The Week in a Nutshell, October 7, 2011, Primaries

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

First and second grades both “orchestrated” The Little Old Woman Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, by Linda Williams.  ISBN 0-06-443183-5.   As you go through the story, sound effects are needed for 2 shoes clomping, a pair of pants wiggling, s shirt going shake shake shake,  a pair of gloves clapping and a black hat nodding.  I use drums for the shoes, tambourines for the pants, maracas for the shirt, woodblocks for the gloves and triangles for the hat.  I explain what an orchestra is to the students, that they sit in sections and that the conductor is in charge.  They may only play when the conductor cues them, must keep playing until the conductor signals them to stop, and stop immediately when the signal is given.  As each group of instruments is added their smiles get bigger, then the giggles start…they thoroughly enjoy this activity and get a sense of how an orchestra and conductor operate.

Music literacy in grade 1:  We reviewed “Up and Down, ‘Round the Town” from last week, to read quarter notes and quarter rests.

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.

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 we move on to “The Sleeping Princess”, which is also practice in reading quarter notes and rests.  (Z’s = rests.)

I  I  I  I  I  I  I Z

Oh once there was a princess

I  I  I  Z  I  I  I  Z

A princess,   A princess

I  I  I  I  I  I  I  Z

Oh once there was a princess

Z  I  Z  I  Z  I  Z  Z

Long  a   go.


S L S F R D M (Z)

M R F (Z)  F M S (Z)

S L S F R D M (ZZ)

S (Z) S (Z) D (ZZ)

There are a million verses to this song, so before I type them all out let me just tell you that once we have learned the song, which is the story of Sleeping Beauty, we form a circle and dramatize it.  The circle is the castle.  Inside the circle is the Princess, complete with pink wig.  Outside the circle are the Witch, with her black witch’s hat, and the Prince, with his glasses, nose and mustache.  (You know what I mean…those glasses you can buy with the nose, eyebrows and mustache attached.  They make you look like Groucho Marx.)  Crouching down around the perimeter of the circle are 3 or 4 students holding plastic or silk foliage.  Here’s how it goes:

When we sing the first verse the princess pretends to primp her hair and smooth her dress.

Verse 2:  She lived up in a castle, a castle, a castle, she lived up in a castle, long ago.  (Princess walks around the inside of the castle.)

Verse 3:  A witch came to the castle.  (Witch walks around outside of circle.)

Verse 4 :  She came to see the Princess.  (Witch enters the circle and she and the Princess pretend to have a conversation.)

Verse 5:  She cast a spell upon her.  (Witch waves hands at Princess in spell making gesture.)

Verse 6.  The Princess grew so sleepy.  (Princess yawns and stretches, which becomes part of the castle.)

Verse 7:  A hundred years she slept there.  (Princess lays down and goes to sleep.)

Verse 8:  the castle grew so quiet.  (Sung pp)

Verse 9:  The bushes grew around it.  (Students crouched with foliage stand up tall and hold foliage over their heads.)

Verse 10:    One day a Prince came riding.  (Priince gallops around outside of circle.)

Verse 11:  He chopped down all the bushes.  (Gentle karate chops, bushes fall down.)

Verse 12:  He gently woke the Princess.  (Enters circle and shakes the Princess.)

This can be done with no costumes at all and is just as much fun.  The kids ask for this activity all year.

The Second Graders have already begun learning the music for their holiday program, “December in Our Town.”  This program was originally meant for older students, but I simply eliminate the parts that are too difficult for second graders.  There are songs for many December holidays:  Christmas Sacred, Christmas Secular, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Las Posadas.


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