Category Archives: Lesson Plans

Name Games and Activities to start the school year

Some music teachers teach more than a thousand students each week and it can be very difficult to remember the names. Starting your first classes with a name game will help you to remember those names – at least for this music class!  If you go the Back to School Unit in Units at www.Musicplayonline.com, there are many name games AND mixers to get your school year off to a great start.

Name Games:
K.149 Chickamy
K.8   Cookie Jar Chant
K.12 Hickety Tickty Bumblebee
1.36 Cuckoo
3.2 Number Concentration
4.9 Jolly Rhythm (another good one to do with the numbered paper plates)
5.2  Concentration

Mixers:
1.68 I LIke You
1.66  Rig a Jig Jig
2.73 Hot Cross Buns
4.5 Good Morning
5.33 Green Sally Up

For your olders:

Number Concentration

Give every student in the class a number on a white paper plate or index card.  (You may want to organize a seating plan, and give them the number that they will have in the plan.)  The teacher sings a number, and that student sings back his/her name. As you sing, tap a beat with one finger. Each time that a student forgets to sing on his/her number, choose a new tempo.   When the students are familiar with the game, you can play this as an elimination game—if you don’t respond with your name after your number is sung, you go out.  Invite students to be leaders and sing the numbers.  The paper plate idea was suggested by a teacher from a district where she has really large classes.  The paper plates help her students to remember what number they’re given and has made the game really successful for her.

Number Concentration is a simple reading using just so-mi-do and ta, ti-ti, rest.  If your students can read the rhythms and pitches, have them learn the song by reading it.  If they aren’t there yet, just read the rhythms, and teach the melody by rote.

Because it’s a simple reading song, it’s an excellent opportunity to review beat and rhythm with your students using the interactive rhythm tools and/or the matching worksheets.  Use the interactive tool to model how to create an ostinato, B section, or introduction/ending for the song.  The game is fun, and can be extended in many ways!

Go to Interactive Rhythm section, and select Word Rhythm Composition:

Model how to create a rhythm composition with the words “Number” and “Name”.  Choose two kinds of body percussion and perform your new pattern. Try other ways of doing the body percussion and decide which you like the best.  Transfer the body percussion to unpitched instruments and decidewhich you like the best.  After modeling, give the students sets of “Number” and “Name” cards made up from the Printables in this section and have small groups of students create their own rhythm composition.

Students lay their pattern out on the floor.  They choose 2 kinds of instruments and play the pattern.  Use the song as the theme, and student compositions as B, C, D, E sections and create a rondo.  Do a group practice.  Ask them to refine their composition – maybe add some dynamics, or add some movement.  Perform.  Ask groups to think of what they “noticed” and “wondered” about their performances.  (reflect on performance)

Many additional extensions are possible for the game – there are 11 worksheets given, and matching interactive activities so you can teach or model how to label beat and rhythm, then practice and reinforce.

Here’s a link to see how the Word Rhythm Composition might sound.
https://youtu.be/RQ5IP8vUdXM

For your littles:

Hello Beat Chant

Source: Rhythm Instrument Fun, and in Musicplay PreK
I’ve had this in other newsletters, but I can’t recommend it enough.  It just works and is awesome to learn names AND to experience/review all the basic concepts.  Using this beat chant establishes a routine, introduces the term “beat” and will help the teacher remember all of the names.

1. Say the chant, patting a steady beat as you speak. Say hello to the students using different kinds of voices:  high/low, loud/quiet, fast/slow, speak/sing/whisper/shout, singing voice using a variety of solfa patterns.  After you say the name, the class echoes, saying the name just like you did.

2. In the next lesson, instead of patting the steady beat, play the beat on a non-pitched instrument. Ask the students questions about the instrument
you’ve chosen to play.
* What is this instrument called?
* What is it made out of?
* How is the sound made on this instrument?

3. Demonstrate how to hold the instrument and how to play it before playing along with the chant. You may want to have the students play some instruments. If you have a tambourine or hand drum, you could hold it, but have the children tap it. This is an excellent way to introduce all of the non-pitched
instruments that you have in your classroom.

Looking for more ideas and icebreaker games for your classroom? MusciplayOnline has a plethora of songs you can use with your new and returning students! Search terms like “Name games”, “shakeups”, “brain teasers”, “openers”, “warmups”, “organizers”, and “cumulative”.

We love to know how you’re using our materials!!!  Share the name games that you’re using in your classroom in the Musicplay Teachers group on Facebook!  If you don’t do Facebook, share in the forum at Musicplayonline.

