Category Archives: Curriculum

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/

 

Dynamics Lesson Plan for Spring

Dynamics Lesson Plan for K-5 Music Classes

Lesson is from the Musicplay 2 curriculum.  For info visit www.musicplay.ca

Materials:
1.  Find the Easter Basket  Song #75 Musicplay 2
2.  Dynamics printables, Pop Quiz, Sort the Dynamics activities at musicplayonline.com

Objectives:
1. The students will identify when the music is quiet and when the music is loud
2. The students will define crescendo and decrescendo

Songs can be taught in one of three ways: rote, reading, or immersion. Choose the best method for teaching your students and teach the song and play the game.

ROTE: When teaching by rote, you teach the song phrase by phrase. You sing a phrase – the children echo. You sing the next phrase, the children echo. Then you combine phrases: you sing two phrases – the children echo. Finally, you sing the entire song, the children echo.

IMMERSION: When teaching very young children, teaching by immersion is effective. You have the children listen while you sing the song several times. They might listen and pat the beat, listen and move like you do, listen to answer a question you’ve asked. You might choose to teach Sleepy Bunnies by immersion with your youngest students.

READING: When children are able to read rhythms and/or solfege, you can begin having them sight-read a song. What a great skill for them to have! Many adults can’t look at a piece of music and sing how it goes, but if taught carefully, our children can do this.
Have the children read the rhythms using whatever rhythm names you use.
Sometimes after reading the rhythms I divide the class into two groups and have one group read the rhythms while the other groups reads the words of the song. This helps some children “connect” that rhythm in music is the way the words go.

In Musicplay, reading songs are indicated by a small staff on the upper right hand corner of the song. In the song “Find the Easter Basket” the pitches indicated are s, m, l that stand for so (or sol), mi and la. If children have learned these solfa notes, do some solfa warmups that use so, mi and la. On musicplayonline.com, you can use the Solfa Practice Section and have kids echo patterns, play poison melody, Read and Sing, or Listen and Sing so-mi-la patterns. If you don’t use musicplayonline.com you can purchase melody flashcards and do the same kind of solfa warmups with flashcards. LINK to Flashcards on USA SITE               Melody Flashcards Canadian Site

Give the students a starting pitch for the song and have them sing the song

Whether you use reading or rote to teach your students a song depends on If you’ve labelled the rhythms and solfa with your students. If you haven’t taught so-mi-la yet, you’ll introduce the song as a rote song. If you have labelled so-mi-la, then you can have the students sight-sing the song.

Teach the song and play the game.
Game Directions: One student is the “hider” and one is the “finder.” The “finder” closes eyes while the “hider hides the Easter Basket in plain sight. (not under or in something). The “finder” opens eyes and is guided to the basket by the dynamics in the singing. If children sing quietly he is far away. If the children sing loudly, he’s closer.

2. After playing the song, discuss the dynamics that were used in the song. There is an excellent interactive activity at www.musicplayonline.com attached to song #11. John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt in Musicplay Grade 2.   Sort the rhythms from quietest to loudest.

You can also play the Pop Quiz activities on Dynamics at www.musicplayonline.com to teach or practice dynamics terms.

3. Talk about what it’s called when the singing starts quietly but gets louder. (crescendo) or when the music starts loud and gets quieter. (decrescendo)

 

There are dynamic symbols printables with song #11. John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt in the teacher’s guide and musicplayonline.com that you can print out and package for your students to use. I package these in paper CD holders. It’s quick and easy to make a class set of them, and then I can use them for assessments of dynamic awareness with Gr. 2-6.

Give out a set of cards to each child.
Have them sort them from quietest to loudest. Check answers.
Quiz them on the dynamics shown.
For Example:
hold up the card that means quiet
hold up the card that means very loud
hold up the card that is the symbol for mezzo forte
Have the students be leaders, and come up with questions for the class.

