The Week in a Nutshell: Friday September 16, Primaries

Actually, this is TWO weeks in a nutshell, since I never got to it last week. Life is crazy once again, just 3 weeks into the new school year. I’ll try to keep up.

First grade: Over the past two cycles we’ve kept the steady beat to Yankee Doodle. While we will continue to reinforce their understanding of “phrase”, we can easily begin to incorporate “steady beat.” I explain that a steady beat never speeds up or slows down…that’s why it’s called “steady.” I give them some examples of things that keep a steady beat: their heart, windshield wipers, a clock.

Draw 4 sets of straight lines, (doo’s ) on the board.





Simply have the students say the word “doo” every time, and only every time you point to one of the lines. Keep the steady beat as you point thorough the lines. The second time you go through the chart, have them give one clap every time they say “doo.” The third time, keep pointing, and have them “doo” and clap while you sing “Yankee Doodle.”

“Boys and girls, you are doing this so well, I’d like to see if you can clap the steady beat while YOU sing “Yankee Doodle.” Keep pointing to each beat as they sing and clap. It really helps. After practicing this several times, I bring out my book “Yankee Doodle,” to read and sing.

“Yankee Doodle” by MaryAnn Hoberman and Nadine Bernard Westcott.

Next we keep the steady beat to “Bo-wo-wones” by Jim Valley. Here is some repeat information on this popular song and activity:

“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.”

We read the first book in the So-Me series, published by MusicPlay: “So-Me Goes Missing.” I won’t continue the series until the second half of the year, because it deals more with pitch than rhythm and beat, but this particular book has beat/no beat sounds for the kids to identify. I always sing his name whether we’re talking about pitch or not, just to get the interval in their ears.

I’ve been making animations about Bach and showing them to all grades. Naturally the older kids are picking up more than the younger ones, but because their interest level is so high they are really remembering a lot, and look forward to each new video. These were made on, which was free for teachers up until last week. People who were already registered will remain free for the next two years, but for newcomers it is now a paid site. Mr. Bach in Music Class by Jane Rivera
Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate4Schools. It’s free and fun! Bach in the office by Jane Rivera
Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate4Schools. It’s free and fun! In Second Grade we spent the first lesson reviewing eighth notes, quarter notes and quarter rests. This week we read the rhythm for “I Have a Car” from Share the Music, grade 2, 1995 edition. All quarters, eighths and rests. Once they’ve read the rhythm on doos and doodays, first one line at a time, then all the way through, I guide them through reading the words in rhythm.

“I have a car, it’s made of tin.
Nobody knows what shape it’s in.
It has 4 wheels and a rumble seat.
Hear us chugging down the street.

Honk Honk, rattle rattle rattle crash, beep beep
Honk Honk, rattle rattle rattle crash, beep beep
Honk Honk, rattle rattle rattle crash, beep beep
Honk Honk. (rest rest rest rest rest rest rest .)”
Camp Song

The tune is the same as “I’m an Acorn” which can be found in the third grade volume of MusicPlay.

Later in the year I will use this as a mystery tune, but right now they don’t yet now the mi-re-do pattern, so I taught the melody to them by rote. We start slowly and speed up each time we repeat the song. I wonder why kids get such a kick out of that…..

We reviewed line notes and space notes by having them use their heads as the note head. If I say line note, they put both hands on the sides of their heads. If I say space note they put one hand on top of their head and one under their chin, so that their head is in the space. I try to fool them by randomly repeating line notes and space notes instead of alternating them.

Next I point to random notes on a 3 line staff and ask them to show me with their heads and hands which are line notes and which are space notes.

I put the example, “The Little Skunk”, on the board without the words. Since the half note is new, the first thing that we do is try to read the rhythm. 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.
We read the rhythm aloud, and then add clapping. (Clap-swing for the half note.)

I identify sol for them, making note that sol and mi are both space notes, and singing on the correct pitches: “sol is higher mi is lower” several times. La is the one that is different. It is a line note. We also sing, on the correct pitches: ” mi is lower, sol is higher, la is higher still.” For some reason it always astounds me when these little on read the melody correctly.

I teach the words by rote. Then we sing the song. :0)

I’m going to divide the nutshell into 2 posts. This one is the primaries. Stay tuned for the intermediates.

Comments and additional ideas and activities are always welcomed!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Week 3 Sequence of Lessons « Tuesday Music
  2. Trackback: Questions and Answers « Tuesday Music

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