Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Musical Pumpkins!




Halloween Sound Stories

Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year because there are so many fun and engaging activities we can do in music!  One of my favorite lessons is using Halloween poems to create spooky sound stories.  A sound story is using instruments or various objects to add sound effects to a story, poem, or book. 

In Second grade classes, we started by learning a Halloween poem together as a class.  Once we read through it a few times, we decided which words needed a sound effect.  They discovered that important words and onomatopoeias were great choices.

Next, I showed the students a collection of sound effects instruments and the students chose appropriate sounds for the words that they had circled. 

Then, the students performed the poem collaboratively using the instruments. 
The students then got into small groups and began working on their own Halloween sound story.  The groups followed the same steps that we had followed together as a class.
The groups received a bucket full of classroom percussion instruments that they used to create their sound effects.  It was so neat to watch each group's creative process! 
Each group performed their sound stories for the class.
 They definitely got me into the spooky Halloween spirit!! ツ

Monday, October 22, 2012

Stomp: Trash Percussion Projects

Have you ever heard of Stomp?  Stomp is a percussion ensemble that uses a variety of everyday objects as percussion instruments.  It combines rhythmic percussion, movement, and physical comedy.  The group originated in London, England but now has companies that perform on Broadway and at venues all over the world. 

My students LOVE Stomp!!  How could you not??  Their performances are engaging, funny, and very impressive!  Recently in music class, 4th and 5th graders used Stomp performances as inspiration for their own rhythmic performance.  Check out some of their favorite video clips:


And their favorite ...
The classes LOVED doing their own version of Stomp!  They brought in all kind of trash/recyclable items to use for their instruments such as cardboard boxes, plastic containers, and tin cans.

They worked with small groups to create a performance piece using contrasting rhythm patterns performed on their trash percussion instruments.  Some groups used props, created choreography, or added their own dose of Stomp humor!  ツ  I was so proud of their creative compositions!



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Musical Terms Centers

As the culmination of our "Musical Terms" unit, the second graders are participating in centers.  I love using centers to help my students practice particular skills or concepts and also to assess their knowledge at the end of a unit.  They love it because they get to play fun games!
Station 1:  Simon Says Symbols - The students take turns choosing a question...
And circle/highlight/underline the correct symbol on the musical example using a creative pen!
Station 2:  Musical Terms Board Game - Students will draw a card and answer the question about a musical term.  If they answer correctly, they can roll the dice and move their game piece.  I put the questions on the outside of an envelope and the answer on an index card inside the envelope so that they can check their answers easily.  By the way, I found this board game at the Dollar Tree.  
It's a great place to get ideas for centers. :)
Station 3:  Musical Terms Scavenger Hunt - The students work together to find musical symbols in their music textbook and record the page number on their worksheet.
Station 4:  Musical Terms Hangman - The students draw a card and write the correct number of blanks on their dry erase board.  The other students in the group take turns guessing letters until they figure it out!  Most of the students already know how to play hangman and any time you can get a dry erase board in their hands it is a good thing!
Station 5:  Musical Terms Bingo - I created a "playlist" of music passages using Audacity where each clip features a particular term.  When the students identify the term that they heard, they place a Bingo chip on that symbol.  For example, if the students identified the musical clip as being loud, they would cover up "forte" on their Bingo card. 
I hope you enjoyed a sneak peak of some of our fun music games!  Check back soon for more musical centers!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

First Graders are Officially "Real Musicans!"

As we are wrapping up a unit on "Musical Opposites" in first grade, we are preparing to tackle basic rhythm patterns.  Our last two opposite words were "Long and Short" and students spent some time singing, playing, listening to, and moving to long and short sounds. 
A great way for me to assess their understanding of long and short sounds is by using scarves!  I told the students to pretend that they were famous painters and that they had a huge blank canvas in front of them.  They were to listen to the music and use their scarves paintbrushes to paint long strokes or short strokes according to what they heard in the music.  They did a great job and had so much fun!
 Now we are working on transferring their knowledge of long and short sounds to the introduction of basic rhythms.  They are learning about the quarter note (tah - long) and the eighth notes (ti-ti - short) and how to put them together to make patterns.  Over the next few weeks they will be working on identifying, performing, and creating patterns using tah and ti-ti.  As I said to my first grade class today... "You are now REAL musicians!"  They thought they were big stuff!  ;)


Monday, October 8, 2012

Musical Terms Fortune Teller

Second graders have been working on learning how to read a musical score.  They have been practicing tracking the music and following the musical "road map."  To help us with these skills, we have been working on a unit of "Musical Terms."  They learned many Italian musical words and symbols that they may come across in their score-reading.  Our focus words were: piano, forte, repeat sign, fermata, coda, crescendo, decrescendo, legato, and staccato. 

With all of these new terms, we needed a way to practice!  I used a template that I found online and created a Musical Terms Fortune Teller. Remember those?  I used to make these all the time in elementary school.  :)  I was excited to find out that some of the students knew how to make them as well!  Each flap of the fortune teller has a musical symbol on it and underneath the flap is the definition.  The students had so much fun playing the review game with their partners!

Here's a great video tutorial if you'd like to try one yourself!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Welcome to the Music Room!

Welcome to our Music Room!  Let me show you around...

We are so fortunate to have SMARTboards in our classrooms! 
I don't know how I could ever teach without one now!

Here is our instrumentarium!  I am always looking to expand my Orff collection!  :)
Our Musical Word Wall...

More classroom instruments and our music textbooks...

Our Music Essential Questions posted...

The Music Standards (in kid-friendly language) are also posted for each class.

The 4th and 5th graders spend a few minutes during each class learning about various composers each month.  They are just now finishing up a study on John Williams.  They really enjoy learning facts about each composer, listening to their compositions, and playing Composer Jeopardy at the end of each study.


 Each class has a chance to earn stickers for good behavior each time they come to music.  After they earn 6 stickers, they receive a class karaoke party!  Fun times!

 I hope you enjoyed the tour!  Check back soon for more updates on the Music Room fun!