Follow #musicplayonline on instagram, twitter, Pinterest

Teaching Tip – Year Plans

It’s summer!  Finally!  So why is Denise sending newsletters in the summer???  The next newsletters will be on year plans, month outlines, weekly lesson plans and sub plans.  For my American friends who start school in early August, July might be the time that you’re getting your planning done.  And for my Canadian teachers who start later, (and for our Australians who are still mid-year) save this information for later.

Lesson planning begins with your curriculum.  You need to know the outcomes that you’re expected to achieve by the end of the school year.  For me, I’ve put the skills/concepts into a scope and sequence that shows which grade a particular concept or skill is introduced in.  In the Musicplay scope and sequence, ex stands for experience.    The Scope and Sequence for Rhythm is given below. 


(The full scope and sequence for Musicplay is found in the Musicplay Teacher’s guides, or can be downloaded from the Lesson Planning Section at www.musicplayonine.com.)

The Lesson Planning section is found on the left menu of your computer screen.  There is a wealth of material there to help you with your planning!

In kindergarten children will learn that music moves to a steady beat.  They’ll experience the difference between beat and rhythm.  They’ll experience that there are strong and weak beats, and they’ll experience that beats can be grouped in 2s, 3s or 4s.  The stars in grade 1 indicate that the children will learn all of those concepts.

Your scope and sequence may differ from this, but this is a great starting point – download and print from Musicplayonline.com (Lesson Planning Section) and then highlight the skills you have in your district or state document.

Denise has created a scope and sequence with songs that teach the concept that is available online in the lesson planning section.  This is just a small part of the Beat and Rhythm Sequence with songs to teach the concept.

When you are in a situation with older students who haven’t mastered concepts from earlier grades, you have to teach those basic concepts before moving on.

Musicplay is a spiralling curricuum, and there is review of basic concepts in every grade.  So, basic concepts such as beat/rhythm are reviewed/taught in every grade level.  Ta and Ti-ti (quarter and 8th note rhythms) are reviewed/taught in each grade – but with age appropriate games/activities.

Note:  There are ta and ti-ti songs in every grade to use to teach/review/assess beat and rhythm.

 

So, once you’ve decided on a realistic sequence of concepts/skills that you can do with your students, chart the months and decide when you can teach them, and use the song list to decide on the songs you’ll use to teach those concepts.  The Musicplay Grade 1 Year plan is shown below.  You can download these from the Lesson Planning section and  adapt this for your own use.

 
Download the Year outlines at www.musicplayonline.com
 
Remember that you are never expected to teach every song in Musicplay.  Musicplay is a menu that you choose from: 
1.  Choose the song/singing game for your lesson that best teaches the concept you want to teach.
2.  Choose the activity or activities that you want to do with that song.
3.  Choose extension songs or activities that your students will love!
It’s our mission to make your job easier!
 
 
 
Please share your lesson planning documents as files that you can upload to the Musicplay Teachers Facebook Group!
Other teachers LOVE to see how you are using Musicplay.

This week, Denise walks you through the overview section of setting up your lesson plans for the year. This also inlcudes scopes and sequences for each grade, songs lists for grade PreK to 5, and more details for your Year Plans!

Sign up for www.musicplayonline.com today! New accounts get one month free!

Teaching Tip – Monthly Outlines and Weekly Lessons

This is the time of year when teachers are looking for new ideas and fun approaches to teaching music in the classroom. That’s why Denise wants to bring in her decades of experience to help you with planning out your yearly, monthly, and even weekly plans! In this video, she goes over where on MusicplayOnline to find these Lesson Plans, and how to best optimize them for your music classes!

Sign up for www.musicplayonline.com today! New accounts get one month free!

Outside Games & Recorder Composition

Outside Music Classes

For those of you in the south, you’ve had nice weather for a while now.  But up north in Alberta, the last snowfall was May 5th.    After a long winter, when nice weather finally arrives everyone wants to be outside – students AND teachers.  
 
I really enjoy taking music class outside.  Singing games, especially chase games, are better played outside than inside.  Inside, you have to find ways of slowing down chase games, but outside you can let the kids run!