Follow this activity with a listening activity that has students listen and point to the dynamic card they hear in the music. In the Listening Resource Kit 1, #29 Contradance is a great example to use to have children respond to dynamics.   The Listening Resource Kits are now online at www.musicplayonline.com.  The Listening Section is found on the left side menu

Select Kit 1, then scroll down to #29.  Select the Listening Map.  (Many choices are available so you can use the same example in several lessons)Hand out the dynamics cards, and play the recording.  The students point to the dynamic  Level (card) that they hear. Other good examples to use would include Listen 2 – #26 Summer, Vivaldi or #24 – Hornpipe. Listen 3 – #5 Entry March of the Boyars or $10 Bouree is very good or #17 Intrada, Listen 5 – March of the Dwarfs.

This lesson is from Musicplay 2.  Musicplay is a standards based K-6 music curriculum with songs and activities that students LOVE! Musicplay is an award winning music program for K-6 schools. Each grade level includes 40 weekly lessons that clearly outline concepts and skills taught in each grade. Musicplay includes seasonal songs, fun songs, rounds, partner songs, folk music, multicultural music and choral music. In the Musicplay curriculum students sing, play instruments, move to music, listen, create and learn to read and write music. Important concepts are taught through play. Each week in Grades 1-5 a new singing game is taught. Children love music games making this a text that will have your students really excited about learning music! The program uses Kodàly and Orff sequencing, with lessons that have students creating their own music. Students are taught to read and write music through careful sequencing of activities. Orff arrangements are included for many songs. Extensive listening lessons, maps, activities, cup games and intercom scripts are included in the Listening Resource Kits 1-5, and the included listening examples in Musicplay K and 6. Reproducible song storybooks and Alphabet songs for K-1 teachers integrate with and support early literacy programs.

The Digital Resources replace and greatly enhance the material that is in the student books. The music and lyrics are specially formatted to fit a computer/projector screen. Quicktime movies and  PowerPoints of the music and lyrics for each song are included as well as slides to teach note names, solfege, beat, rhythm, dynamics, tempo, form, and cultural context. Smart notebook files are included for teachers with Smartboards. Our new online resource, www.musicplayonline.com includes all the material in the Digital Resources, plus many interactive activities. Purchasers of packages will receive a 1-3 year subscription to the online resource.

For Information visit www.musicplay.ca

 

 

 

Musicplay K-5 Synopsis – What Does Musicplay Teach?

I had an email question from a teacher this week. She needed to give a synopsis of what she teaches in each grade to her principal. She asked if I had a synopsis of what’s taught in Musicplay, and I had never written it in this format. So here’s the synopsis. Of course how much you’re able to teach depends on the time allotted for music, the experiences your students come with, and a myriad of other factors. With Musicplay you treat the teacher’s guide like a menu – choose the song, choose the activities. If you do all the “core” activities, you will complete what’s in the synopsis with your students.

For information on the Musicplay K-5 curriculum: www.musicplay.ca

Musicplay Kindergarten: Sing, Play, Move, Listen, Read/Write, Create

In kindergarten music classes students will learn poems and songs from many different styles and cultures in English, Spanish, French and other languages. They’ll learn seasonal songs, songs to enhance the themes in their classroom, and will learn songs that reinforce basic skills that they learn in kindergarten such as colors, numbers, shapes, and alphabet. They’ll sing and play many action songs and singing games. They’ll practice keeping a steady beat using non-locomotor and locomotor movement with body percussion and with instruments. Students will begin to read rhythms that are one, two or no sounds on a beat. Students will accompany simple songs with borduns on barred instruments, and will use non-pitched rhythm instruments to create accompaniments for poems, songs and stories. Students will create and play new verses, new rhythm compositions and B sections. They will learn about form in music by moving, listening and creating new compositions. Students will listen and move to the beat of the teacher’s drum, and will listen and respond to the music of Bach, Handel and other classical composers. Students will learn to identify high-low, loud-quiet, fast-slow, in sounds around us, through movement and through listening. Students will identify timbre such as speaking voice, singing voice and classroom instruments.

