussion or unpitched percussion instruments.
  • Try a new level!

Rhythm Flashcards – in TPT version only
80 Rhythm Flashcards are included, themed for St. Patrick’s Day.

Staff Lesson Workshops –     in TPT version only .
These correlate with the staff lesson at musicplayonline.com – the staff lesson is found in the interactive activities for the first 6 songs in K-6.   (We will be moving the staff lesson to the Units section when we start building our theory section)

Recorder Mad Minutes – themed for St. Patricks Day . – in TPT version only

 
  • Songs / musical selections for St. Patrick’s Day found in the St. Patrick’s Day Unit at musicplayonline.com.  (These are not in the TPT version)

  • 1. Paddy From Home
  • 2. St. Patrick’s Day Jig
  • 3. Fillimiooriay
  • 4. I Like Leprechauns
  • 5. Leprechaun March
  • 6. Lucky Leprechaun
  • 7. Connaughtman’s Rambles
  • 8. Irish Washerwoman
  • 9. Irish Jig
  • 10. Irish Reel
  • 11. Wild Mountain Thyme
  • 12. Mary Mac
  • 13. Hi Ho the Rattlin Bog
  • 14. Cockles and Mussels
  • 15.  Mr. Potato Head
  • – and of course there is a menu of suggested activities for each of the songs!

At www.musicplayonline.com The UNITS button is on the left menu

   

Select Festivals and Holidays – St. Patrick’s Day

 

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to everyone!  

Chinese New Year Musical Activities Unit

Wow!  In one week, we’ve celebrated Valentine’s Day, seen the start of the Winter Olympics, and started Lunar New Year celebrations – including Chinese New Year on Feb. 15th!

We’ve created an entire Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year celebration at www.musicplayonline.com.  If you don’t subscribe to the online site, You can download the unit from TPT.  TPT Download

The Unit starts with Fun Facts about Chinese New Years or Lunar New Year as it should properly be called.  Beautiful projectable images illustrate many traditions and customs.

A traditional song is included in the unit.   Ruth Fung was a parent when I taught at GW Smith Elementary.  She taught us the song, and provided the translation and the phonetic pronunciation.  Her daughter and a daughter’s friend recorded the vocals for the song, and this recording is included in the unit to help learn the pronunciation.

Two composition activities are included.  A Chinese New Year Rondo introduces a simple song to use as the theme, then the students can create word rhythm compositions as B, C, D sections.  Two levels are included:  one/two sounds per beat for your young students, and more words for your older students.  Online the pdfs of the word cards are available to download – these are designed to be very easy to print out and make sets!  These pdfs are included in the TPT download of the unit as well.

A second composition activity that you can choose is the Animals of the Zodiac activity.  This activity uses animal word rhythms and sounds that the animals might make.  To model interactively for students if using the TPT version, use the PowerPoints and cut/paste the words to create a class composition.  at www.musicplayonline.com, you can use the interactive version.  Worksheets to practice name notes and solfa are included!

Dragon Dance

When I was the music teacher at Grandview Elementary, Dr. Kenneth Wu, a martial arts teacher and dragon dancer (and acupuncturist) came into our school and taught our students how to do the dragon dance.  His instructions are included in the Dragon Dance lesson plan, and a video of our students performance is also included online and in the TPT download.  Building the dragon for this performance was a ton of fun for me and for the students.  We used a tablecloth runner long enough for 20-25 students, and decorated it with lots of glitter and artwork.  I remember glitter from one end of the school to the other!

Rhythm Chain

A rhythm chain is the opposite of a Rhythm Erase – you try to memorize patterns starting with one, then adding to it.  Use a variety of body percussion to make your performance interesting.

The first rhythm will be revealed to you. When you’ve memorized the first rhythm, click on the rhythm to hide it and click on the next scroll to reveal the second rhythm. Clap the first rhythm (hidden) and the second rhythm (revealed) until you memorize the second rhythm. Hide the second rhythm and reveal the third rhythm. Contine down the chain.

Four rhythm chains are included in an interactive PDF – each one at a different level.

Rhythm Lanterns – Rhythm Erase

Lanterns with riddles on them are hung up around the cities, and children go from lantern to lantern solving riddles.

In the Rhythm Laterns, students complete a rhythm erase.  They memorize the rhythm patterns, one pattern will disappear at a time, until you are left with only the lanterns.   When they complete the rhythm erase, they are rewarded with a riddle.

