Friday, October 28, 2011…The Week in a Nutshell, Primary

Hi Friends,

This post is late due to circumstances beyond my control. Over the weekend we had a late October snowstorm that delivered about 10 inches of snow, weighed down and broke hundreds of trees, and took out the electrical power for 3 days. (Some people are still without power.) I had no internet connectivity. But now….I’m baaaaaaaaack. :0)

Each week I’m kinda surprised at how much I actually got done. During the week I’m finding that I just don’t have time to get through everything I’d planned, but when I sit down to write it all out at the end of the week I find that there’s more there than I expected.

Grade 1:
Last week I introduced eighth notes using a leader and echo chart to teach the rhythm of “Are You Sleeping.”
(Here’s a quick recap of last week’s lesson.)

Are You Sleeping

I show them what eighth notes look like before we begin the reading/echoing. (Feierabend advocates echoing before doing anything else, because just as children learn to talk before they can read, we learn to hear rhythms and associate them with their symbols by hearing and seeing someone else perform them.) Following that, I make sure that they understand what an echo does….it repeats the original sound exactly. I explain that my part is to the left, but when we cross over the line, they take over by echoing exactly what they heard. I point to every symbol…quarters, rests and eighths. After reading, we read and clap. Then I sing the melody on the rhythm syllables, and they echo back…still pointing all the while. All that’s left to do until next time is to add the words. Next time, after reviewing, I’ll ask them to be the leader so I can be the echo. Since the melody is the same, I paint 2 little face on my thumbs and sing “Where is Thumbkin” with them….at this early stage of first grade, I can still get away with it. :0)

Are You Sleeping

This week we reviewed the leader/echo chart, and then I showed the kids some flash cards. The first time through I always have them echo after me as I read each card to them. I used no rests….just doo’s and dooday’s.

Next I showed them a chart for “Clap Clap Clap Your Hands”….which just happens to have the same tune as “Old Joe Clark.”. ( l= quarter note, TT= eighth notes.)

l l TT l Clap, clap clapyour hands

TT TT l l Clapyourhandsto geth er

l l TT l Clap, Clap clapyour hands

TT TT l l Clapyourhandsto geth er

I have them echo the rhythm back to me as we read the doos and doodays from the chart, first just reading the syllables, then reading and clapping. Then I have them read/clap it by themselves.

Next I teach them the tune, which is the refrain of “Old Joe Clark.”

( d, d, s1 f m, dd rd s s, d, d, s1 f m, mm rr d d)

Once we have the tune and the words down, we sing it through several times as we clap the rhythm. I then ask if what we have been clapping is the steady beat. They don’t always know what it is, but they almost always know what it isn’t: the steady beat.

So, I ask them to patch a steady beat in their laps for me while I sing the verse on la la la. Once they know the tune, ( again, it doesn’t take long,) we just sing the song over and over, clapping the rhythm on the refrain and the steady beat on the verse.
(verse: s l te la s f m,
s l te l s
s l te l s f m
m
m r r d).

Then, seeing as all of the Halloween parties were this afternoon, I read them “Barn Dance” and then showed them the Reading Rainbow video, which features blue grass music, clogging, fiddle making, and, of course, a barn dance. Good information and a nice calm time before all Halloween broke loose.

Barn Dance

Grade 2

In second grade we’re continuing to concentrate on new tone ” do”, but we also reviewed mi, sol la a bit as well.

As we did last week, the kids showed me the hand signals for do mi sol mi do as we sang it during our warm up time. We worked on being able to tell which was the low tone, which was the middle tone, and which was the high tone. I hummed a pitch and had them show me with hand signals which one they thought it was. They’re starting to get it. We also practiced singing only one note of the do mi sol mi do warm up. “Sing only sol out loud. Show the hand signs, and sing everything else in your head.” We did each note several times. This will come in handy, because the song that I charted for them this week starts on mi, and I want them to begin figuring out how to hear a beginning note that is not do. Next we transferred to the low, medium and high line of a 3 line staff, noting that the bottom (low) line is for do, the middle (medium) line is for mi and the top (high) line is for sol. We read it without the rhythm first, then add the rhythm.

Here’s how the song actually goes:

Mi Sol Do

But this is all the kids ever see. I teach “Swinging” and “Round we go” by rote.

