Sunday, September 21, 2014

September 3rd - 18th, 2014

Whew!!! The first 2 1/2 weeks of school have flown by! I can't believe how much we have accomplished. We've learned our seating order, rules and procedures, ordered recorders, signed up for choir, auditioned for Honor Choir, taken pre-tests, and learned several new songs, games, and added new note values to our rhythmic repertoire (by grade level). Take a look at what we have learned so far:

First, it's important to learn any new names, or remember the ones we might have forgotten over the summer. This is our favorite name game called "Up the Ladder." (Video borrowed from Youtube)

All grades learned and performed a rousing Broadway style number from Music K-8 entitled "Music Class." It was an instant favorite and every class from every grade begged to do it daily. We used it as our class warm-up song. This song taught us about expression, timbre, diction, style, and why we study music in school. We learned that in music class we also study math, science, English, reading, spelling and history. For example, we discussed vibration and sound waves and used the different sized Djembes to demonstrate. We talked about how lyrics in songs help teach reading, English and spelling. History is covered is time and time again when studying Composers and their era's amongst other topics, and math is HUGE in our studies right now. Rhythm is math, and we have been doing various mathematical rhythm games to help us reinforce these skills.

"Music Class"

Mrs. Aguirre's class singing

Another greeting song we learned is from Zimbabwe entitled "Sorida."
In Zimbabwe, it's a popular hand clapping game enjoyed by the children. "Sorida" is a term of greeting in the Shona language of Zimbabwe, Africa, similar to "shalom" in Hebrew or "jambo" in Swahili.


First and Second Grade

The first week was spent learning how to make a circle, remembering the seating chart arrangement, learning how to use the materials in the bins (whiteboards, markers, erasers, pencils, notebooks and rhythm sticks), lining up, and (drum roll please) THE STEADY BEAT. I know that sounds pretty simple, but it's truly a lot to learn in three days. We also learned a greeting song called "It's So Good To See You"  and a parting song called "So Long."

"It's so Good To See You"


"So Long"

Another song we used to practice the steady beat is entitled "A Beat in My Feet." We used our rhythm sticks to practice the steady beat and we also used our furry monster friend to practice passing on the beat as we sat in a circle.

 "A Beat In My Feet"

In C3 we added another greeting song entitled "Gilly Gilly Good Morning," in honor of our new student Gilly. It was fun to change the name of Gilly to all the other boys names in the class. It's such a delight to watch their faces light up when they get to hear and sing their own names.

"Gilly, Gilly, Gilly Good Morning"

Another song we had tons of fun with is the old favorite, "Engine, Engine Number Nine." After we determined the phrases were repeated sets of chained eighth notes and one quarter note (ti-ti ti-ti ti-ti ta) that matched the lyrics of the song, we got out our little trains and put them in order on the beat charts. Here are some fun photo's of the lesson, along with a video of the train we made with our bodies. I got to be the engine. "Woo Woo!"

Room C3 Engine Number Nine

A few other learning activities we added to our busy schedule included figuring out the rhythm of all of our names and making 4-beat rhythmic name chains and performing them for each other. We discovered there are a lot of names that are "ti-ti's" such as Lucy, Dylan, Johnny and Skylar. There were fewer "ta" names, like Zach, Luke or Paul. The tricky ones for the primary grades were the three syllable names like Cameron or Isabelle.  

We learned the names of our classroom drums (Djembe, Tom Tom, Gathering Drum, Conga, and Bongos) and learned how to play them correctly and how to take turns. We felt the vibration of the sound saves coming from the bottoms of the drums and discovered that the bigger the drum is the lower the sound, and visa versa for the smaller drums. The Djembes became a class favorite after we watched this video from Africa:

Third, Fourth and Fifth Grades

For our fearless fifth graders, we learned a challenging rhythmic speech piece entitled "Let's Get Going We're in Grade Five." It was our first experience of single eighth notes and syncopation. For all the third through fifth graders, we used our rhythm pizza's to review previously learned note durations, and learn the new note durations for the current grade. For third grade, we added dotted half note, whole note and whole rest. For fourth grade, we added chained sixteenth notes, and for fifth grade we added single eighth and dotted quarter. 

We also enjoyed a rousing game of "Four," which is similar to the spelling game called, "Ghost." The object of the game is to NOT be the one to finish a 4-beat measure. Each group of four students had a white board and marker/eraser. The first student up writes their choice of note duration. For example, Johnny writes a half note. That takes up two beats and leaves two. Sally is up next. She chooses to write a quarter note, which is worth one beat. Now there is only one beat left, but two players left to play. Suzy can choose to go out with another quarter note (which now ends the 4-beats) and she will get an "F" under her name, or she can be sneaky and write down a single eighth note, leaving another half beat in the measure. I saw a lot of single sixteenth notes being used in this game! The goal is to not collect all the letters of "Four" under your name. The kids loved this game, and had so much fun, they didn't realize how much they were learning and that they were actually doing math. Sneaky teacher.

We did a little more music math with equations on our white boards, but spent most of the second week practicing dictation in preparation for the pre-test. These kids amaze me with their dictation skills, and I was uber happy with the scores on the pre-test.

To end this lengthy post, here's a fun rhythm clapping game to Stars Wars the students all enjoyed. Ask them to demonstrate their skills!