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! 
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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!

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