Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Peg Leg the Pirate

I had a ton of fun teaching "Peg Leg the Pirate" today! Since all of my students are new to me this year, my sequence is a little bit out of order. So, I am currently teaching low la and syncopa together. I have found that there is a ton of repertoire that works with this combination! Some great pieces I have found are Canoe Song, Land of the Silver Birch, Old House, My Good Old Man, and Peg Leg the Pirate. 

Here is the song... 

If you haven't played the game before, I encourage you to try it out! My kids really love it! 

I am working on a file for my TpT store, which should be up soon! Also, if you haven't had a chance to check out the Kodály Corner, please stop by to read my new post! 

I hope you are staying warm wherever you are! Have a great end to the week!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

We're heading to the Beach!

Today was a reminder that I am still new to this "blog" thing. I tried...for download the most adorable blog background and ended up with bicycles and polka dots. Although it isn't what I had intended, at least it will keep things interesting! Don't be surprised if you see a new design every day or so as I continue to explore and expand my blogging knowledge!

I spent much of the evening lesson planning and wanted to share a fun resource with you!  In 2nd grade, my students are practicing reading half notes and preparing to read re from the staff. One song that I am using for the first time this year is "Sea Shell," and I love it! In the past, I have used this song in Kindergarten for high-low; however, I found it fit really well in my 2nd grade sequence due to the half notes and very clear phrases using re. 

If you don't know the song, it goes like this...

I generally introduce it by singing for my students and showing them a conch shell I collected at the beach years ago. They love to listen to the shell to see if they can hear the ocean. We talk about the sounds of the ocean, and take a moment to create ocean sounds using classroom instruments. 

Breaking this song down, there are so many great things to work with. 
  • Contrasting the 2nd and 4th measures is great practice for hearing/reading re patterns
  • Isolating the half note rhythms (I love that there are 2! I find that half notes at the end of a song are hard for my kids to hear.) 
  • Simple rhythm makes it a great melodic and rhythmic read. 
  • The lyrics open up tons of opportunities for composition! 
I am so excited for some of the activities I have planned for this song. From a song sort to a "Beach Walk," I think my kids are going to have a great time with it this week! I have posted my resources I plan to use on my TpT store for FREE until tomorrow night! Please check them out and let me know what you think! As always, I appreciate your feedback and help sharing my resources! 


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Canoe Song

Before I dive into my post, I have a celebration to share!

I am so happy to announce that my first niece was born last week! Clara arrived Thursday morning, and she is cute as a button! Everyone is happy, healthy, and loving spending time with the new baby. :) 

Okay, now back to business.

If you haven't noticed by now, I love using games as a tool for learning in my classroom.  So many folksongs have traditional games to use, but I am also always brainstorming ways I can try to keep kids engaged, reading music, and having fun!

This past week, we were working on a folksong I absolutely love - Canoe Song.

This is such a fabulous song for teaching syncopa, low la, and including part-work in your classroom. Here are some of the ways I have added "spice" to my teaching of Canoe Song...
  • Add a vocal or instrumental ostinato. 
    • The final phrase is a beautiful and approachable ostinato. You can have your kids sing it on solfege, lyrics, and/or rhythm syllables to practice the concepts you are working on. 
    • I also love to add an ostinato on my Orff instruments for a physical reinforcement of the syncopated rhythm. My students play a simple "d d c d" ostinato on the rhythm of the final phrase while we sing. You can add students on drums playing the strong and/or weak beats, too. 
  • Make it a partner song! 
    • Canoe Song and Land of the Silver Birch fit together as an awesome partner song. I especially love using these two together since most of my partner songs are major. I find that my students love minor songs, so they really get into this partner song. IN FACT, these two folk songs fit together so well that Phyllis Wolfe White arranged a great choral score of them. I used her arrangement with my choir last year, and it was a huge success!  My 4th and 5th graders loved that they recognized the songs from 3rd grade.  You can hear and preview the score here...
  • And, of course... Add a game! 
    • As a way to practice aural dictation, I added a game to this song called "Canoe Races." In this game, I divide my students up into teams. Their objective is to cross the finish line in their "boat" or team first, by correctly notating syncopated rhythms. I used a simple table as a game board and printed different color canoes to use as game pieces. It is fun, fast, and a great practice decoding syncopated patterns for my students! Plus, the competition makes everyone eager to do their best! 
Displaying photo.JPG

