Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ukulele Lesson 1

My 6th graders got their hands on the ukes for the first time this cycle and I think they may be in love!

We started out by learning how to hold the uke.  I emphasize hugging the uke against the body, asking students daily if they have "hugged their uke today?"   We then learn how to support with the left hand.

I teach the C chord first, because I love that the one finger needed to play the chord helps kids be successful with a ton of one chord songs right away.  Then, we we are ready to add the 5 chord, (G), the ring finger just pops one string over.  Once we have the fingering down for C, we add a simple down stroke strum with the right thumb.  Once that is mastered, I challenge them to try strumming with a down, down up pattern.

I started with a new "first song," for the uke this year.  I have loved it and the kids are eating it up.  I used "Coconut" by Harry Nilsson.  First, I sang while they played the uke and then after some rote echoing, they were able to join me on the chorus.  We will add more of the verses next time. 

Here is a youtube link to Kalani teaching the song on the uke.  We did the same conceptual idea but used the C chord instead because of where we are headed with our ukes.  Kalani visited our school as artist in residence a few years ago, and first inspired my interest in teaching kids to play the ukuleles.  We didn't even have ukuleles when he came to visit. Boy, how times have changed!

Stay tuned for more ideas on starting off with the uke with your kids.  We'll be hanging out on the c chord for a few classes to get fingering solidified along with the down, down, up strumming pattern we are working on.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Cowboy Joe Name Game

Since I traveled to Texas last week to visit a friend, I thought I should share a "cowboy" activity! 
I teach Cowboy Joe to my 4th graders at the start of the school year.  I originally learned in it my Level 3 Orff training, and have adapted it a bit to work for my students.
First, I teach the body percussion, encouraging students to listen to me model the pattern and find where the "trick" occurs.

Once the kids can do the body percussion, I introduce the poem in conjunction with the body percussion.

Then, we turn the body percussion into a clapping came with a partner, changing the snaps to partner claps.

After that, the students are allowed to create their own clapping game and body percussion with their partner to go along with the song.  We share those ideas out.

Then, we make it a name game, going around the circle.  Each student individually replaces Cowboy Joe's name with their name, i.e. Cowboy Tyler or Cowgirl Alicia.  They also replace Mexico with the street that they live on, i.e comes from New Street.  Then, the entire class completes the last two phrases of the poem, inserting their classmate's name on the last phrase. 

If you want to take it to another level, the students can transfer the levels of body percussion to three different unpitched percussion instruments.

Enjoy my favorite "Cowboy" activity.  Yee-Haw!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

5 Point Rhythm Assessments

As I have been working for a few cycles with all grade levels on their new "levels" of rhythms, I thought it was time to do an identification quiz.  So, I've made up new assessment sheets for the kids.

Each assessment shows 5 patterns with the rhythms the students have been working on.  As the teacher, I will clap the patterns in random order.  I will repeat the first pattern four times, and then move on to the second, third, fourth, etc.  The students will write which number pattern they heard first, then second, then third, etc.  It helps me know if students can hear and recognize a pattern and then visually identify what that pattern looks like.

9 Different Levels of Rhythm Assessment are Included:
1. ti tika/tika ti patterns
2. ti ta ti syncopated patterns
3. quarter note and half note/rest patterns
4. dotted half note patterns
5. sixteenth note/quarter note/half note patterns
6. quarter note/rest and double eighth note patterns
7. dotted quarter note/eighth note patterns
8. eighth note/eight rest patterns
9. quarter note/quarter rest patterns

Download today, if these created documents will save you time and help you have a greater grasp of individual student levels of understanding!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

5 Favorite Pins of October Linky Party

Aileen Miracle is hosting another Linky Party of Favorite Pins for October. Thanks, Aileen, for organizing this sharing!  If you haven't checked out her site before, you need to do so!

