Thursday, October 6, 2016

"Week" 3 - September 19 - October 7

A quick reminder that with our specials schedule we have at Gold Rush, 3 weeks equals 1 instructional week for me with all of the students.  That's why this post is called - Week 3

In our third week together, our Musical Headline was Melody
  • Kindergartners were introduced to the concept and contrasts of high and low.  They used their voices in the story of Wiggle and Waggle, going up, down, and staying level on one note.  This was reinforced with movement activities using high movements, low and middle level movements.  We did vocal echoes with the slide whistle and described the melodic direction with our thumb "sound arrows".   Students took turns creating two pitch melodies (high/low) using either shoulder/waist body conducting or solfege hand signs.  We reviewed names with a vocal Name rondo - "What's Your Name?  Puddin' 'n' Tame.  Ask me again and I'll tell you the same" as the A section; contrasting sections were created with,  "Name, Name, What's your name?  (4 solo singers answering by singing their own name)".  In addition to this focus on high and low pitch, we took turns at our singing/creativity game, Jack in the Box, and further worked with beat with a new game called "The Beat Detective".  Some classes also learned the singing game, Doggie, Doggie, Where's Your Bone?  which involves group singing, some solo singing and listening.  This song has a lot of the Sol-Mi or high-low patterns we were focusing on.
  • First Graders reviewed the concept of Sol-Mi-La pitches.  We did this with vocal warm ups using solfeggio and hand signs.  Students took turns creating new melodies using the hand signs to direct singers to sing their newly created melody.  Students were introduced to melodic notation using a 2-line staff.  We notated a favorite singing game, Doggie, Doggie, Where's Your Bone? before playing the game.  We also did a listening/movement games called Melody Statues.  We spent one class period playing the barred instruments (xylophones, metallophones and glockenspiels) going Around the Instruments in a rotation to play patterns as an echo to singing based mostly on Sol and Mi.  Students learned a brand new song called Autumn Leaves which uses mostly Sol, Mi and La, but also introduces Re and Do.  I wrote the song especially for our first graders.  In addition to singing it, they 'dressed it up' with movement and instruments.  There are some videos posted on the In the Spotlight page of this blog if you'd like to see some student performances of the piece.  The groups that had a 5th day in this rotation also had a day to choose some songs to sing, and we put together a Three Piggy Opera based on the old Disney version of The Three Little Pigs.
  • Second Graders first reviewed the pitches of Sol-Mi-La with vocal follows and echoes.  Classes competed to score the most points in the "Simon Solfege Challenge".  After warming up singing with solfeggio syllables and hand signs, students were challenged to sing a note that was only shown, not sung by the teacher.  If successful, then another note was added.  We are having a class competition to see which class can score the most points.  We reviewed melodic notation - expanding the 2-line staff to the traditional 5-line staff used to notate melodies.  We learned a song, "Autumn is Here" with all the pitches/notes of a Pentatonic Scale (Do, Re, Mi, Sol, La and Do').  In addition to singing the song and accompaning their singing on xylophones and glockenspiels using a beat bordun (open 5th - Do/So), as the song was better known, they got to try it in a round.  Additionally, they 'figured' out the melody - one phrase at a time - until they could play the whole melody on the barred instruments.  Students rotated from one instrument to another so that everyone got to play the melody on every size instrument.  We also tried it as an instrumental round - woods (xylophones) and metals (glockenspiels and metallophones).  The groups that had a 5th day in this rotation also had a day to choose some songs to sing from a menu of Disney choices.
  • Third Graders were introduced to the lines and spaces of the treble clef.  The song, "The staff has five" introduced them to the letter names of both the lines and spaces.  As homework, each student created a new saying to help them remember the pattern of the lines from the bottom to the top - E, G, B, D, F.  A few of the new sayings and artwork illustrating the saying were shared each day.  Students voted to choose 3 class favorites which will be displayed outside the music room to help everyone's learning  We also did some mirroring and true right/left reversal pairings with partners in preparation for playing the recorder.  In preparation for an upcoming classrroom/music room connection concert, our Rock Concert, we got a start on a song called Rock Concert and a rock passing game from Ghana, Obwisana.  More information about the Rock Concert will be coming as we get more songs prepared to share with you.
  • Fourth Graders reviewed the lines and spaces of the treble clef staff that they were introduced to last year, and using the pattern of the music alphabet were shown how to recognize the notes above and below the staff.  They took the 50 in 5 challenge for the first time - a timed note naming challenge with 50 notes on a page.  Students will have four times to try the challenge within the school year.  As doing the challenge is also practice, it is expected that each time students will improve their score and time.  Fourth graders also reviewed recorder technique and reading B, A and G with a song with a Colorado Connection - Stegasaurus Stomp.  Fourth graders also got a good start on learning what will become their opening song for a later parent sharing of Colorado Connection pieces, The Symbol Song.  There are parts of the song that everyone sings together and 5 verses which will be performed by smaller groups.  Each student chose which of those 5 verses they'd most like to learn.  
  • Fifth Graders focused on melody by reviewing the names of the lines and spaces of the treble clef, plus the notes extending outside the staff to a space above and below the first ledger line.  They took the timed 50 note naming challenge for the first time this year.  In addition, students reviewed basic recorder technique and fingering.  We began with the notes most used in 3rd and 4th grades - B, A, G, E - and then expanded to C', D' and E' (the ' indicates the higher octave).  We learned a piece for recorder and drumming called Driving Force.  This piece is in a Rondo Form - A B A C A.  All students learned the A section and then chose to undertake learning either the B or C section of the music.  We also spent a day learning the drumming accompaniment parts.  At some point in the near future we'll have the whole piece put together.  At that time, we'd like to do a Skype session face to face with the composer in New York City.  
In the next rotation, "Week 4" (October 17-November 4) the musical focus will again by rhythm and form.  

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