Friday, May 27; The Week in a Nutshell

What a week!  Field day, the first of 3 programs,  band practice on stage, (right behind my room,) which meant I had to take 2nd grade outside with my guitar, which didn’t work out all that well, kids with spring fever…..even my lesson plan of doing their favorites was  not a complete success, due to student spring fever and yakkityness.  (Interrupting and talking between activities drives me NUTS.)  But here’s what we did….

At the top of their list was “Pass the Pumpkin.”  This song/game is not original with me.  I first saw it on the MusicK-8 Teacher Listserve.  I went back in the archives as far as I could, but I could not find the original post, so…..whoever’s idea this was, I’m sorry for not giving credit.  Please let me know who you are!

  Pass    the          Pump-kin    round     and       round.   

List-en          to      the      spoo-ky  sound.

Whooooo,   Whoooooo .       Will it stop on you?  Boo!

Quarter notes unless otherwise noted or written close together.  (Those are 8ths.)  Wish I had a way of putting notation on here.

Melody:  C    Eflat    C    Eflat     C    Eflat     G     rest

                  C    Eflat    C    Eflat     C    Eflat     G     rest

                  C1     G        C1     G      (half notes.)

                  EflatEflat   DD     C   Boo!

In the picture at the top of the page is a note value pyramid.  The little kids play Pass the Pumpkin by passing the pumpkin around the circle on the steady beat.  Whoever has the pumpkin on” Boo!”  gets to take out a treat.  But with the older kids, I ask them the name of the note and the number of beats it should get.  I have them pass on the whole note, the half note and the quarter note.  (Eighth notes go too fast.)  The child who is holding the pumpkin gets to choose the note value for the next round.  Obviously this is a game that would normally be played in October, but it’s favorites week.  :0)

The next big thing also came from the MusicK-8 list,and this time I know who posted it.  Nola Bruder posted a form lesson using “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson.  The piece is basically ABA, so around December we each crumpled one piece of paper into a ball.  We grabbed the reins in our sleighs and kept the steady beat by bouncing up and down.  We’d lean back to go up hills, forward to go down hills, to the right and left to go around corners.  When we came to the B section we got out of our sleighs and had a snowball fight.  (Rule: No throwing at the face…even a piece of paper can do damage if it hits someone in the eye.)  When the A section returned, we got back into the sleigh and retraced our route home, hills, turns and all.  Turns out this was a favorite activity…it’s been requested numerous times.  Thank you, Nola!

Next we did finger exercises to the Crazy Frog version of “Axel F.”  This was Tammy Mangusso’s idea…another K-8 listee.  Are you getting the idea that you might need to check out the MusicK-8 mailing list?  The address is:

You can take a look at the archives here:

Back to Crazy Frog….this activity was done in 3rd grade as finger warm ups for recorder playing.  The 5th graders still request it.  To the steady beat of “Axel F”:

index finger:  bend – point – bend – up.  Add fingers every few phrases until you are using all 4 fingers, (no thumb) to do the exercise.  Then go backward, subtracting fingers until you are using only one, which then does the same exercise double time.  Add and subtract fingers as before.  Next, put hands palms together.  Not including thumbs, bend one finger at a time, down, up, down up.  Then do all fingers together…no thumbs, which really don’t move a whole lot when you’re playing the recorder.  Lastly, put both hands in your lap.  Keep the steady beat with each finger, one at a time, without using the other fingers.  (No thumb.)  When you’ve gone through each finger use them all, keeping thumbs still in the lap.  You’ll figure out how to time all of this so that you end with the music.

“Presto Largo.”  This is a song from MusicK-8 magazine , vol. 15 #5.  I named two of my puppets Presto and Largo. One is a turtle and the other is a rabbit. (Can you guess which one is which?)  I originally taught the song to the students by having Presto and Largo perform it for them, as if they were having an argument and interrupting each other.  Largo likes to sing into individual faces and bite noses,  while Presto likes to dance on their heads.  (Gently, of course.)  Naturally the whole point of the song is to teach tempo.  They ask for it all year, and on favorites day, I say ok.

In other news, I actually did dig up the old Reading Rainbow video of “Mama Don’t Allow.”  We reviewed the song in first grade, adding in our own things that Mama won’t allow, and then I took the last 25 minutes to let them quietly watch the video.  (Ahhhh…the sound of quiet children.)  It’s actually a pretty good demonstration of ancient technology, (reel to reel tape,) as well as the effect that music can have on a film, sound effects and how to make them, and New Orléans Jazz.  When the book was introduced, they all had to tell me, “Hey!  That’s our book!  We read that!” If your library has it, take a look at it.

 Only 3 weeks to go here.  I know some of you are done already!  Have a great weekend!

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