Once they can sing the whole thing, they stand and face a partner. “Mi” is a patsch on their lap, “sol” is clap their own hands once, “do” is two fists, hands at sides. “Swinging, swinging to and fro” take partner’s hands and swing from side to side. (Gently….always tell them, gently.) Mi sol do as the first time. “Round and round and round we go”, take partners hands and walk in a circle. (Slowly…always tell them slowly.) We do the dance several times. If they’re a particularly mature group I might start slowly and speed up each time.

Time to switch to mi sol la.

Have the kids sit down on the floor in a circle. Review the sound of mi sol la with them. The brief melody they will learn using hand signals is
mi sol la.
mi sol la.
mi sol la sol la sol mi.

(All quarter notes.)

The words are
“Still she sat.
Still she sewed.
Still she wished for company.”

Then I light several of my LED candles, put them in the center of the circle and tell them a story. Each time that refrain is used in the story I signal them and they sing it.

Once upon a time there was an old, old woman, who lived all by herself, deep in the forest. She was very lonely.
(refrain.)
One night the old woman was sitting in her chair, rocking back and forth, back and forth.(Rock back and forth as you say it.) She was working on some sewing. (While rocking back and forth say “stitch, stitch stitch stitch.)
Suddenly, the door opened. (Make a creaking sound with your voice.) In came a pair of BIG BIG FEET. (deep voice.) The old woman stared at the feet, and thought to herself, “That’s really strange!” But……(refrain.)
Pretty soon the old woman went back to what she was doing, rocking back and forth back and forth, stitch, stitch, stitch, stitch. (You know the drill.) Suddenly, the door opened. (creak.) In came a pair of small small legs (high voice) and set themselves right on top of the BIG BIG FEET. (low voice.) The old woman looked, and thought, that is REALLY strange. But…(refrain.)
Finally she went back to what she was doing, rocking back and forth, stitch stitch, when suddenly, the door opened. (creak). In came a wee wee waist, (squeaky voice) and set itself right on top if the small small legs and the BIG BIG FEET. The old woman looked and thought to herself, “This is getting stranger and stranger!” But….(refrain). Finally she went back to what she was doing. (rock stitch.) When suddenly, the door opened. (creak.) In came a pair of broad, broad shoulders, (loud voice) and set themselves right on top of the wee wee waist on the small small legs on the BIG BIG FEET. The old woman was starting to get nervous, but (refrain.) She went back to what she was doing. (Rock, stitch.) Suddenly, the door opened. (creak). In came a pair of loooong long arms, and attacdhed themselves to the braod braod shoulders on the wee wee waist on the small small legs on the BIG BIG feet. The old woman looked fearfully at the creature that was assembling itself before her very eyes, but (refrain.) this time, when she went back to what she was doing, she rocked and stitched a bit faster. (rock, stitich…quicker tempo.) Suddenly, the door opened, (creak) and in came a pair of huge, huge hands, and attached themselves to the long long arms on the broad broad shoulders on the wee wee waist on the small small legs on the BIG BIG feet. The old woman had a sudden thought: “If I just wait here,” she thought, ” pretty soon, I will have company!” So, (refrain.) She went back to what she was doing. (rock stitch.) Sure enough, the door opened, and in rolled a gigantic head! It used the huge hands and the long arms to place itself on top of the broad broad shoulders on the wee wee waist on the small small legs on the BIG BIG feet.

The old woman leaned forward. (Lean in – the kids will probably do the same.) “Where did you get those big, big feet?”
“Walking through the forest” a voice answered.
“And where did you get those small, small legs?”
“Running through the forest” a voice answered.
“And where did you get that wee, wee waist?”
“Turning to look behind me” a voice answered.
“Well, where did you get those broad, broad shoulders?”
“Carrying broomsticks” a voice answered.
“Well, where did you get those long, long arms?”
“Chopping wood” a voice answered.
“And where did you get those huge, huge hands?”
“By much work” a vice answered.
“Well, where did you get that huge, huge head?”
“From a pumpkin, I made it” a voice answered.

Then the old woman leaned even closer. (Whisper.) “What did you come here for?”

(Yell.) “YOU!”

In the intermediate activities I’ll give another use for those great LED candles.

:0)

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