I have posted my visuals and templates for Canoe Song on my TpT store. Be sure to stop by and check them out! As always, I appreciate your feedback and comments, and I hope that you find them useful with your students!

And, as a thank you for reading, here is a link to the syncopa worksheet for you!
Syncopa Worksheet

Have a happy night!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Fun with Syncopa!

Those of you who are new teachers or have started at a new school where Kodály wasn't taught know that it can be tricky to get started with your sequence. This year, I came into a school where my kids were amazingly talented and bright, but they had very little consistency. In fact, I am the 4th music teacher that my 5th graders have had for music. SO, it was really tough to figure out where to start and how to sequence my instruction.  That being said, we are definitely a little bit "out of order" in my classroom this year.

Right now my 3rd and 4th graders are preparing to read syncopa. Syncopa is one of my absolute favorites! I love the repertoire that goes with it. Some of my (and my students') favorite's are...
  • Canoe Song (my kids love to sing this as a partner song with Land of the Silver Birch. There is an old choral arrangement of these two by Phyllis Wolfe that is great for beginning choirs. Check it out here...
  • Black Snake
  • Alabama Gal
  • Ridin' in a Buggy
  • Shake the Papaya (also a great choral score, by Henry Leck) 
  • Bump Up Tomato
This week I will be posting some of my syncopa activities to my TpT store, starting with "Where Are You Hiding?" For those of you who don't know the song, I found it on another blog here...

To play this game, I created a set of flashcards with syncopa rhythms. One of the rhythms has a snake on the back of it. Students pair up into teams and take turns speaking a rhythm. After they say the rhythm, they get to turn over the card. The student who finds the snake wins!

I have posted my flashcard set as a freebie for one day only! You can check it out here...

Do you have any syncopa favorites? I'd love to hear what you use in your classroom! 

Have a happy week! 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Back to Busy!

Despite my best efforts to get a post up this week, the days completely slipped away from me! Do you ever experience that, "how is it already Friday?!" phenomenon? It was great to get back into the routine of school and seeing my students this week, but I definitely felt crunched for time diving back into the spring! I have a new blogging schedule and plan in place, and I am optimistic that the coming week will be better!


Last time I shared with you my "Telephone Rhythm" game.  I played this with my kids as a rhythm review this week, and my kids loved it! They came in asking to play again. :)

If you are interested in learning more, you can check it out on my TpT store. 

Today, I am going to explain another game from my "Pick a Stick" Warm-Ups. Morse Code! Morse Code works very similarly to Telephone. Here is how you do it...

1. Group your students in groups of 4-6.  
2. Have students sit in a line. The first person is the "messenger," the last person is the "receiver"
3. The "messenger" comes up to you to receive the message. You show them a notated four-beat rhythm that they have to then convey via "morse code." To do this, they go back and tap the rhythm in the hand of the person next to them. That person then taps the rhythm in the next person's hand and so on. The last person has to write the message on a paper or white board. Each correct rhythm earns one point. 
4. At the end, the team with the most points wins! 

I'll be honest... this one is tough. Even with my 4th and 5th grades, I often use simple quarter, eighth, and sixteenth note rhythms. However, it is an awesome way to build some physical practice into your lesson for your kinesthetic learners and it is great for when you need that added challenge for your students! 

This week I dove into teaching one of my favorite rhythms, syncopa! I am going to be posting some of my games and activities soon (I promise)!
I hope you all had a wonderful first week back!