Musicplay 1: Sing, Play, Move, Listen, Read/Write, Create

In Grade 1 music classes students will learn poems and songs from many different styles and cultures in English, Spanish, French and other languages. They’ll learn seasonal songs, songs to enhance the themes in their classroom, and will learn songs that reinforce basic skills that they learn in Grade 1 such as beginning consonents and vowels. They’ll sing and play many action songs and singing games. They will sing simple songs in two parts by adding melodic or rhythmic ostinato. They’ll practice keeping a steady beat using non-locomotor and locomotor movement and using body percussion and instruments. Students will learn to read rhythms that include quarter notes, pairs of eighth notes, quarter rest. They will read simple melodies using the solfa syllables so, mi, la and do. Students will accompany reading songs with simple Orff arrangements, and will use non-pitched rhythm instruments to create accompaniments for poems, songs and stories. Students will create and play new verses, new rhythm compositions and B sections. They will learn about form in music by moving, listening and creating new compositions. Students will listen, move, respond and begin to use critical analysis when listening to the music of Bach, Handel and other classical composers. Students will identify loud-quiet as forte and piano, fast-slow as allegro and largo. Students will identify music that is smooth sounding and music that sounds separated. Students will identify timbres such as speaking voice, singing voice and classroom instruments. Students will use a variety of expression when they sing and speak to show that they understand the meaning of the text.

Musicplay 2: Sing, Play, Move, Listen, Read/Write, Create

In Grade 2 music classes students will learn poems and songs from many different styles and cultures in English, Spanish, French and other languages. They’ll learn seasonal songs and songs to enhance the themes in their classroom. They’ll sing and play many action songs and singing games. Students will learn a few simple rounds. They will sing simple songs in two parts by adding melodic or rhythmic ostinato. They’ll practice keeping a steady beat using non-locomotor and locomotor movement and using body percussion and with instruments. Students will read rhythms that include quarter notes, pairs of eighth notes, quarter rest, half and whole notes and rests. They will learn to read tied quarter notes. They will identify accented beats, and tell how many beats are in each group. (time signature) They will read simple melodies using the solfa syllables do, re, mi, so and la. Students will accompany songs with Orff arrangements, and will use non-pitched rhythm instruments to create accompaniments for poems, songs and stories. Students will create and play new verses, new rhythm compositions and B sections. They will learn about form in music by moving, listening and creating new compositions. They will define rondo form and AB form. Students will listen, move, respond and begin to use critical analysis skills when listening to the music of Bach, Handel and other classical composers. Students will identify a variety of dynamics and tempos using musical terminology. Students will identify articulation in music. Students will identify timbres such as speaking voice, singing voice, families of classroom instruments and families of orchestral instruments. Students will use a variety of expression when they sing and speak to show that they understand the meaning of the text.

Musicplay 3: Sing, Play, Move, Listen, Read/Write, Create

In Grade 3 music classes students will learn poems and songs from many different styles and cultures in English, Spanish, French and other languages. They’ll learn seasonal songs from many cultures. They’ll sing and play many action songs and singing games. Students will sing songs with ostinato, many rounds and begin singing partner songs. They’ll practice keeping a steady beat using non-locomotor and locomotor movement and keeping a beat with body percussion and instruments. Students will read rhythms that include quarter notes, pairs of eighth notes, quarter rest, half, whole notes, groups of four sixteenth and the corresponding rests. They will identify accented beats, and will read music in 2/4, 4/4 and 3/4 time signatures, explaining that the music is in groups of 2, 3, or 4. They will read simple melodies using the solfa syllables do, re, mi, so, la, high do, low la and low so. Students will accompany many songs with Orff arrangements, and will use non-pitched rhythm instruments to create accompaniments for poems, songs and stories. Students will create and play new verses, new rhythm compositions and B sections. They will learn about form in music by moving, listening and creating new compositions. They will identify and define rondo form, ABA form and theme and variations. Students will listen, move, respond to and use critical analysis skills when listening to the music of classical composers from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern eras. Students will identify dynamics, tempo and articulation (stacatto, legato) using musical terminology. Students will identify the timbres of classroom instruments and orchestral instruments and be able to classify/sort them into families. Students will use a variety of expression when they sing and speak to show that they understand the meaning of the text.

