February 28-March 2, The Week in a Nutshell, Primary

Grade 1

Last week first grade was introduced to “La”.  We reviewed sol- mi by singing our standard ” sol is higher, mi is lower” on the appropriate pitches, and reading “So-Me” story #5, “So-Me Meets the Boss”.  (So-Me books are available from MusicPlay.)  As always, I sing the pitches whenever “So-Me’s” name is mentioned. Then I told them, ” You know, So-Me has a big brother.  His name is “La-Me”.  Before we read about him, though, we have to learn how to sing his name.”.

Showing the respective hand signals, we sang: “Mi is lower, sol is higher, la is higher still”.   Once we had practiced singing the tones accompanied by the hand signals, I had them read hand signs to sing “Rain Rain, Go Away”.

S M SS M SS SL SS  M.   Rain rain, go away, Come again some other day.

Then we went on to the second So-Me story  of the day, “So-Me at the Pole”, which introduces his bigger, taller, (higher pitched) brother, “La-Me”. These are very simple stories which give me the opportunity to sing the intervals  sol mi and la mi over and over again so that they begin to get into the students’ ears, and the kids really love them.

In my intermediate post I mentioned making a list of songs that I will teach during the month of March.  First on my primary list is “Mind Your Manners” from Music K-8 vol. 13 #5.    Just as the older students are starting to get rammy, the younger students are more so.  A “good manners” song offers opportunities to discuss/revisit the concepts of respect and treating other people the way you want to be treated yourself.  (The song quotes the Golden Rule).  It’s short, easy to learn and catchy.

Finally, I began Peter and the Wolf this week.  I save it for this time of year because, even though the 1st and 2nd graders won’t be taking our state achievement tests in a few weeks, all special area classes are required to have quiet activities so that there are no distracting sounds in the building while the older students are testing.    By starting PATW now, I will be in position to show them the video at testing time: a quiet activity for a normally noisy music class.

I have 2 Peter and the Wolf books to use.  One of them comes with a cd, but I like the other book better for my purposes so I use the cd from one book, but actually use the other to show to the students.

I also have a beautiful set of photographic  instrument  cards that I use to show the kids which instruments are telling the story.

We go through the pictures first, and I explain that whenever they hear specific instruments they should be looking for a specific character.  For example, any time they hear a flute they know that the bird is around.  If they hear the flute and oboe together, they can be sure that something is going on with the bird and the duck.  Since we’ve talked about instruments several times now, with Orchestranimals, Carnival if the Animals and Remarkable Farkle McBride, they’re starting to get better at identifying the instruments by sight.

As we listen to the story and look at the picture frames, I call out which theme/instrument they are hearing.  When Peter and the bird are together, for example, we say right out loud, “Peter”,  “Bird”, “Peter”,  “Bird”, as each one is played.

I’m always amazed at how well this book/recording keeps their attention.

Grade 2

We’re continuing to work with our new note, re, in second grade.  This week we read mi re do notation for “Dem Bones.”

Dem Bones

Once they learned the melody, (the rhythm is pretty simple and hardly needs a separate read through),  I teach the words by rote, and then add, going up chromatically:

The toe bone connected to the  Z foot bone

The foot bone connected to the  Z leg bone

The leg bone connected to the  Z knee bone

The knee bone connected to the  Z  thigh bone

The thigh bone connected to the  Z back bone

The back bone connected to the  Z neck bone

The neck bone connected to the  Z head bone

Now hear the word of the Lord.


(I write this on the board:  Toe bone —–> foot bone

Foot bone —-> knee bone  etc.

Dem bones, dem bones gonna  walk around

Dem bones, dem bones gonna  walk around

Dem bones, dem bones gonna  walk around

Now hear the word of the Lord.

Then we go backwards down the list, and repeat the first chorus one more time.

Next week we will review the song by reading this book, and adding instruments in the rests.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Karen Leask
    Mar 06, 2012 @ 22:37:55

    I wanted to do Rain, Rain Go Away this week for the rhythm pattern as well as the s, m, l pattern…BUT it’s been snowing like crazy! So I changed the words to:

    Snow, snow go away; Spring is coming soon to stay!
    Works pretty well, except I caught myself singing the Rain lyrics a couple of times!



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