Happy New Year Friends.
Today was the first day back to school in our district. I know that some of you were back already on Monday. I rolled in a little after 8:00, with my first class starting at 9:35. Even with almost an hour and a half to pull myself and my materials together, it was a mad dash.
First thing I did was sit down and look at the plans I’d jotted down before I left on December 23rd. I went and ran of copies of “Ode to the Treble Clef” from Music K-8 vol.18 #3 for third grade, and “A Perfect Winter Day” from Music K-8 vol.7 #2 for fifth grade. Fourth grade worked on “Sir Duke” from Share the Music, Grade 4. Disc 1 has a recording in an appropriate key for kids.
I always like to come back and get them singing right away.
Third Grade will begin recorder at the end of January, so I try to prepare them for note reading ahead of time. “Ode to the Treble Clef” is a fun 50’s style song with lots of information about the staff, lines and spaces, the treble clef, and note names. We learn the song first, and then go over the terminology that it contains. Along with the song I give each of them a sheet of staff paper.
After learning the song, we take the first staff on our paper and label it: staff. This way they’ll know what I’m talking about whenever I refer to it, and I don’t have to keep defining it as we go along. Next, we number the lines from bottom to top, so we’re all clear on which line I mean when I say “line
Today we only got as far as drawing and labeling a treble clef. I have them fill a staff with treble clefs once they’ve learned how to draw the first one. As they label it “treble” I play notes above middle C and explain that the word means “high pitched.”. “Since your recorders are high pitched instruments, we’ll be using the treble clef”. We label another of their practice clefs “G clef”. When we draw the clef, we put a dot on the second line to begin, then circle around the line before drawing the vertical loop. “the notes on the staff are named by letters of the alphabet: ABCDEFG, then we start again at A. Since we are drawing a ‘G clef’ guess what the name of the note on the second line is”? Seems obvious to me, but I usually have to tell them the answer.
Next week we’ll review the song and move on to the names of the lines and spaces. FYI, everything we’re learning about here is in that song!
Eventually I will work “Sir Duke” into a series of lessons on jazz. For today we followed the lyrics and listened to Stevie Wonder perform it. I taught the song by rote, (it’s always a hit), and then went over the meanings of phrases and vocabulary as well as the full names and instruments of the people mentioned in the song. (There are pictures of Count Basie, Glenn Miller, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington right on the same pages as the song. Five jazz lessons right there).
“Just because a record has a groove don’t make it the groove” contains a mini lesson on what a record is and how it works, as well as slang terms such as “in the groove” and “groovy”. I love the answers I get when I ask them what a record is.
“One of those big cd’s that you put on this thing that goes round and round with that long thing that you put down on it”, complete with gestures to show me what the thing that goes round and round looks like. Makes me smile. :0). I showed them a record, observed the grooves, and explained the difference between a record/record player and a cd/cd player. (The record player uses a needle to read analog information. The cd player uses a laser to read digital information).
Next week I’ll pull out an old record player and play a record(ing) for them. We’ll sing the song again, then let it sit for a few weeks, bringing it back just in time for Black History Month.
My learning target for 5th grade today was to sing in two parts. “A Perfect Winter Day” is a partner song which I describe to them as a small argument between two kids, one of whom likes winter,and the other who definitely does not. We always listen to the whole song before beginning to learn it. The whole class learns both parts. When it comes time to sing the whole thing, I divide the class in half and have them sit so that they are not facing one another. We sing the song twice, switching off who will sing part one and part two.
For all classes we will begin listening to and learning about Haydn. At the beginning of these lessons we had a brief review of facts about Tchaikovsky and identifying his music. Next week we will have a written assessment, which I will post as soon as I make it up. At the end of class we listened to “The Surprise Symphony”, listening, of course, for the surprise. The surprise for me was how many of them had never heard it before.
I started my Haydn animation on goanimate4schools this afternoon. Stay tuned. :0)