In grade 3 students may learn to read absolute note names (ABCDEFG) and play songs using BAG E on the recorder.

Musicplay 4: Sing, Play, Move, Listen, Read/Write, Create

In Grade 4 music classes students will learn poems and songs from many different styles and cultures in English, Spanish, French and other languages. They’ll learn seasonal songs from many cultures. They’ll sing and play many action songs and singing games. Students will sing songs with ostinato, many rounds, partner songs and two-part songs. They’ll practice keeping a steady beat using non-locomotor and locomotor movement and keeping a beat with body percussion, instruments and cups. Students will read rhythms that include quarter notes, pairs of eighth notes, quarter rest, half, dotted half, whole notes, groups of four sixteenth, eighth-sixteenth note combinations, syncopated notes and the corresponding rests. They will identify accented beats, and will read music in 2/4, 4/4 and 3/4 time signatures, explaining that the music is in groups of 2, 3, or 4. They will read simple melodies using the solfa syllables do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, high do, low la and low so. Students will learn to read absolute letter names – ABCDEFG. Students will accompany many songs with Orff arrangements, and will use non-pitched rhythm instruments to create accompaniments for poems, songs and stories. Students will create and play new verses, new rhythm compositions and B sections. They will learn about form in music by moving, listening and creating new compositions. They will identify and define rondo form, AB, ABA form and theme and variations. Students will listen, move, respond to and use critical analysis skills when listening to the music of classical composers from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern eras. Students will identify dynamics, tempo and articulation (stacatto, legato) using musical terminology. Students will identify the timbres of classroom instruments and orchestral instruments and be able to classify/sort them into families. Students will use a variety of expression when they sing and speak to show that they understand the meaning of the text.

In Grade 4 students will learn to play songs that may use BAG ED C’D’ F on the recorder. They will create their own recorder compositions using BAG E (D). Students may learn to accompany one and two chord songs with the ukulele.

Musicplay 5: Sing, Play, Move, Listen, Read/Write, Create

In Grade 5 music classes students will learn poems and songs from many different styles and cultures in English, Spanish, French and other languages. They’ll learn seasonal songs from many cultures. They’ll sing and play many action songs and singing games. They’ll practice keeping a steady beat using non-locomotor and locomotor movement and keeping a beat with body percussion, instruments and cup games. Students will read rhythms that include quarter notes, pairs of eighth notes, quarter rest, half, dotted half, whole notes, groups of four sixteenth, eighth-sixteenth note combinations, syncopated notes and the corresponding rests. They will identify accented beats, and will read music in 2/4, 3/4, 4/4 and 5/4 time signatures, explaining that the music is in groups of 2, 3, 4 or 5. They will read simple melodies using the solfa syllables do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, high do, low so, la, and ti. Students will learn to read absolute letter names – ABCDEFG. Students will accompany many songs with more complex Orff arrangements, and will use non-pitched rhythm instruments to create accompaniments for poems, songs and stories. Students will create and play new verses, new rhythm compositions and B sections. They will learn about form in music by moving, listening and creating new compositions. They will identify and define rondo form, ABA form and theme and variations. Students will listen, move, respond to and use critical analysis skills when listening to the music of classical composers from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern eras. Students will identify dynamics, tempo and articulation (stacatto, legato) using musical terminology. Students will identify the timbres of classroom instruments and orchestral instruments and be able to classify/sort them into families. Students will use a variety of expression when they sing and speak to show that they understand the meaning of the text.

In Grade 5 students will learn to play songs that may use BAG ED C’D’ F on the recorder. They will create their own recorder compositions using BAG E (D). Students may learn to accompany one, two and three chord songs with the ukulele or the guitar.

For information on the Musicplay K-5 curriculum: www.musicplay.ca

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