Sunday, March 12, 2017

Week 9: February 20 - March 10

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 9 (February 20 - March 10)

Here's what happened In our ninth week together___

  • Kindergartners continued their focused learning using pitch and pitch notation with a 2-line staff.  Students reviewed a previous Sol-Mi Version of Engine Engine from the Smart Board and then worked in 6 groups (one per phrase of the song) to create a new Sol-Mi melody using magnets and manipulatives on a 2 line staff drawn on a cookie sheet.  We put all of the new phrases into one new Class Version and sang it together.  Students also created a 4-note sol-mi pattern and sang it alone before the whole group sang it.  One day we created a very long Sol-Mi tune as each student added a pitch to the tune, or changed a pitch already on the score.  This allowed us to focus on reading and writing from left to right, even as the pitches move up and down.  As we built and changed the new tune, we worked on our sight-singing.  In addition to this focus on music literacy students were introduced to some songs to sing just for fun:  The Vowel Song (Apples and Bananas) and Throw it Out the Window - their homework was to come with a nursery rhyme in mind to try out as a new verse in that one.
  • First and Second Graders worked toward their culminating performance of their songs, dances and music games for their Culture Connection sharing.  This rotation we worked to memorize and polish all of the pieces and added performance particulars like a group bow, traveling to and from the risers, and linking all of the pieces into a cohesive musical performance.  On the day of the performance the two classes (1st and 2nd grade) combined for a technical rehearsal to get used to the actual performance space and weaving their parts together.  It was the first time the two groups had sung their joint songs together.  That evening all students had the opportunity to share their music and movement learning, as well as art work with their parents and invited guests.  In our next rotation students will get a chance to watch their performance from an audience perspective and reflect on it.  Our fifth day, following the program students got to choose some favorite singing/movement games to play.
  • Third Grades began the week by reviewing Basic Recorder technique and the notes they had previously learned - B A and G, with their latest song See a Pin.  We reviewed this piece with body percussion and speech (pat, clap and snap for G A B respectively).  Then the body percussion was shifted down to include a step which translated to a new note - E.  We played the piece starting on G (Do), starting on E (La, giving it a minor sound) and combining them into one.   You'll find a recording of students playing this piece on the In the Spotlight page.  Using our new note E, students also learned all of the recorder parts to a new piece called Toasted.  This piece has a section that students can 'jam' or improvise.  Students have begun working on some riffs in a jazzy style using the 4 notes they know on recorder.  We have started having two-four solo volunteers to create the B section.  Both of these pieces have been sent home in printed music so students can continue to practice them.  Students can log their practice time on the page called Practice Logs.  Toasted is a piece we will continue to work with as we next learn the drum and xylophone parts.  In the next rotation we'll get it all put together and make a recording to share with you.
  • Fourth Graders learned the last of the new pieces - Colorado! and  Gold Rush for their upcoming Colorado Connection Concert.  This live (and recorded) parent sharing will be happening on Thursday in the next rotation during our music time.   Some students have volunteered to take on the rap style speech parts of Gold Rush.  In addition to working on these two pieces, we wrapped up the small group recorder pieces The Train's Off the Track, When the Train Comes Along and Little Train.  Each group was video recorded so that we can weave them together into one compilation that will be held together by a voice over poem.  Students who volunteered to do the voice over will be recorded soon so that can be put together.  Once done it will be posted for you to see.  In this rotation we also added the square dance portion of Symbol Song and reviewed it.  We reviewed our Cheyenne Hand Game and Cripple Creek, too.  Classes that had a 5th day in this rotation and had all of that done, got to enjoy Talent Time and choose from favorite singing/movement games.
  • Fifth Graders came back to a piece we had started in Week 8 called The C Scale Rondo.  This is a piece for tone bars (Orff ensemble) using the full major scale in which everyone plays the A section  and small groups of students playing like instruments play a contrasting section as part of a large Rondo form.  In Week 8 students had begun creating their soli sections.  Students revisited that and worked to get it performance ready.  An bass xylophone ostinato was added to the A section.  The class decided on the order of the groups for the Rondo, structuring the performance.  We took a day to practice it as a musical whole and making a recording to share out which is posted on the In the Spotlight page.  On day 3 and 4 of this rotation students worked as composers to create a melody of their own.  This is our final composition project.  Students were introduced to a way of short hand (quick) notation to combine the letter names of the pitches and stick notation to indicate the rhythm.  In the next rotation students will choose between their Rhythmic Canon or their Melodic Piece to publish and perform.  Classes that had a 5th day in this rotation and had all of that done, got to enjoy Talent Time and choose from favorite singing/movement games.

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