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... http://www.jwpepper.com/Blue-Waters-of-the-North/3026259.item#.UuRV_GTn-Ks
- 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!
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!
Have a happy night!