Monday, 24 June 2013

Black Belt - Jingle Bells

It's the last week of school! I cannot believe how quickly this year has flown by. Here is my final post about Recorder Karate. I may do things a little bit differently next year but overall I like how this program went.

The lesson started off with a fun Jingle Bells Mad Lib that I found here. I imported it onto my Smart Board and covered up the clip art and the rest of the story with white square shapes so that it wouldn't give away the song. It looked like this:
I just wrote the kids ideas on the page and revealed it by clicking on one of the shapes. The kids had a blast reading and singing the crazy Jingle Bells song they created.

To help the students with the challenging rhythms in this song, I created a Rhythm Slider. When the students pulled the tab at the bottom a new rhythm would appear. We clapped each rhythm and the students chose a note to play it on with their recorders. At the end, I pulled all the rhythms out and we played them in order with different notes and then played the song as written.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Instruments of the Orchestra - Key Word Dance

Am I allowed to congratulate myself on making a good decision? I hope so. My Grade 7 and 8s stopped playing their instruments last week so that I would have the chance to clean instruments and mouthpieces. The big challenge, now that reports are done and marks are in, is coming up with valuable lessons that keep the students engaged and allow me to maintain my sanity. With the intermediates, I decided to introduce them to the ukulele. That was the best thing I could have done. This benefits me in two ways:
1. The kids are focused and making music.
2. I get a chance to try out some ukulele lessons before I start them in the Fall with my Grade 6s.

Sadly, my Grade 5s and 6s are not using the ukuleles yet so I had to come up with another lesson idea to use with them - The Key Word Dance. I wanted to make sure that my Grade 6s were exposed to a few of our band instruments for next year.

1. I started my lesson by explaining that we were going to be creating a Key Word Dance or in other words, a poem about instruments of the orchestra.

2. I read the students a paragraph about the Clarinet and had them identify what they felt were the most important words and wrote them on the Smart Board and continued on in this manner for the rest of the article until we had about 15-20 key words.

3. Then came the tricky part: Turning our words into a poem. We worked together as a class and I helped out a little bit but the students came up with most of the ideas on their own. (See class examples below straight from my Smart Board).

4. I copied some information about a few band instruments (Flute, Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba) and divided the students into 5 groups.

5. They completed the same process that we undertook as a whole group in their small groups.

6. Students presented their Key Word Dances and I played a sample of each instrument from the "Story of the Orchestra" book and CD.

Here are some of the Key Word Dances my classes created:

TPT #6 - The Key Word Dance
  • After a lesson, students select 15-20 key words from their notes that they believe help them understand the content
  • Students create a Key-Word Dance
  • Share poems in small groups and explain why the words they chose represent the big idea
  • Volunteers share in front of the whole class or with a Chalkboard Splash

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Pink Belt - Ode to Joy

Ahhh...the dreaded dotted quarter note and eighth note combo. Not to mention that this tricky rhythm also appears in one of my least favourite songs of all times - Ode to Joy. I needed a lot of help for this lesson which is why I turned to Pianimation for some ideas.

Jennifer Fink from Pianimation used Beat Boards (I used cardstock with hearts printed on them), Silly Putty (I used sticky tack), and rhythm cards (I put the rhythms up on my Smart Board). I really liked her lesson because it was very tactile and hands-on. You should read her complete lesson on the Pianimation website but I will explain how I changed it to fit the rhythm in Ode to Joy (dotted quarter note, eighth note, half note).

Each student was given a beat card and a wad of sticky tack. On the Smart Board I had drawn 4 hearts. As a class we figured out which rhythm would match with each of those beats and I drew a quarter note above each heart. The students then divided their sticky tack into 4 equal balls and placed one ball on each beat. I used a drum, as Jennifer suggested, to tap the beat and the students vocalized "Ta" and tapped each piece of sticky tack to the beat of my drum.

We then turned the last two beats into a half note. The students combined their last two balls of sticky tack into one ball and stretched it from the third heart to the fourth heart. We tapped the sticky tack and slid our fingers from the third heart to the fourth while vocalizing the rhythms.

We talked about other rhythms we knew that were worth one beat but made more than one sound and turned the second heart into a pair of eighth notes, splitting up that piece of sticky tack into two balls. We tapped and vocalized this pattern.

Then came the monster of rhythms - the dotted quarter. The students were already exposed to the dot from the Skin and Bones lesson so we reviewed the function of the dot and transformed our rhythm into a dotted quarter note - eighth note - half-note pattern. We took the first ball from the second beat and combined it with the ball on the first beat and stretched it across to the second heart. We spent a lot of time feeling and vocalizing this rhythm and then we moved to Ode to Joy.

The students came up to the Smart Board and circled the dotted quarter pattern in the song. We said and clapped each pattern and then played it on the recorder using D only and then tried the song as written.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Term 2 Report Card Comments

The end is in sight! My report cards are done and we just have two and a half weeks to go!

Here are the comments I came up with for Term 2.

