Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Week 6 - How I Manage a Hectic Holiday Schedule

As I was sitting in church Sunday morning listening to the Psalm, I took a good look at the date. "October 5? That can't be right!" I thought... but it was and that means I have to introduce the Christmas concert audition process this week to the students at one of my schools. The other school is not having a Christmas concert. Instead they will have a 3-5 Winter Concert in January and a K-2 Spring Concert in April. They will then have a Christmas Sing-a-long towards the end of December, but that does not take NEARLY the amount of prep that a concert does. (As you all know)

Now after reading this you probably are wondering how I can keep everything straight. Sometimes I wonder the same exact thing, but here is kind of a glimpse into 'my world'.

My students at Bonduel Elementary always have two separate Christmas concerts, one in the morning and one in the afternoon each year. This year I decided that I am going to do a multi-cultural themed Christmas concert. I'm teaching some new songs, but also throwing in some common songs like Feliz Navidad and We Three Kings. I'm hoping this will appease my audience while still allowing me the opportunity to explore some newfound treasures. (I can tell you more about the songs we're singing and the programs I created in a couple weeks)

I have a very efficient audition process, which takes place during my music time. It includes instrument, speaking, and singing parts all in one day! I have 45 minute classes so I can fit it all in, but at the school with 30 minutes (more like 25 minutes) it normally takes two class periods. If you want to learn more about my audition process check out these two blog posts from last year:
Preparing Students for the Audition
What I Grade on for Try-outs

My students at Fairview Elementary will be continuing on with their lessons on beat, rhythm, solfege, etc. This can be ultra confusing! However, how I work it out I mostly focus on lesson planning for Fairview. Then everything I do with my students at Fairview during the concert prep months becomes my plans for Bonduel after concert season.

Week 6
The next few weeks I will be assessing students five voices. I do this with a sort of a game. I take a familiar song we know like Chop, Chop or Frog in the Meadow and I call students up to the front of the room (or the back for those shier students). I whisper in their ear the voice I want them to use for the song and they demonstrate it for the class. This helps me figure out if they understand the correct vocabulary and also that they are able to use the correct voice. It is even better because students have to then determine what voice the student used.

Songs we are singing in Kindergarten this week:

1st Grade
After being introduced to beat and rhythm last week, students are continuing to practice seeing the difference between the two. I show students slides of songs they know with the beat and then show them with the rhythm. Students have to determine, which is which. Students this week are also starting to identify one sound beats and two sound beats (ta & ti-ti). We are focusing on the songs Bobby Shaftoe and Engine, Engine for this analysis.

Songs we are singing in 1st Grade this week:

2nd Grade
Students are working on composing short patterns using the notes we know: ta, ti-ti, rest, and ta-a. We are practicing how to draw these rhythms with the beat. We practiced yesterday by drawing patterns up on the SMARTboard. I also drew some rhythms incorrectly and students had to find the mistakes in the rhythms. They had a lot of fun with that. Especially because I really ham it up and make it seem like I'm just 'positive' I'm right. This practice will be very handy when it comes time to do their final composition project where they use half notes, half rests, whole notes, and whole rests. From past classes I know this is something I need to take more time on. Students get that certain notes are more than one beat, but they don't always show it the correct way in their compositions.

Songs we are singing in 2nd Grade this week:

3rd Grade
3rd Grade is now reviewing the whole note and will be doing a very similar practice to what the 2nd graders are doing this week. The only difference is we will add in the whole note. When students seem comfortable with composing with these notes I'll throw in the half rest and whole rest. We'll practice changing half notes into half rests and whole notes into whole rests. Then students will be ready to work on the composition they were supposed to complete in 2nd grade. I want to make sure they really understand this concept, since in 3rd grade their composition not only focuses on beats, but also throws in half beats! (Yikes!)

Songs we are singing in 3rd Grade this week:

4th Grade & 5th Grade
Students in 4th and 5th grade are learning about low so this week. They first learned about it using Scotland's Burning, but now are also practicing throwing it in to some other familiar songs. I'm surprised how much fun they are all having with the Chicken on the Fencepost game and the dance for Tideo. One of my 4th graders told their teacher "I don't know what activity I liked more!" How can that not bring a smile to your face?

Here are the activities for you to try:
Chicken on the Fencepost Game
  1. Make two circles - all students should be holding hands in their circles. They may complain about it at first, but when they see how the game works they get over it. (One inside circle and one outer circle)
  2. Pick two students to be the racers (They should close their eyes while you choose 'openings')
  3. Pick a set of hands on the outside circle and on the inside circle. These students will create an archway when the song ends, so the racers can get through to the middle (creating a kind of maze)
  4. Racers can open their eyes as the song starts and both circles walk to the beat of the song. When the song ends the students that are suppose to create arches do and the racers try to get to the middle as fast as possible.
  5. Repeat!
*Note: You can make it even harder by choosing some fake entrances. These students lift their arms creating an entry, but when someone gets close they quickly drop so no one can enter. Really fun and the kids think it is hilarious.

Here is a video of what this game looks like:

Tideo Dance
  1. Students partner up
  2. One partner creates an inside circle with their backs towards the middle of the circle
  3. Their partner lines up with them creating an outer circle with their faces towards the middle
  4. Pass one window - students on the outside move one person to their right
  5. Pass two windows - students on the outside move one person to their right
  6. Pass one window - Students on the outside move on person to their right
  7. Jingle at the window - All students pat their legs quickly
  8. Tideo - All students clap, clap, pat with the partner they are with
  9. Tideo, tideo - Students slowly swing their partner
  10. Jingle at the window - All students pat their legs quickly
  11. Tideo - All students clap, clap, pat with the partner they are with
  12. Tideo, tideo - Students slowly swing their partner
  13. Jingle at the window - All students pat their legs quickly
  14. Tideo - All students clap, clap, pat with the partner they are with
  15. Then repeat until you are lined up with the partner you started with (or whenever you want to stop)
*Note: I normally have my students repeat the dance by switching places with their partner. That way everyone gets a chance to try both parts.

Here is a video of this dance:

*Note: The version I learned of this song does the swinging partner two times, but you could do it just once like in the video

Songs we are singing in 4th Grade & 5th Grade this week:
  • Scotland's Burning
  • Canoe Song
  • Chicken on the Fencepost
  • Lil' Liza Jane
  • Tideo

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

13 Nights of Treats and Frights

This is just a short post letting you all know about the fun event going on, on Teachers Pay Teachers the next 13 days. 29 music teachers on TpT have decided to give away ONE freebie and mark down ONE item to 50% for a day. Because there were so many of us we decided to split it between the first 13 days of October. So, for the next 13 days (STARTING TODAY), you can grab at least 2 freebies and at least 2 items at 50% off. Below is the promo so you can see who is hosting this event each day, but to make it even easier you can just search '13Nights' on Teachers Pay Teachers, so you don't miss any days!

We all hope you are as excited as we are about this event. Click on the picture above to be immediately brought to Teachers Pay Teachers '13Nights' search.

Happy October!