A 24 page teacher’s guide is included with the unit.

Where can you get these Chinese New Year lessons and activities?

We’ve created an entire Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year celebration at www.musicplayonline.com.  If you don’t subscribe to the online site, You can download the unit from TPT.  TPT Download

Are you still celebrating the Winter Olympics?  We’ve posted the unit on TPT, so if you want to download all the materials, you can.  LINK to TPT Winter Olympics Musical Activities

Or visit www.musicplayonline.com – see our new UNITS section on the left menu to use interactive versions of the activities.  More units are coming soon!

 

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

PreK – Gr. 3 Holiday Concert Songs

A recent Facebook asked for help finding a cute song for K-3 students. In this article, I’m giving suggestions for easy and cute holiday concert ideas for your primary (PreK-Grade 3) students. If you choose a song that is already familiar to the students it will be quicker and easier to learn.  Some of the ones that most will have heard before include those in the K-3 Christmas Concert Idea Book.

K-3 Christmas Concert Idea Book

* The Bells on the Sleigh (new words to Wheels on the Bus)  Watch a performance on YouTube – this is fun and easy for kids to learn!   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHqpE8tEjRU

* He’ll be Comin’ down the Chimney – fun and easy!  See a performance:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDlcOY8qQeg

* And Santa is his name (BINGO with Santa words)
* Jingle Bells (song and dance)
* Up on a Housetop
AND 20+ more songs, poems, fingerplays – see complete contents at the link
We have nice recordings of ALL of these in K-3 Christmas Concert Ideas.

Don’t have time to wait for a book/CD to come by mail? No problem – all of our Christmas collections are available as downloads. In the download you get the pdf file of the book and a folder with all of the MP3s of performance and accompaniment. There are also poems for choral reading, a reader’s theatre of “The Elves and the Shoemaker”, a mini-play, “No Cookies for Santa” a Nativity scene, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Ribbon dance, finger plays, and more!      This is a great deal – $18 download for the whole collection — many single song kits are $15 for one song.

CANADA Teachers:  http://shop.musicplaytext.ihoststores.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=327-D

USA Teachers: http://shop.musicplaytext1.ihoststores.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=327-D

 

Kinder Christmas Collection

Another favourite familiar song for your primary students is Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. We recorded a performance and accompaniment track for Rudolph in Kinder Christmas collection. Another familiar song in this collection is “There was a Little Baby” – the song that was recorded on the Raffi Christmas album. We’ve included an accompaniment track so your kids voices will be heard without Raffi in the background. $20 Book/CD
The collection includes these songs:

* Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noel
* Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer
* Reindeer Love to Boogie
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJx2I9h7hRk
* There Was a Little Baby  (with acc. track)
* Tap, Tap, Tap
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ih6hetJ_qzI
* Let’s Be Jolly
* Chris tmas ABC (American)
* Christmas ABC (Canadian)
* Gingerbread
* Teddy Bear Twist
* I Hear the Bells
* Ten Little Angels
* Christmas Dance
* Rock Around the Christmas Tree
* Play the Bells to Celebrate

CANADA Teachers:   http://shop.musicplaytext.ihoststores.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=332-D

USA Teachers:   http://shop.musicplaytext1.ihoststores.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=332-D

Christmas Favorites Collection

Santa Claus is Cominʼ to Town
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJ_HvB0nvZI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYvMCH5KZ1k

Jolly Jolly Santa
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9X6z5zYyNv4

Snowflakes (partner with Jingle Bells)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjdIWz4Csbs

Christmas at the Hop
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4NXd30vP5s

Other Songs in the Collection are:
* I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
* Do You Hear What I Hear?
*Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
*  Christmas Candles
* Follow the Star
* What Child is This?
Optional Biblical Readings
* Starry Night

CANADA Teachers:  http://shop.musicplaytext.ihoststores.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=160-D

USA Teachers:   http://shop.musicplaytext1.ihoststores.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=160-D

Christmas Concert Idea Book

Makin’ Christmas Cookies
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2DUeSKmhP8

* Shine a Light for Peace
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45mbqi83icc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCEsJyha1Tc

* AND 10 More songs!  Includes a Nativity for Catholic or Christian schools:
*Christmas is my Favorite Time of Year
* Time to Pack the Sleigh
* Santa’s Computer
* Christmas Spirit
* Presents
* The Road to Bethlehem
* Little Star
* Glory to God in the Highest
* The Colors of Christmas
* Christmas Time is Here