Singing Games – Chase Games in Musicplay

Lucy Locket
Mouse Mousie
Charlie Over the Ocean
Tisket a Tasket
Let Us Chase the Squirrel
Cut the Cake
Ickle Ockle
Our Old Sow
Hill Hill Come Over the Hill
Kye Kye Koolay
Turkey Lurkey
King’s Land
Frog in the Middle
I Like Turkey
Built My Lady
John the Rabbit

Frog in the Middle 

This is a seriously fun game!  And if your students are finding frogs outside, this is a great game for spring!

 

Game Directions: The children form a circle. Choose one child to be the frog in the middle. The “frog” stands with eyes shut and arms outstretched. While the children sing the song, the “frog” turns. At the end of the song, the two children closest to the frog’s hands step out of the circle and race in the same direction. The first one back to tag one of the frog’s hands, wins. 

Teaching Purpose/Suggestions: This song is great preparation for low la and low so.  Your students should be able to read the rhythms in the song. 

Ickle Ockle

Musicplay 5
Fun chase game – and so much more fun outside than inside.
Great reading song – ls m and ta, ti-ti
View the kids demo video at www.musicplayonline.com
 

  
Hill Hill

Musicplay 2
View the kids demo video at www.musicplayonline.com
We played the game outside because it’s way more fun outside where you can run, than inside.
Teaching Purpose:  great reading song – so-mi, and introduces half notes.
 

Directions, music and kids demo movies for all the games are found at www.musicplayonline.com.

All of these songs can be found in Musicplay and in the 

Singing Games Children Love Collection!

 

Volume 1 with lots of chase games

Volume 2 clap games, movement

 

Volume 3 games for K-3     

 

Volume 4 games for Gr. 3-6

 

Recorder Composition

30 recorder players composing at the same time could drive you crazy in the classroom. But outside, students can improvise and compose melodies in their own space and using the template in the Recorder Resource Kit, they will create compositions that are playable and musical.
 
Limit students to the rhythms ta, ti-ti, rest
Limit the notes the students can use to BAG or BAG E or BAG ED (depends on their playing ability) . If using BAG E they should end on G or E.  If BAG, end on G.
1.  Have students create a rhythm pattern under the hearts.  Check it.
2.  When rhythm is successful have them improvise melodies on that rhythm using the notes BAG or BAG ED.  When they have a melody they like, write the letters in.  They should then play their melody for you.  If it’s successful, they should write the notes on the staff.
3.  Accompany melodies that end on G with a G-D bordun on a bass metallophone or xylophone.  Accompany melodies that end on E with an E-B bordun.
 

This is the template that I use for composition.  It’s in the Recorder Resource Kit 1.  it’s also in the files at Musicplay Teachers Group on Facebook.

 

This is an example of a 4th grade student composition – ends on E, so accompany with E-B bordun, sounds great!

 
 
 
Boomwhacker Composition

Divide your students into groups, give them pentatonic Boomwhackers and invite them to create a rhythmic composition with movement. (Melodic composition is possible, but takes longer) My students really enjoyed this and all groups were on-task, engaged, and successful. We did this for 2 periods, then groups performed for each other.  

 
 
Drumming or Bucket Drumming

I’ve been teaching bucket drumming in several elementary classes this month. It’s tons of fun, but would be fun to teach outside. You wouldn’t have the ability to project music to teach, so you’d have to plan to teach everything by rote.  More bucket drumming ideas will be coming to musicplayonline.com
Easy Bucket Drumming is an excellent resource.
Order Bucket Drumming in Canada.     USA/International – order here

Playground Balls

Plainsies Clapsies

This is the best game ever with playground balls.  In the classroom, I use beanbags, but this game would be fun to try with playground balls.  Are you old enough to remember playing with playground balls in elementary school?
View the kids demo video at www.musicplayonline.com
This game is way easier to figure out from the kids demo than directions.
Great teaching piece:  ls m and ta, ti-ti
And kids LOVE it!!!
 

 
 

Skipping Rhymes in Singing Games Vol. 1

Cinderella
Bluebells
Had a Little Crate
On a Mountain
Miss Lucy
Oliver Twist
Skipping is another playground activity that might be lost unless music and PE teachers encourage it.  Miss Lucy and Oliver Twist are in Musicplay and are traditional skipping rhymes.

 

Outside Music Classes are FUN – share your ideas, photos and videos  at Musicplay Teachers Facebook Group!

Watch this week’s teaching tip:

 
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Classroom 
Instrument Bingo 

 
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Melody Flashcards: 
print or download

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Match the Melody 1-2

 
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Rhythm Flashcards

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St. Patricks Day Lesson Ideas

We are LOVING the new St. Patrick’s Day unit on Musicplay Online. There are so many amazing lessons, projectable materials, worksheets, movies and games.  This week to get you started we will share a teaching process for using the melodic composition lesson.  There are two lessons available on Musicplay Online and many options are provided to meet the needs of your students!

