April 18-23, 2012, The Week in a Nutshell


I’m back to teaching on my own.  Ms. Weber has gone of to graduate and become a certified Music Educator.  She did an excellent job.

Grade 3

3rd grade was easy in terms of planning.  We just continued with BAGE recorder pieces.

Grade 4

In 4th grade we did a folder review.  I had the students take from their folders whatever was on top when they opened it up.  I asked them to think about our purpose in studying whatever they pulled out.

The first song in every class was “Boll Weevil”, and I was pleased to find that they remembered the learning target for the song: understanding and performing accents.

Once the students realized what I was about they conveniently rearranged their folders so that whatever they wanted to review just happened to be on top.  That’s ok, though.  I’m glad that there are things they enjoyed enough to want to review them.

So, we went through:

Test Me – objectives: good singing , enjoyment of singing and encouragement for them to do their best on their state exams.  The song gives lots of tips for successful test taking.  MusicK-8.

One Nation – Objectives: good singing technique, commemoration of 9/11.  Music K-8

Sir Duke – Objectives: Introduction of Jazz and some of its greatest performers.  We also used this song to launch a mini unit on old technology.  (“Just because a record has a groove don’t make it in the groove”).  We took the time to examine records and find out how a record player was used.  Share the Music

I Should Have Known Better – Objective: sing a fun song with an important message  regarding peer pressure, tobacco and other choices that will need to be made as students mature.  Music K-8

Grade 5

Last week the 5th graders learned MK8’s “What Shall We Do With a Water Waster”, and altered version of “What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor.”  The original learning target was to be able to identify and perform harmony.

This week we practiced the song again in 2 parts, and then I called the students to the rug so that I could read them “Roger the Jolly Pirate”, which just happens to include the song, “What Shall We Do With Our Jolly Roger”  Before reading and singing the story to them I explained the origins of the song, including the title and the purpose of Sea Shantys.  (They were work songs, designed to relieve the drudgery of hard labor, and to provide a steady beat by which that labor could be coordinated).  I sang them one original verse and chorus, with a disclaimer that “we are not going to be singing about drunken sailors”.  Then we began the book, which has plenty of places to insert verses about Roger the Jolly Pirate and the things that he did that got him a flag named after him.  After each verse the students joined in the chorus, which is the same as the  original song:

“Way hey, and up she rises,way hey and up she rises, way hey and up she rises earlye in the mornin'”.

Roger the Jolly Pirate

For quiet listening in both 4th and 5th grades I used “Cathedrals” from Animusic 2.  Ms. Weber had begun using the Animusic dvds last week, and this particular one includes “instruments” from every family.  I quickly reviewed the families of instruments , their characteristics and how they are played, and asked the students to draw as many facets of the room as they could and label each part Brass, Woodwind, String or Percussion.

I haven’t used these dvds in several years, and I’d forgotten how fascinated students are by them.  I let them watch most of the piece, then froze the video on a frame that showed just about the entire instrument “room”.  I started pointing to various instruments and asked people who had drawn them to volunteer what label they’d given.

At this point in their education I pretty much expect them to be able to identify and categorize the various instruments, and so they did.  I’ll have to choose a different “Animusic” piece for sometime in the near future.  They really enjoyed it.  The link below will show you the video…just not the HD version that you can get from the dvd.


Grade 1

In 1st grade we read our final “So-Me” story: “So-Me and His Secret”.  There are actually 3 more “So-Me” books, but I don’t use them because they introduce ta’s and ti ti’s .  Our curriculum no longer uses the Kodaly terminology.    When we switched to “Conversational Solfege” a few years ago we adopted the Gordon Syllables: du and du day.  I don’t want to confuse the kids so I just stop at Book 9.  It offers some great ear training opportunities.  “S0-Me”, “La-Me” and “La-So-Me” can all locate each other on a crowded playground by simply whistling each others names.  I stop the story for  a game of “Who’s This?”  I whistle, they identify the character.

I’ll say again, the kids really love these little books.  There seems to be a lot in them that very young students can relate to.

Next we moved on to our charted song for the week: “What Shall We Do When We All Go Out”.

(Letters close together are 8th notes, stand alones are quarters, Z=rest).

(Student tones)     S SL S SL S S M Z     What shall we do when we all go out Z

(Teacher tones)    F F R Z S S M Z          All go out Z All go out

(Student tones)    S SL S SL S S M Z      What shall we do when we all go out  Z

(Teacher tones)    F R D T D Z Z Z          All go out to play Z Z Z

This can be notated on the board using rhythm stems and  letters, or on a staff.  I always have them read the rhythm first, the tones second, rhythm and tones together third, and finally add the words.  Once they know the song we basically play charades.  While the class is singing the song, one student comes to the front and acts out an activity that they would participate in outside.  When the song is done the actor chooses classmates to guess what they were doing.  We get swinging, bike riding, swimming, baseball, basket ball, trampolines, pogo sticks, hopscotch….the possibilities are endless.  Kids are so easy to please…they love this simple little game.

In preparation for a year end showing of “The Marvelous Musical Mansion” I taught the students “My Hat, It Has Three Corners” with gestures and played the “leave out a word” game, where the gesture takes the place of the word.  “Marvelous Musical Mansion” is a “Wee Sing” production, and includes numerous traditional children’s songs such as “My Hat”, “My Aunt Came Back”, “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain” and “When the Saints Go Marching In”.  I’m teaching them ahead of time, and when we watch the video we’ll be able to sing along.  It’s a fun and engaging video.  Here is a list of songs that are included on this 71 minute video:

  My Aunt Came Back
She’ll Be Comin’ Round The Mountain
How Do You Do?
Three Corners
The Orchestra Game Song
The Ballerina’s Waltz
The Doodle-Det Quintet!
The Marching Song
Vive La Compagnie
The Melody Song
The Magic Of Music
Hickory, Dickory Dock
Round The Clock
Oh Where, Oh Where?
Clap Your Hands
Reuben and Rachel
Hey Diddle Diddle
Oh Where, Oh Where?
The Magic of Music
Oh, When The Saints

Grade 2

Second grade is still playing catch up after presenting their program at the end of March.  This week we worked on “Little Snail” using sol, mi and la.

S S M M S S M Z       Little Snail I cannot see

S S L L S S M Z   Fine     Why you always hide from me.

II: D M S S L L M Z:II  D.C. al Fine    Little Snail oh don’t be shy.   I won’t hurt you, no not I

This is a great little song and activity for a number of things:  D, M, S and La; D.C. al Fine, and repeat marks.  I actually use it notated on a staff, so that I can call the students’ attention to the fact that  D, M and S, are all space notes, and L is the only one that’s different.  Since we use  D, M and S extensively in our warm ups, hearing it is no problem for them.  So, we spend a few minutes listening for low, medium and high.  They try to identify which one I am singing by using the correct hand signal.  Then we go on to reading and singing them from the staff.  Once they’ve learned the song with the words I have them line up behind me, and join hands with the person in front of them.  I give a warning: no pushing, pulling or trying to go fast.  Then we begin to sing the song.  I turn in a circle, drawing the student line into a tight circle around me.  “What are we?”  I ask.  “A Snail!” they respond.  Then we sing it one more time so that the last person in line can lead us out of our snail formation.


Jane Rivera, April 23, 2012, All Rights Reserved


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Amanda Staymates
    May 02, 2012 @ 14:39:14

    The So-Me books seem amazing! Will they be part of your sale? I use Kodaly, so it would play right in… As always, thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas!


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