Friday, May 13; The Week in a Nutshell

Happy Friday!  The weeks are certainly rolling by fast now.  Some of you are, or will soon be out of school.  Here in Pennsylvania we still have about 5 weeks to go.

This week 2nd grade moved on from do mi sol la   to    mi re do.  I begin with the Curwen hand signals.  The students practice reading the tones from whatever signal I give.  They also practice do the hand signals themselves.

From there, we review the concept of line and space notes, by putting our hands to our heads like a line going through it, or, one  on top and one on the bottom with our heads in between.  I try to fool them by starting off slowly saying line note……space note; they put their hands in the correct position depending upon what I say.  We gradually speed up, and I start randomizing the order.  The first time I say line note twice in a row when they’re already going to the space note position, everyone cracks up.  They really enjoy this simple game.  Of course, it’s easy to  go from  there to pointing to line and space notes on the staff and asking them to show me which one it is, and finally verbalizing which it is.

In showing them m-r-d on the staff I emphasize that mi and do are always the same KIND of note, and re will be the one that is different.  (I do the same thing with m-s-l).  This weeks lesson is fairly easy because the M, R and D are in the spaces and on the lines instead of note heads.  There are 2 charts for the purpose of showing them that m-r-d can be written in more than one way. m-d line notes and r space note, or, m-d space notes and r line note.

I follow up with the book, “3 Blind Mice.”  I’m always amazed that the kids don’t know this song!  I sing the book to them in its entirety, always showing the m-r-d hand signals when they occur.

In keeping with my Star Spangled banner week, I introduced it to the primary grades.  I’m not expecting them to memorize it or even  sing it well at this point, but I was pleasantly surprised at how many of them were already able to sing it reasonably well…even the first graders!  I used 2 different picture books , both with large words for the kids to follow.

The first is called “The Star Spangled Banner”.  Soft cover, large print.  From Scholastic, designed by Janet L. Kusmierski.

  ISBN 0-439-40767-2

Oh Say Can You See


The second is called “Oh Say! Can You See”.  It’s hard cover and comes with a cd.  The words are large, (see the midline of the open page,) and there are lots of pop up flaps with information underneath about the SSB, the flag, and America.  The kids really enjoy this one.  By D. Clark, ISBN 10   1-843510-880-2 or ISBN 13   978-1-84610-880-8.  ( I don’t know what that’s all about.  If anyone else knows why there would be 2 ISBNs please let me know.)

In the intermediate grades we reviewed the SSB and the song “Responsible” from last week.  See  

Because we have a big initiative in our district on writing and vocabulary, I had them use their listening journals for writing sentences using the vocabulary from the song.  For example, my first request was for a sentence using the word decency or decent.  The sentence had to give a clue as to the meaning of the word.  e.g. “My teacher is a decent person who always tries to do the right thing.”  After they wrote I gave as many as wanted it the chance to share their sentence.  We then went on to the next word..same procedure.

We also worked on “The United States” by Susan Nipp of Wee Sing fame.  I’ve written her asking to post a picture of the song, but I haven’t heard back yet.  Great for memorizing states, fermata, ritardando, a tempo and chromatic scale.

We’ll probably be doing less and less theory from here on out.  They’re really starting with the spring/summer fever.  Lots of movement, singing and request activities in store, I suspect.

Have a great weekend!  :0)



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