Thursday, November 5, 2015

Shut the {Music} Box!

My 3rd grade students have been working on remembering their note values. We've played several games recently to help them work on this skill, including "Rhythm War." After finding the "Shut the Box" game on Pinterest, I decided to give it a whirl and my students have really enjoyed it!

To play, students work with partners and take turns trying to mark off as many numbers in their row as possible. They roll the dice and can either mark off the note values separately or add them together. For example, if they rolled a half note and a quarter note, they could mark off a 2 and a 1 or they could add them together and mark off 3. The object of the game is to get the most boxes crossed off.

(You can see the original blog post at Notable Music Studio and print off the game board here:

Monday, October 26, 2015

Tennis Ball Rhythms

To go along with our Rhythm unit, 4th and 5th graders have been talking about subdividing and how music note values are related to fractions.

Classes have really enjoyed this tennis ball rhythm activity! Each note has a different movement that goes with it to represent that note value. It helps to reinforce steady beat, how the notes are related to each other, and how they fit in the measure. Here are some pictures of the students practicing:

Whole Note: tennis ball goes around the body in a large circle for 4 counts
Half Note: bounce tennis ball for 1st count and catch ball for 2nd count
Quarter Note: toss the tennis ball up and catch on each beat
Eighth Notes: toss the ball back and forth between each hand on each half beat

You can find this activity here on YouTube:

(In addition to "Stars and Stripes," I have the students try the activity with a variety of styles)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Oh Opposites!

First graders at HSES have been working on a musical opposites unit! They have learned about loud/soft (quiet), fast/slow, high/low, and long/short. They have had so much fun doing various games and activities to help them identify these changes in music. Here are a few pictures of our fun...

After hearing a fast/slow story about a school bus, students move their buses fast and slow to the music.
After learning about fast and slow music, students participate in a quick check assessment.
Learning about loud and soft -  boys pretend to be grizzly bears hibernating

... and wake up when the song gets loud!

And then the girls get to be the grizzly bears!
So. Much. Fun! :)
Using scarves as paintbrushes - painting long and short sounds
Using sticks to play "violins" when they hear long sounds...
... and playing "drums" for short sounds.
Pretending scarves are taffy - stretching them out to long sounds.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Rules and Rhythms!

It's the beginning of the new school year and the time to talk about rules and procedures in the music room. I took some advice from Aimee from "O For Tuna Orff," and combined our rules talk with reviewing rhythms!

First, the students were divided into 6 different groups and they were given one of our music rules. They were asked to work together to figure out what the rhythm of their phrase was and they displayed their answer on their beat sheets using rhythm cards.

After practicing their rhythms, they performed them for the class. Next, was their favorite part: adding instruments! We were even able to perform these rhythms together as ostinato patterns. This will lead wonderfully into our first unit about performing contrasting rhythm patterns together.

This activity made learning and reviewing the rules so much more fun and meaningful!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Oconee County Elementary Honors Chorus

My fabulous colleagues and I were so fortunate to be able to start a county-wide Honors Chorus this year and it was a great success! We have had this vision for quite a while and were so excited to see it come to fruition. It was definitely hard work and a lot of hours to organize, but so worth it to provide such a rich choral experience for the finest young singers in our county.

Twenty-five 4th and 5th graders were selected from each school through an audition process. The students rehearsed together at each school to prepare the music and then rehearsed the music together on a Saturday in March. We were honored to have Mrs. Carol Reeves, the artistic director of the Georgia Children's Chorus, as our guest clinician. She worked with the students throughout the day on their 6 selected pieces and then they presented a concert that afternoon for parents and community members. We were so proud of our Oconee County singers!


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

E-I-E-I Oops!

Our 1st graders did such a fabulous job of presenting this year's Spring Musical, "E-I-E-I Oops!" by John Jacobson and John Higgins. They were such a precious group of farmers and farm animals! Check out a few pictures from the show...

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Instruments of the Orchestra Centers

Here is a sneak peak into some centers that 2nd graders recently did to help them practice identifying the Instruments of the Orchestra!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

John Kanaka!

My third grade classes have been focusing on folk songs. We have added Orff accompaniment, learned the cross-over technique, and performed line dances. They really enjoyed our activity with the song John Kanaka!

First we talked about the history of the sea shanty:

Then, we learned the song and discussed how the steady beat of the song might have helped sailors get their work done more efficiently. As we listened, the students identified the macro and micro beats and we practiced by using a pat-clap-pat-clap pattern.

Next, the students transferred the macro/micro beats to a hand clapping game. First we practiced with paper plates:

Holding the plate flat with their left hands, students pat the plate with their right. Then, they clap their right hands beneath and plate, pat the plate again, and clap their hands above the plate. They continue this pattern throughout the song feeling the macro beat (patting the plate) and the micro beat (clapping hands below and above): plate, below, plate, above, plate, below, plate, above.

After they had a the movements down, we added tambourines and turned it into a circle dance!

We got really fancy and rotated our outer circle on the fermata! Great job, third graders!