CANADA Teachers:   http://shop.musicplaytext.ihoststores.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=328-D

USA Teachers: http://shop.musicplaytext1.ihoststores.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=328-D

Christmas Music Lessons

This is a collection of lessons and activities based on nine familiar Christmas carols. Each song is notated for vocals, soprano recorder in two parts, Boomwhackers in two parts, a variety of percussion instruments, and with chords provided for ukulele (or guitar). All parts can be used together and also work in any combination. Each song comes with a vocal track and an orchestrated accompaniment track. A slower accompaniment track is given for Boomwhacker play alongs. Reproducible and Projectable lyrics are included so the songs could be used in a performance or a school holiday sing along. The activities include naming notes, writing notes, recognizing rhythms, creating new melodies, as well as fun games and word puzzles based on the lyrics of the carols and the song information.

* African Noel
* Jolly Old St. Nicholas
* Up on the Housetop
* Joy to the World
* Jingle Bells
* Christmas Chopsticks
* D’où viens-tu bergère?
* Over the River and Through the Wood
* O Come Little Children

CANADA Teachers:  http://shop.musicplaytext.ihoststores.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=C45-D

USA teachers:  http://shop.musicplaytext1.ihoststores.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=C45-D

Themes & Variations publishes many more Holiday and Christmas collections and there are many holiday songs in the Musicplay PreK – Grade 6 curriculum.  Visit http://musicplay.ca/ to see our complete Christmas section.

10 Easy Assessments for K-5 Music Classes

If you only see your K-6 music students for 30-60 minutes/week, you have very limited time to assess student progress. In this article, I want to give suggestions that will help you make the most of the limited time that you have.

You should plan your assessments when you create your year plan. If in the first term of your year plan, you decided to focus on steady beat, then your assessments for term one should focus on steady beat. You can’t assess every musical skill and concept each term.

When planning assessments, find out what your school or districts allows or requires on the report card. If you can only report on 3 outcomes, don’t assess 20 outcomes.

In planning assessments, you will want to assess both skills and mastery of concepts. Skills include singing, playing, moving, listening, reading/writing and creating. Concepts include beat/rhythm, pitch, expression (dynamics, tempo, articulation), tone color (timbre), form.

Not all skills and/or concepts have equal importance. The skills that I feel are the most important in K-6 music are singing in tune, and keeping a steady beat. I might assess thost skills every term, and assess the other skills/concepts during the times that I’ve focussed on them.

Ten Easy Assessments:

 1. Outcome: Students sing independently, on pitch.

To Assess: Sing “hello student” on so-mi, so-mi.

Student responds by singing “Hello Mrs. Gagne” back to you.

  • 1.  Developing does not always use singing voice, rarely matches pitch
  • 2.  Beginning occasionally sings in-tune
  • 3.  Proficient Sings in tune most of the time.
  • 4.  Excellent Consistently sings in tune independently.

2.  Outcome: Students sing in the group, on pitch.

To Assess: Play a recording of a song that you’ve worked on that the students should know. For example: The National Anthem or in Musicplay 2, Ridin’ That New River Train. Have the students stand in class list order. Walk down the rows listening to each child sing for 2-3 seconds. Record your assessment in your grading program or on your class list.

  • 1.  Developing:   Beginning to use singing voice
  • 2.  Beginning     occasionally matches pitches.
  • 3.  Proficient      Sings in tune almost all of the time.
  • 4.  Excellent      Consistently sings in tune.

3.  Outcome: Students keep a steady beat when moving to music.

To Assess: Play the song, “Time for Music.” It’s song #1 in Musicplay PreK part 1 and in Singing Games children Love Vol. 3. (also available on iTunes and/or at www.musicplayonline.com) In this song children keep a beat, clapping, patting, tapping, flapping, and drumming on their knees. Have the students sit in class list order, observe and assess as they sing and move to the song. Another way to assess steady beat when moving to music is to play a listening example and have the children find their own way to keep a beat.

  • 1.  Developing:   rarely keeps a steady beat
  • 2.  Beginning     occasionally keeps a steady beat
  • 3.  Proficient keeps a steady beat almost all of the time.
  • 4.  Excellent Consistently keeps a steady beat

4.  Outcome: Students keep a steady beat when playing instruments

To Assess: Sing and play an instrument song such as, Play, Play, Play Along in Rhythm Instrument Fun.  (This is also in Musicplay PreK, and is found online at www.musicplayonline.com)  Have the students sit in class list order and give each child a pair of sticks. Observe and assess as they sing and play to the song. Alternately, play along with a piece of classical music or a folk tune. Find a piece of music that has a tempo approx.. 120 beats per minute.

