It’s 3 P.M. On Saturday and I’m finally getting a few moments to sit down and journal last week’s lessons. I’ve been waiting all day to get to this, but I made myself wait until I had accomplished a few things. The week was filled with more parent teacher conferences and rehearsals, my house is in its usual state, (wrecked), and I could just sit and write all day, but I’d never get anything else done. But I digress. Let’s see….what did we do this week?
In First grade we reviewed “Over the River and Through the Wood”. Then I showed them a chart with the rhythm notation for BINGO, and had them read it without telling them what it was.
( TT = eighth notes, l = quarter notes).
TT TT TT TT
TT TT l l
l l TT l
l l TT l
l l TT TT
TT TT l l
We spoke it on doo’s and dooday’s, spoke it and clapped it, and then I sang it for them using the rhythm syllables instead of the words. (Melodic recognition). They recognized it somewhere in the second phrase. We then sang it all together using the rhythm syllables before adding the familiar words and clapping sequences. I add on a little twist….I tell them that the farmer had a duck whose name is D-A-F-F-Y. They decode the spelling pretty quickly and we sing the verse. He also had a pig named P-O-R-K-Y, a cat named T-A-B-B-Y, and a snake named H-I-S-S-Y. finally, I tell them that once a teacher had a kid, and his name was T-Y-L-E-R, (or Molly, or Jacob or any other 5 letter name of a student in the class). Once I tell them that the trick is to use a name with 5 letters they all start counting on their fingers, and then, of course, we must do every student in the room whose name has 5 letters. (But that’s ok).
This week I finished up the lesson by reading “The First Thanksgiving” and then teaching them a cute little song by the same name about pilgrims and Indians sharing the first Thanksgiving feast. Yes, the song is definitely dated…using the word Indians instead of Native Americans. It’s not so old though, that it’s public domain, which means that I can’t share the lyrics or melody, but the concept would work with any “first Thanksgiving” song. I did quick search for first thanksgiving songs and found this website:
The materials are not free, but it could be worth taking a look.
In 2nd grade we continued our study of form. We began by singing the beloved “Turkey Tango” and reviewing all of its A and B sections. To extend this concept I asked them to take out a pencil and turn their paper to the back, held width wise. I drew my own “paper” on the board, and in the upper left corner I wrote “Intro”, and explained that it was an abbreviation for “Introduction”…. The music that tells you the song is beginning, but is not yet “A”. Next to that I wrote “A”, because that’s what we always call the first melody or theme in a piece of music. Using the old Billy Joel song, “Uptown Girl” I play only the introduction (and tell them that’s what it is), and first “A”, then stop the recording and ask them if they think they can remember what “A” sounds like in this song. (It’s really easy, because it always starts with the words “Uptown Girl”). I ask them to raise their hands every time they hear it, then I play the entire song. Each time they indicate that they hear “A” I write the letter on the board, leaving spaces where “B” and “C” fit in. So far, it looks like this:
IntroAA A A A ACoda
The last “A” is the coda, and not the full theme. I ask them what they think it means when they hear the same phrase repeating over and over again. Sometimes they know right away that it means the song is ending….sometimes not. Once we’ve established that it usually signals the end of the piece, we can put a name to it: Coda. So now we have a beginning, (the Intro), the main body of the song, and the ending, (or Coda).
“We already know that the first thing we hear that doesn’t sound like “A” will be called “B”. But here’s the problem”, I tell them. “This song also has a “C” melody.”.
The beauty of this song is that, like “The Turkey Tango”, all of the melodies are easily distinguishable. I have them raise their hands when they hear the tune switch to “B”, and write it in after “AA”. When “C” comes along they usually have a pretty easy time recognizing that it isn’t “B”, because there are no words….just “Ohhhhhhhhhh”. I’m adding letters as they identify each part of the song, and they are doing the same on their papers. The final diagram winds up looking like this:
The last piece of this little exercise is to add some movement, so we putour pencils and papers away and stand up. We come up with a different dance or motion for each section. When they hear a change from “A” to “B” or “C”, they must switch to the corresponding movement.
We used that little “stir the pot with both hands” motion, the Monkey, and disco ala John Travolta for our 3 motions.
There’s the basic primary stuff from last week. Intermediates coming up.
Thanks so much for reading!