I hope to review a number of things with 2nd grade in this lesson, as well as introduce the half note. We will be singing mi, sol and la, all review.
I begin with flash cards, or with a series of rhythmic patterns projected for the students to read. Since the first set of patterns is all review, I will skip reading them myself and having them echo back in favor of having them read the patterns aloud right away.
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As always, we read through, then read and clap, then just clap while reading the syllables silently. If I’m using flash cards, (and I usually do,) sometimes I’ll give them a 4 count, but on 4 remove the card so that they have to remember what it said. They actually do better that way, maybe because it forces them to read ahead.
Once we’ve reviewed quarters, eighths and quarter rests, it’s time to introduce half notes. I show them one example, making note that the half note is not colored in. Instead of saying “doo” for the half note, we give it the amount of time that it would take to say 2 of them: doo-oo.
Next I say for them the examples that I show them, and have them echo them back to me. For example, the first one would be “doo-oo, doo-oo.”
After they have echoed all of the examples back to me, I have them try to read them on their own.
Following that, we read aloud and clap the rhythms. A half note is clap-swing clasped hands.
I put the example on the board without the words. Since the half note is new, the first thing that we do is try to read the rhythm. We read the rhythm aloud, and then add clapping.
We review line and space notes. They have been used to making a space note out of their head by placing one hand on top and the other under their chin. Similarly, they make a line note by placing one hand on either side of their head. As I point to line and space notes on the board, they show me by their hand position to which one they think I’m pointing. We then review do, re and mi with Curwen hand signals. I mix the signals randomly and they sing whichever one I show.
Finally, I identify do for them, and give them several opportunities to read the melody from the staff.
“Now,” I tell them, “it becomes really complex, because you have to read rhythms and tones at the same time. Can you sing the melody using the rhythm patterns that are notated here?” (I’m going to use the word “notated”, as opposed to “written” because it will expand their vocabulary.) We usually do this at least twice.
Finally, I have been used to teaching them the words by rote. However, last year I discovered that, if I write the words under the notation, they are absolutely capable of reading them, using the correct melody and rhythm, as long as they have had enough practice and you don’t try to go too fast.
They get a huge kick out of “I’ll stink up your head.”
Thanks for reading!