  • 1. Developing:   rarely keeps a steady beat
  • 2. Beginning     occasionally keeps a steady beat
  • 3. Proficient keeps a steady beat almost all of the time.
  • 4. Excellent Consistently keeps a steady beat

5.  Outcome: Students tap a steady beat on a beat chart

To Assess: Sing a short, familiar simple 16 beat reading song or chant such as Engine #9, Lucy Locket. While they sing, have the children tap the beat on a beat chart. (Download a beat chart for the songs listed above from musicplayonline.com – printables) Have the students sit in class list order, observe and assess as they sing and tap the beat.

  • 1. Developing:   rarely keeps a steady beat
  • 2. Beginning     occasionally keeps a steady beat
  • 3. Proficient keeps a steady beat almost all of the time.
  • 4. Excellent Consistently keeps a steady beat

6. Outcome: Students can read a 4 (or 8) beat rhythm pattern using ta, ti-ti, rest

To Assess: Create a set of 10 or more rhythm flashcards. Go down your class list, having each child read one or two flashcards. Gr. 1-2 – use 4 beat rhythm cards   Gr. 3-5 first report card, have students read 8 beats.

Have the students sit in class list order, observe and assess as they sing and tap the beat.

  • 1. Developing:   rarely keeps a steady beat
  • 2. Beginning     occasionally keeps a steady beat
  • 3. Proficient keeps a steady beat almost all of the time.
  • 4. Excellent Consistently keeps a steady beat

Themes & Variations publishes a set of 100 rhythm flashcards that are printed on colored cardstock.  The color coding indicates the patterns included in the set and helps you to quickly find the set that each class is working on.

Link to Flashcards – Canada   http://shop.musicplaytext.ihoststores.com/category.aspx?categoryID=26

Link to Flashcards – USA   http://shop.musicplaytext1.ihoststores.com/category.aspx?categoryID=62

In www.musicplayonline.com, we’ve taken the flashcards and made this into a very quick and easy to use movie – just press play.  There are 25-35 patterns in each set.   There are fewer patterns for very easy sets as younger classes are usually smaller (we hope!) and more patterns in the harder or longer sets for your older students.  In the easier sets, we’ve given you both 4 beat assessments and 8 beat assessments. You can choose the set that you want to assess.

7. Outcome: Students can notate a rhythm pattern that they hear (ta, ti-ti, rest)

To Assess:   To do music Dictation using cardstock flashcards, I choose five cards at the level I want to assess.  I give the students a piece of paper (I use paper from the recyling in the school) and a pencil (I keep a class set in a container by the door)  and an old hard cover text to write on.  They write their name at the top and number 1-5.  I clap a pattern – they clap it back, then write it down.  I’ll give it a second time if they need it.   I write down my patterns as I go or keep my flashcards in order. Students exchange papers and correct them in class, so I don’t have to take home bags full of marking.  Yay!

Music Dictation at www.musicplayonline.com is done the same way.

Five questions are given.  Pause the movie between questions.  Immediately following the five questions are the answers.  Exchange papers and mark.

 

8. Outcome: Students can sing at sight a melodic pattern

To Assess:   If you use solfege in your music classes, assessing the students ability to read and sing melodic patterns may be an outcome that you choose to assess. In my classes, in first term I might assess the following patterns in term 1: Gr. 1 – so-mi,   Gr. 2 – la-so-mi   Gr. 3 – so-mi-re-do Gr. 4-5 – low la, do-re-me-so-la   Every teaching situation is different, so this may not be an assessment that is relevant to your teaching.  Create or purchase melody flashcards to assess the tonal patterns that you have taught. Melody flashcards are available to purchase from www.musicplay.ca. OR you can use the Solfa Reading videos at www.musicplayonline.com.

9. Outcome: Students can identify singing, speaking, whisper, shouting voices

To Assess:   The Types of Voices lesson in Musicplay for Kindergarten, song #7, This is My Speaking Voice, includes a printable assessment. In this assessment, the teacher uses one kind of voice, and the students circle the type of voice that they heard.

