Monday, March 30, 2015

More High and Low

High and Low - Song and Game

Today, I'm going to talk about two high and low activities I have used in my classroom for several years now.

Five Little Monkeys
This is a great song I use for teaching high and low. Many of you probably already teach this song in your classrooms and you may even use it for teaching high and low. If not, here is how I incorporate it into the song.

We all sing "five little monkeys jumping on the bed" in our normal singing voices. When we get to the part where "Mama calls the doctor...", I have students switch into a high squeaky voice, to imitate Mama's high voice. Then on the "No more monkeys jumping on the bed!" students use their low voices.

When students get comfortable with the song, I'll start to pick students to be the mom and doctor voices alone. I'll pick one student to be the mom and one student to be the doctor. (After explaining that it doesn't matter if you are a boy or girl for either part.) This is a great chance for me to assess students actually getting into their high or low voices.

Five Little Monkeys - Cover

I just created a cute and simple file to go along with the song just for an added visual. It is free in my Teachers Pay Teachers store! You can download it by clicking on the Five Little Monkeys picture above, or just click HERE.

Monsters vs. Fairies
I also play a game using my piano that I have recently entitled Monsters vs. Fairies. The rules of the game are simple. When I play notes that are high on the piano, students reach up on their tippy toes with arms extended to the ceiling. When I play low notes on the piano, students should duck down toward the floor.

Monsters vs. Fairies

We call this game Monsters vs. Fairies because my students always say that the high notes sound like dancing fairies and the low notes sound like big furry monsters. (Oh the wonderful imagination of Kindergarteners.) This game is simple, but my students love it and will ask to play it. They especially like how I normally end the game by changing from high to low rather quickly. It gets them all giggly and happy before we move on to the next activity.

Looking for even MORE ideas for teaching high and low?
Check out my other blog entries about this topic:

Clip art credits: Kari Bolt, Educlips, MelonHeadz, Jena Hudson, Lovin' Lit
Font credits: Kimberly Geswein

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Beginning High and Low

High vs. Low Stories
A wonderful idea for continuing with high and low practice is telling your students some familiar folk tales. I started with telling my students the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I tried to be as dramatic as possible while retelling this story and each of the three bears had a different kind of voice. Papa bear had a low voice, Mama bear had a middle voice, and Baby Bear had a high voice. (Goldilocks also had a high voice.)

At the end of the story, I asked how they knew different characters were speaking? They explained that I changed my voice. Then I asked them how I changed my voice. Some may think you were louder or softer with different voices. To show the difference I would use my Baby Bear and Papa Bear voices and speak quietly and then loudly. This helped them realize this was not the difference between my voices. After explaining, I changed my voice between high and low, I asked students who had the highest voice and who had the lowest voice.

Another day I told students the story of the The Three Little Pigs. After telling the story students were able to pick out the high and low voices quickly. We practiced speaking in our high pig voices and our low wolf voice.

The greatest part about using these stories is you already built a strong foundation you can come back to. When students are sure if something sounds high or low say "Does it sound like Baby Bear? Or does it sound like Papa Bear?" Some students may still struggle with it at the beginning, but with constant repetition and examples they will start to get it.

High vs. Low Videos
My students *LOVE* watching music videos and I have put together quite a list of music videos I show for different concepts. One day I was showing a video and I realized that it could be more high and low practice. I had students listen and tell me, which character is singing the lowest? Which is singing the highest? The students had a great time with identifying the high and low singers and I was amazed that my more advanced students could even pick out small differences in high and low. They even caught things in the videos that I didn't.

I started with showing students a video of Cookie Monster and a video of Elmo. I asked students which character has a high voice and which has a low voice.

Then I gave them a little more of a challenge, by figuring out who has the high and low voices in this video:

Then the ultimate challenge! I stopped after each number (starting on 2) and asked who had the highest/lowest voice. This is difficult for some, but this is also the one that my students really impressed me with.

Would you like to see more about teaching high and low?
Check out my last blog post about Preparing High and Low
Or look out for more posts about high and low COMING SOON

Clip art credits - Whimsy Clips & Educlips

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Preparing High & Low

I'd love to share some of my new (and old) activities for working on high and low with my students. This has been an extremely difficult concept for my Kindergarteners to understand, but this year I had every Kindergartener receive 100% on our assessment of opposites. (Which includes one question for loud/soft, one question for high/low, one question for fast/slow, and one question for long/short)

This year I got some fresh new ideas from many colleagues on the Facebook General Music Group. It is so great to collaborate with so many other music teachers and bounce off ideas. It was from this conversation that I received some ideas of new ways to teach this concept.

Vocal Explorations
Before I even talk about high and low, I work a lot with students on singing in their high and low voices. This includes having students match the pitch of a slide whistle I play for them. Saying phrases like 'mmm' going up and down with their voice. Plus, we do a lot of vocal explorations on the SMARTboard. The vocal explorations are my favorite to create and use in my classroom. If you aren't familiar with vocal explorations they are pictures with hills and lines showing the way students should sing. Students follow the image using their voice. They sing in their high voice when the line is toward the top of the picture and use their low voice when it is at the bottom. We normally have to practice a couple times before we really start to get good at it. One of the most common mistakes I get is when students just repeat the first image over and over again. I then remind them to look at the way the line is different and work on singing what it shows. Another common mistake is that students always want to end in their high voice. It helps when I point out before we start: Are we starting in our high or low voice? Are we ending in our high or low voice? Then I correct if students don't sing it correctly.

Here are some images of what vocal explorations look like:
ValentineVocalExploration2 Slide2 Slide6 SpringVE2

Note that some have lines and others are empty so your students can draw their own on your interactive white boards.

You can find a wide variety of these in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store:
Vocal Explorations
You could create your own using Powerpoint.

If you aren't sure how to create your own Vocal Explorations and would like to learn more about how to do this please leave a comment on my facebook page or in the comments to let me know. I'd be happy to blog about how you can create your own (if there is enough interest).