Catch a Leprechaun:

St. Patrick’s Day Unit on Musicplay Online 


Grade Level: 

Grades 1-5. Options are provided in the online material to meet the needs of a variety of grade levels. 

Objectives:

  • Compose a melody (individually OR as a class) using solfa or standard notation (note names).
  • Sing a melodic composition OR transfer to pitched percussion instruments.
  • Write a melodic composition on the musical staff.

Materials Needed:

  • Projectables materials from Musicplay Online Subscription.
  • Worksheet printable (included in the link below).

 Process:

  1. Select a tone set or notes appropriate for your students. The online lesson has the options of so-mi, do-re-mi, do-re-mi-so-la, C-D-E, and C-D-E-G-A.  If using solfa, warm-up by singing solfa echoes and handsigns using the tone set you have selected.
  2. Teach the poem by rote, having students echo you one line at a time.
  3. Keep the beat using various levels of body percussion (snap, clap, pat, or stamp) and say the poem.
  4. As a class, use the online projectable to create a melody using the words of the poem.  Drag the solfa or notes into the boxes above the rhythmic notation.
  5. Practice singing your creation as a class.  Add movement or solfa hand signs to show how the melody moves high and low.  Make changes as needed.
  6. Once students are comfortable with the melody, transfer to pitched percussion instruments. You can do this by passing around a few glockenspiels or other barred instrument in a circle, therefore having only a few students trying at a time.  If you have enough instruments for a whole class, you can all try at the same time. Suggest students play with the tips of their fingers first or use the back of the mallets (so it isn’t too loud).  Remind students to sing while they play.  

Extension Activities:

Student can try the above activity on their own.  If students are able to write notes on the musical staff, they can complete the worksheet below. 

Click here to download this worksheet for free!

Assessment:

Video students playing their creations.  You can also use the worksheet provided as an assessment tool.

This and so much more in the NEW St. Patrick’s Day Unit on MusicplayOnline:

1. Fun Fact Concept Movies: 

2. Compose a Melody – Ireland:

3. Compose a Melody – Leprechaun:

4. Improvise a Melody:

5. Phrase Rhythm Writing: 

6. Irish Jig:

7. Rhythm Erase Game:

 

8. Leprechaun Hunt Game:

Click here for more information about MusicplayOnline! Thanks for reading this weeks blog post! Click here to be added to our biweekly newsletter.

Valentine’s Day Unit on MusicplayOnline

With less than two weeks until Valentine’s Day, the Musicplay Online team has been busy preparing some NEW activities available on the site. The great thing about these activities – they are so versatile. This week we will share with you some ways to integrate these activities with a variety of songs and how they can be used in different grade levels. 

Valentine’s Song Database 

Here you will find all the songs related to love, friendship, and Valentine’s Day available in Musicplay.
 

 
 
Valentine’s Word Composition

This is an activity that can be used in many different ways and for a variety of grade levels. Only use the rhythms that are appropriate for your students.  It never hurts for your students to see some more challenging rhythms. 
 

 
 
Some different ways to use this activity include:

  1. WARM-UP – Practice known rhythm patterns. Students can then transfer the patterns to body percussion or non-pitched percussion instruments.
  2. CREATE A “B” SECTION – Use this activity to create a B section or Rondo with other songs from Musicplay – Some songs that would work well for this include “I Like You” (Song #68 from Musicplay Grade 1) and “Love Somebody” (Song #60 from Musicplay 3).
  3. CREATE AN OSTINATO – Create a 4 or 8 beat ostinato to play with the songs “I Like You” (Song #68 from Musicplay Grade 1) or “Love Somebody” (Song #60 from Musicplay 3).  Transfer the ostinato to body percussion or non-pitched percussion instruments and try it while you sing the song at the same time.
  4. ASSESSMENT TOOL – Use the worksheets below (available on MUSICPLAY ONLINE) to assess reading, writing, and creating rhythm patterns.
 
 
 

Valentine’s Day Matching Game – INCLUDES FLASHCARDS!

 
 

Recorder Mad Minutes:

 
 
 

For more information and a tour of the new Valentine’s Unit check out the video link below:

 

All this and MORE available with your subscription to:

www.musicplayonline.com

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

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)

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!