  • 1. Developing:   few answers are correct
  • 2. Beginning     some answers are correct
  • 3. Proficient most answers are correct
  • 4. Excellent all answers are correct

10. Outcome: Students can identify when music is fast or slow

To Assess:   #29 in Musicplay PreK is called Fast or Slow. Eight musical examples are played for the students and the students tell if they are fast or slow. You could use 4-6 of these examples in an assessment.

  1. Mary Had a Little Lamb     slow
  2. Mary Had a Little Lamb fast
  3. Twinkle Twinkle   fast
  4. Twinkle Twinkle   slow
  5. Ring Around the Rosie   fast
  6. Ring Around the Rosie   slow
  7. Eensy Weensy Spider   slow
  8. Eensy Weensy Spider   fast

Give each student a piece of paper (I use paper from the recyling in the school) and a pencil (I keep a class set in a container by the door)  and an old hard cover text to write on.  They write their name at the top and number 1-4 or 1-6. Play the movie to use the musical example but don’t project it.  Pause to allow children to write slow or fast. (or make up a worksheet so they just have to circle slow or fast.) If you prefer, you could play your own examples on a keyboard. Mark the students work for your assessment.

  • 1. Developing:   few answers are correct
  • 2. Beginning     some answers are correct
  • 3. Proficient most answers are correct
  • 4. Excellent all answers are correct

These are just a few possible assessments, but I hope this gives you some ideas for easy assessments that you can do in your music classes, without taking up all of your limited teaching time!

Halloween Music Lesson – Old Mother Witch

Toronto Musicplay Workshop – Nov. 5-6, 2017
Would you like additional lessons like this one?  If you’re in the Toronto area, Denise is doing 2 workshop days:  Sunday, Nov. 5th and Monday, Nov. 6th where she’ll share lessons like this where the students sing, play, read/write, create, listen and move.
REGISTER for Toronto Workshops – Nov. 5 and/or 6th.   Participants will get 2 free months subscription to the online site AND will get great lessons to use in your classrooms.

Halloween Lesson – Old Mother Witch

by Denise Gagne

This is a great lesson for the weeks leading up to Halloween, for Grades PreK – Gr. 4.  It’s found in Musicplay 2, but because the game is fun, and there are many extensions, you can use it with younger and with older students!  When the game is fun, your 4th grade students will still enjoy playing it, especially if you take them outside where they can run.  In the kids demo of this game, there were students in Grades 1-5 playing the game.  If you are in a school that doesn’t talk about witches, change the word “witch” in the song to “Fitch.” Old Mother Fitch fell in a ditch. Picked up a penny and thought she was rich.
There are many extensions given at www.musicplayonline.com!  If you have 4 lessons until Halloween, choose 4 of the extensions.  Use some of the extensions with K-1, and some are better suited to Gr. 2-3 or Gr. 2-3-4.  There is nothing wrong with playing the same game with multiple grades – saves you planning time!
The interactive activities are found at www.musicplayonline.com.  If you don’t subscribe to the online site, you can do the same activities without the interaction.  Many of us have taught before technology and with technology – you can teach all these suggested activities very successfully without technology.  It’s just easier for you and may be more engaging for your students with the technology.
If you haven’t used the online site .  www.musicplayonline.com, you’ll get a free month when you subscribe.  If you tried it before these activities were created, and would like to try it again now, email denise@musicplay.ca to get a free month to try again.  The beat and rhythm activities illustrated below, have been created for over 150 reading songs in Gr. K-6.  New activities are created each week!

