2nd Grade, Lesson 1, Music Literacy Review.

My second graders are coming back with quarter notes, eighth notes, quarter rests, mi, so and la, and repeat marks already under their belts. As we review some of their favorite activities from last year I’ll be sure to explain what we are doing to any new students who have arrived over the summer. As far as warm ups for them are concerned, I tell newbies that all they need to do is listen until they catch on. It won’t take long….we sing them at the beginning of every class.

For primary warm ups, please refer to https://tuesdaymusic.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/vocal-warm-ups/

First off we’ll practice keeping the steady beat . With students out of their seats and spread out around the  room,I ask them to copy whatever I do, keeping my steady beat as their own.   Using at least 4 beats at a time, sometimes 8 to 16, depending upon how well the kids are doing with it, we tap feet, nod heads up and down, shake heads back and forth, rock from one hip to the other, bend knees, move elbows up and down, knock knees together, clap with 2 fingers, touch our noses, stick tongues in and out, wave arms back and forth in the air, strum air guitar, jump up and down, (hard for them to stay with the beat), do the twist, shoulders up and down, eyebrows up and down, and anything else we can think of. Then we set it to music. “Bo-wo-wones” by Jim Valley is well worth the .99 you’ll spend for it on iTunes. (Remember that iTunes card I told you would come in handy? They’ll send you an email receipt for every piece of music you buy….keep it for tax purposes.) Put the song on, have the kids copy you, and let the steady beat motions rip. He tells you what to do on many of the verses motion wise, and you’ll easily figure out what to do on the rest.

An organizational aside….

I run all of my music from my computer. I got myself a Bose speaker and connect it directly to my computer. I load everything that I’m using into iTunes, whether I bought it from them or am taking it from a cd. Then I make playlists labeled by month. Every time I use something during September, I put it in the playlist labeled “Sept.” This comes in REALLY handy for subs too…all you have to do is burn a playlist to cd and they have all of the music you’ve been using.

Once we’re all Bo-wo-woned out, I seat the kids on the floor in front of my chair. (And just let me say that it is a comfy chair, complete with cozy throw, since our building is air-conditioned to the point of refrigeration.) From steady beat we move to reading quarter notes and rests. Remember, this is all review for them.

Up and Down, ‘Round the Town” is sung to the tune of “Sur le Pont d’Avignon”.

D D D rest, R R R rest

M F S D T1 D R S1

D D D rest, R R R rest

M F S D R  T1 D rest

We use the Gordon syllables in our district, so I would have the kids read aloud, saying,

Doo Doo Doo   (sh)   Doo Doo Doo   (sh)

Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo

Doo Doo Doo   (sh)   Doo Doo Doo   (sh)

Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo   (sh)

You may have the kids using ta’s instead.  As soon as possible I try to have them eliminate the “sh”, either pulling their hands apart in silence, or putting a hand over their mouth, since a rest is supposed to be silent.

Since this is a review, we sing the melody using the rhythm syllables, and then finally add the words.

There is a game that goes with this little song.  I tell the students to pretend that they are in our town on a Saturday…maybe they go to the library, the supermarket, the gas station….but everywhere they go, they keep running into people from our class.  By this time they know what a greeting is, so I have them silently greet the person next to them.  They could shake hands, smile, wave, bow or gently hug.  The game is to sing and walk around “town” (the music room), greeting each other in any way that is not rough and does not prevent them from singing.  The rules are  that they must keep singing, no running, no rough stuff, and no going where they cannot be seen. (Behind the piano, under chairs etc.  Believe me, this  needs to spelled out.)  At the end of the song they must freeze, and listen for further directions from me:

“Gentlemen, take a bow.”

DD D                 D   D  R-D

“Ladies, take a curtsie.”

DD D                 D   D  R-D

(You might have to teach them what a curtsie is.)

We then do our best singing, and start again.  Other directions for them to follow after the freeze could include touch your toes, reach for the ceiling, turn in a circle, flap your wings, clap your hands, snap your fingers, stand on one foot, hope up and down, etc.  The final directions are:

“Gentlemen, sit down on the rug.”

DD D                 D   D  R-D

“Ladies, sit down on the rug.”

DD D                 D   D  R-D

Next review: echo clapping patterns of eighth and quarter notes using the syllables “doo” for quarter notes, and “doo day” for eighth notes; of perhaps, in your case, ta and titi.

The next review song and rhythm patterns will be “BINGO.”  I have put the words with the rhythm for clarity sake, but for the kids I would not show them the words, but see if they can figure out what this familiar song is by saying and clapping the rhythm,  and then by clapping the rhythm with their hands while saying the rhythm silently in their heads.

Once they’ve figured it out, we sing the song as they know it, inserting claps for each letter that we leave out.  * I N G O, **NGO, ***GO etc.  Following this, I spell a student name with 5 letters and see if they can figure out who it is.  (They always do.)  We then sing, “Once a teacher had a kid and Kelly was her name-0.   K-E-L-L-Y,  K-E-L-L-Y,  K-E-L-L-Y and Kelly was her name-o.”  However many kids you may have with 5 letters in their name, they’ll pretty much keep singing until you ht them all.

This is usually enough rhythm review to get them back into the swing of things before we start adding mi, sol and la next week.

I just want to mention that this is not an entire lesson.  They need to practice singing songs that they enjoy, using proper vocal technique and they need to listen to many different styles of music.  They need to play instruments, pitched and unpitched. They need to move creatively as well as in a structured way, as we have done in this lesson.   Fitting all of that in is a  challenge.  I would guess that this might about 1/4 to 1/3 of my time with them.  I’m wanting to get my first literacy portions of the lessons blogged, but there’s more to come.  Next up will be 3rd grade’s literacy review.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carol
    Jul 27, 2011 @ 18:20:37

    I love this site! Today I found out I will be on a cart (again) this year. I am inspired today by your ideas! Thanks so much!


    • Write Every Day
      Jul 27, 2011 @ 18:29:52

      Thank you so much, Carol! I’m so pleased that you like the blog! I know being on a cart creates a boatload of challenges that having a room eliminates. Doesn’t sound like it’s anything new to you, though. My first 10 years I was on a cart. Since then it’s been back and forth, room – cart – room – cart. I have to say, I like having my own room better, but the advantage of going to them is that you get to see them in their usual environment and get a good handle on what they’re doing in other curriular areas. Yoiu cn get a lot of creative ideas form being in their rooms.

      Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment!


  2. Trackback: The Week in a Nutshell: Friday, Sept. 2, 2011 « Tuesday Music
  3. Trackback: Here We Go Again « Tuesday Music
  4. Stephanie Jones
    Apr 20, 2013 @ 09:36:41

    I just found your blog. I LOVE your ideas & the “Bo-wo-wones” song is fantastic!


  5. izbthbesser@yahoo.com
    Sep 03, 2013 @ 17:46:31

    I just found your blog. Love your ideas and can’t wait to share them with my music
    students! I have been looking for a new fun movement song for the kids. ” Bo-wo-wones” is perfect!! Thanks


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