Friday, January 6, 2017

Week 6: December 5 - January 6

As you know, at GRE the specials schedule is a 3 week rotation - so 3 weeks equals 1 instructional week for me with all of the students.  That's why this post is called - Week 6 (December 5 - January 6)

Here's what happened In our sixth week together___

  • Kindergartners continued learning about the small percussion (unpitched percussion) instruments we have in the music room.  In this rotation they were introduced to the  Ring instruments (triangle, finger cymbals, Indonesian gong, Chinese Bell Tree, wind chimes, tam-tam, cow bell, gankogui - 2 tone-bell from Ghana, crash cymbals, and suspended cymbal) and the Membranic instruments (hand drums, tubanos, bongos, buffalo drum, djembe, and donno - "talking drum" from Ghana).  With the Ring family students were introduced to the proper playing technique and the instrument name.  Each student partnered with another student - one played the instrument while the other moved in place to show how long the sound was.  Then they traded roles with their partner.  The pairs traveled around a large circle of instruments so that every person got to play each one.  In introducing the drums, we took one day to explore and discover ways to make sound on the hand drums.  Each student shared one idea they had found.  The second day students were introduced to additional drums.  With both timbre families we played our "Listen" game - which requires students to determine which instrument they are hearing without being able to see it and then name it.  Only the Gold schedule (Mrs. Brown's class) had a 5th day.  That class used instruments to augment two winter songs:  Jingle Bells and Santa's Helpers.
  • First and Second Graders focused first on responding to music in a listening lesson.  Using the ipad app - Drawing Pad - students drew their response to a piece from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite they had selected as a class.  Students heard the piece 3-4 times in order to add detail to their response.  Some chose to create a listening map detailing the form and expressive qualities of the piece; others chose to draw a picture showing their emotional reaction to the piece.  Also this week, students discussed the language of this WCO:  "Explore music's role and its impact on the human experience."  Students spoke in turn in a circle talk about ways that music is important in their lives.  One idea that many students shared is how music can change their mood.  This was followed up with students choosing songs to sing from a menu of choices and saying why they had chosen a particular song.  We took a 2nd day later in the week for more of these song choices.  One day was spent reviewing the percussion timbre families and small percussion instruments as we did an activity with colored dominoes, reading the 'score' and playing one beat of sound (or silence) per colored panel.  Students were able to play two different instruments in each of 6 unpitched percussion families - click, jingle, rattle, scrape and membranic.
  • Third Graders had an exciting and strong start at learning to play the soprano recorder this week.  Students played through several pieces - some from rote learning and some from notation:  B Ready, B Funky (students played solos - reading 4 beat rhythms), B One, B Hold, B Brave, Heavy B, Auto Pilot, The A List, A is for Acoustic, Atmosphere, and the Sheep May Safely Graze Tango.  Important things they learned were
    • correct air speed for blowing the recorder in order to get the best sound
    • how to hold the recorder and plug the holes (home base position)
    • how to start and stop the sound and interrupt the sound for rhythms - tonguing
    • fingering and notation for two different pitches - B and A
    • reading music on a staff - decoding rhythm, pitch and putting that together with recorder fingering
  • Fourth Graders learned about the traditional note and rest names in this rotation.  Although some students knew some of the 10 symbols by their 'real' names and could also tell how long they last (their value).  No student scored 20 out of 20 on the pre-test.  So, good news:  everyone had something new to learn!  Students learned why notes and rests have their traditional, "mathematical" names based on an object lesson:  Mrs. Petty's famous BROWNIE Lesson.  In addition, we played some games and did some activities to help cement all of this new information into our thinking before re-testing at the end of the week.  Those that scored 20 out of 20 this time around have shown that they have grasped the information.  Those that did not received their test papers back to study the few they still need to learn.  We'll keep working on it.  
    • Fifth Graders dealt with the World Class Outcome:  "Defend music's role and its impact on the human experience".  Since this is a tricky one for kids (and adults) to make sense of, we worked through the language first.  Our discussion revolved around music's importance in our lives - particularly events or occasions in which music enhances or changes the experience.  Students had the assignment of sharing about a song that is special to them in some way and what their connection to the song is.  In addition, students had the opportunity to choose songs from a menu of Winter song choices.  Those that chose songs for all to sing also shared why they had chosen a particular song.

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