Process:
Game Directions:
Formation: The children are lined up on one side of the gym. One child (or the teacher) is chosen to be the “witch” and is in the middle of the gym.
Directions:
The children sing the song.
The witch asks “Are you my children?”
The children reply softly “No we’re not!” (piano)
The witch asks “Are you my children?”
The children reply in a louder voice “No we’re not!” (mezzo piano)
The witch asks “Are you my children?”
The children reply in a loud voice “Yes we are!” (forte)
The children try to run past the witch to the other side of the gym without being tagged. When they are tagged they become “witches” also, and try to tag the rest of the children as they cross the gym. This game works best
in the gym or outside between soccer goal posts. In a small room I restrict the witch to tagging only one child each time, and instruct the witch to tag a child who’s really trying to get away. If you are in a school that doesn’t talk about witches, change the word “witch” in the song to “Fitch.” Old Mother Fitch fell in a ditch. Picked up a penny and thought she was rich.
Interactive Beat and Rhythm Activities
We’ve created interactive beat and rhythm activities for more than 150 songs in Musicplay k-6.  Use these activities to teach, practice or assess your students understanding of beat and rhythm.
1.  Beat Pointing Activity:  Press Play – as the song is sung,
point to the Beat and the beats pulse.
2.  Clap the Rhythm Activity:
Press play – sing and clap the words.  This is the “rhythm.”
3.  Beat and Rhythm switch game.  Use this game to observe and assess if your students understand the difference between beat and rhythm.  Students pat or step the beat when you point to the heart.  When you point to the hands, they clap the rhythm.
4.  Beat or Rhythm Differentiation / Assessment Activity
In this activity press play, and you’ll hear a drum playing either the beat or the rhythm.  If you answer correctly, the box goes green.  You could do this as a written assessment of student understanding of the difference between beat and rhythm.
5.  Sounds on a beat:  Is it one sound or two?  (Icons).  Do as a class activity, or have students do it individually on iPads or Chromebooks.  (email denise@musicplay.ca if you’re a subscriber to the site and don’t know the student login)
6.  Sounds on a beat – notes:
Is it one sound or two?  (notes and rest) . You notate the rhythm of the song.
Rhythm Sort:  This is another way for students to figure out the rhythm of a song.  You can do this as a class activity OR individual activity on devices.
 
Rhythm Erase:  I like to do this a few weeks after I’ve taught the song.  No song title is shown, so after you’ve completed the Erase activity, ask the students to identify the song.  I call this “Mystery Song.
Halloween Word Rhythms:  This activity can be used with any Halloween song.  With student input, create a word rhythm with Halloween words.  Then, transfer the word rhythm to body percussion or unpitched instruments.  When you decide how to play it, you can use it as an introduction to the song. You could use the song as your A section, the word rhythm as a B section – then decide how to perform the song:  ABA or AB, or ABAB.  You could use the word rhythm as an ostinato.  These extensions turn a simple song into a springboard for many creative activities.
Tone Ladder:  The song Old Mother Witch uses only the notes so and mi. Select those notes on the tone ladder, and point to so and mi as the students sing the song.  (Click on a letter to make it disappear)
Note Name Challenge:  Drag the letter to the basket to name the note.  The “basketball” needs to touch the upper left edge of the basket to “stick” there.  If you teach letter names, do this activity.  If you teach solfa notes in K-3, do the Solfa Challenge instead.
Solfa Challenge:  Name the solfa notes in the song.  If you haven’t learned solfege, press Play Song, and the song will be sung in solfa notes
Orff Arrangement:  The Orff arrangement is found in the Printables Box online.  Teach the Orff arrangement, and create B sections using the Halloween word rhythms.  If you don’t subscribe to the online site, the Orff arrangement is available in the collection, “The Orff Source.”
This assessment is in printables of the online site.  It’s intended to use as a quick so-mi practice exercise.  The Checkup can be used to assess if your students can identify a rhythm pattern and/or a solfa pattern that you play for them.  Don’t use this assessment until you’ve taught your students la, so, mi – so grade 2-3-4, not gr. 1.

The piano arrangements for every song are given in the “Arrangements” section of the online site.

If you don’t subscribe, the arrangements for all of Musicplay are available in 7 volumes:

Canada – http://shop.musicplaytext.ihoststores.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=PA7

USA – http://shop.musicplaytext1.ihoststores.com/category.aspx?categoryid=115

The ukulele and guitar arrangements are online for every song in the program.  If you don’t subscribe, the arrangements for all of Musicplay are available in 7 volumes:Canada – http://shop.musicplaytext.ihoststores.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=797USA – http://shop.musicplaytext1.ihoststores.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=797

The interactive activities illustrated in this post are found at www.musicplayonline.com.  If you don’t subscribe to the online site, you can do the same activities without the interaction.  Many of us have taught before technology and with technology – you can teach all these suggested activities very successfully without technology.  It’s just easier for you and may be more engaging for your students with the technology.
If you haven’t used the online site .  www.musicplayonline.com, you’ll get a free month when you subscribe.  If you tried it before these activities were created, and would like to try it again now, email denise@musicplay.ca to get a free month to try again.  The beat and rhythm activities illustrated below, have been created for over 150 reading songs in Gr. K-6.  New activities are created each week!