(By the way, *N* = name of student, *4* = He/She, *2* = his/her, *1* = he/she)

Grade 4: 
In Music, *N* reflects on how to use the elements of music when performing and creating. This was demonstrated by performing on Orff instruments and responding to music through movement and with props such as ribbons, parachutes, and scarves.

*4* thoroughly explains how music is used to communicate feelings, ideas, and understandings in *2* Listening Challenges.

*4* explains how music is used to communicate feelings, ideas, and understandings in *2* Listening Challenges.

*4* explains, with assistance, how music is used to communicate feelings, ideas, and understandings in his Listening Challenges. *N* needs to participate more positively in classsroom activities.

Grade 5 & 6: 
*** These comments are very similar since both grades began recorders this year. I changed the names of some of the song we focused on to differentiate between the grades. ***

In Music, *N* creates and performs through playing a variety of simple pieces using a range of notes on *2* recorder such as "Frog in the Middle" and "Ode to Joy." *4* plays the recorder using proper hand position and can read the notes on the lines and spaces of the treble clef.

*N* played notes and rhythms with very few errors. *4* has shown great initiative this term.

*N* played most notes and rhythms correctly. *4* makes a good recovery when errors do occur.

*N* plays the recorder using proper hand position and can read the notes on the lines and spaces of the treble clef, with assistance. *4* needs to reinforce the learning of note names by using internet tools.

Grade 7: 

In Music, *N* is beginning to use the elements and techniques of music in performance and can explain how the music *1* listens to may be connected to *2* life. This was evident in the number of tasks *1* completed this term and by the work put into the "Soundtrack of My Life" project.

*N* composed and performed *2* very own piece of music and displays great musical talent.

*N* plays *2* instrument with proper technique and can read musical notation.
*N* needs to reinforce the learning of note names by using internet tools.

*N* needs to reinforce the learning of note names by using internet tools and should ensure *1* completes all assignments in the future.

Grade 8:

In Music, *N* uses the elements and techniques of music to create and perform. This was evident in the number of performance tasks *1* completed this term and when *1* performed with a small group in front of the class and expressed *2* personal response to the piece.

*** The strengths and next steps are the same as the Grade 7 ones. ***

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Red Belt - Hush Little Baby

Recorder Karate has wrapped up and I was pleased with the number of students who worked super hard to achieve their black belts! Next year, I will need to make more of an effort to get kids past their orange belt as there were a few that only received one or two belts. Part of that will include me taking more class time to hear students. Sometimes Music is not long enough!

I will still be posting my lesson ideas for the three remaining belts so read on for my red belt lesson!

I started off by showing students this video by Lauryn Hill:

The lyrics aren't exactly the same as the words in the method book but it was a neat way to introduce the song!

In the class prior to this one I spent some time teaching the notes and rhythms for Hush Little Baby so that the students would be more successful with this activity.

Since I have an abundance of file folders, I turned them into envelopes by stapling the edges. I glued the instructions for the game on the front of the folder and photocopied Hush Little Baby from the method book onto cardstock and cut it up into six sections. I numbered each card from 1-6.

The students were split up into groups of three and were given the folder containing the cards, a wad of sticky tack and a die. Here are the instructions that they were given:

Take turns rolling the die. If you roll a “4” find that card and sticky tack it to your folder. Roll again. If your next roll is a “2” find that card and stick it to the right of your first card. Keep rolling until you have attached all 6 cards to your folder. If you roll a number twice, try again for a different number.

Now practice playing your variation on “Hush Little Baby”. Be ready to perform it!

The activity worked pretty well and was another opportunity for me to assess their playing.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Blue Belt - Frog in the MIddle

This has been a crazy week! Report cards are due soon, I've had kids coming in to finish up Recorder Karate Belts and GPS tasks, and on top of it all my sister had her baby one month early (two days before the shower my Mom and I were planning for her!) Life is good!

"Frog in the Middle" is one of the first songs that my students learn that contains eighth notes. I've noticed that my intermediate students have a lot of difficulty with rhythm, even simple patterns, so I knew that we'd need to experience the rhythm for this song in different ways.

Rhythm in the Feet

For this activity I matched tas with "walk" and tis with "run". As the students entered the Music Room we formed a line and I led them in this chant, while moving our feet in rhythm:
Walk, walk, run-run, walk
I put the rhythms from "Frog in the Middle" up on the Smartboard and explained that we say "walk" for all the tas and "run" for all the tis". We practiced just saying the rhythms using "walk" and "run" and then we put the rhythm in our feet and moved around the room. We ended up doing all four rhythm patterns in a row.

Rhythm Instruments

I split the class into two groups and gave half of them some egg shakers and the other half castanets. We played "Frog in the Middle" with the eggs playing all the ti-tis and the castanets playing all the tas. Then we switched parts. After, we all played every rhythm together.

Moving to Recorders

Once we were confident with the rhythm we took out the recorders and the students played the rhythm on "D" only and then with the correct notes.