Here are a few of my favorite pins from the month of October:
1.  Thought this Pumpkin Pumpkin idea from Amy Abbott was cute.  My kids always enjoy "take-away" songs, and the audiation practice is great.
  2.  Lovvvved this idea for organizing file folders at school.  Either for use in station work or for storing class work, this has so many possibilities!
3.  Thought this quote was a great reminder of what the overall goal is for an active music classroom.  The website it is from shares really neat stories of inspiring teachers.
4. Check out Rob Amchin's video of Zemer Atik.  I learned this with him in Level 2 Orff and have enjoyed sharing this with my fifth graders annually.  They love it!
5.  I liked this free printable resource for helping older students match text and more complicated rhythms using muffin text! 

Hope you enjoyed these ideas that I discovered during my pinterest addiction in the month of October!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Columbus Day Sale

Happy Columbus Day!  I hope many of you are enjoying time off or having meaningful professional development!  Im enjoying time visiting a friend in Texas!  In honor of this day of rejuvenation, my whole store is 10% off through Wednesday!  Happy shopping!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

2 4 Tuesday Link Sharing

Tonight I'm joining with Stay Tuned! linky party.

Two resources I've been using lately in my classroom with great success are:
1.  The Rhythm Rush Relay Game: Great teambuilding game that the kids get excited about.  I get to observe students' abilities to identify rhythms and I get to increase their rhythmic identification fluency, while they have a fun environment for practice.

2.  This week I worked to get my emergency substitute binder in place.  I always like to have an emergency plan in case something terrible would prevent me from getting into school.  The art teacher next door knows where to find this binder of activities.  It is set up so a sub can select activities by grade level that they are comfortable with.  Some involve more musical knowledge then others, but there are always fool proof lessons for each grade level available.  I don't use it if it is a planned absence, but it is nice for the last minute flu or a death in the family.  Everything is ready to be pulled out for a sub!

Bump Up Tomato Syncopation Game

With my fourth grade students, I've been working to really have them experience, understand, identify, and label syncopation.  I've been focusing more on it than I have in the past, because I want them to have a deeper understanding, which they can use in their performances.

I came across the folk song "Bump Up Tomato," which I had not known before.  The kids love the catchy melody/speech.

I love how this teacher instructs the game.  My kids LOOOOOVE the ending when they get to try to make one of their classmates laugh.  They think it's the best thing ever!

Hope you can use this video as a resource for teaching this great syncopated game!

Cookies and Milk Quarter Note and Eighth Note Manipulatives

I just finished making this cute set of cookie and milk manipulatives.  I had seen a cute idea similar to this on pinterest, where a teacher used purchased cookie and milk graphics and hand wrote the rhythm of the words on them.  I updated the idea a little bit, included empty plates to signify rests, and added the word as well as the rhythm on the picture.  When we can help the language arts teachers out in any way, I think it's always an awesome thing.

I used these with my part time learning support classes today, and they loved them.  We created four beat patterns and clapped them out loud, sometimes using the "food name" and sometimes using the rhythm name.  In the future, we will use them for dictation of patterns I clap.  We will also use them to play unpitched percussion, with some instruments performing the milk part, and other instruments performing the cookie part. 

I've been working hard to help my part time learning support kids correlate and recognize syllables along side rhythm.  They've responded well to this, so I keep creating new ways to practice this.

I think I may use this set with my first graders later in the year too.  So many possibilities with such a simple idea.  To make your life more simple, download this inexpensive set for only $1.00 from my Teachers Pay Teachers Store today!  I cut out the manipulatives and then laminated them and re-cut.  You could just cut the papers in half and make them more like flash cards, if that is easier!

All this talk about cookies is making me want some cookies in bed before I settle in for the night!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Ukulele Quarter Sheets

Tonight, I spent some time focusing on starting ukuleles with my sixth graders in the upcoming weeks.  I decided to make a set of quarter sheet reflection and assessment cards to help keep tabs on them over the first several lessons as we learn together.

The cards are available for download at my teachers pay teachers store. 

When printing these, I print them as full sheets and cut them into quarter sheets for quick student reflection, assessment, and self-evaluation or critique when instructing beginning ukulele players.

Included In the Set Are:
Goal Setting Sheet (So students can let me know what they'd like to learn to do/play at the beginning of the unit)
Hardest/Easiest Part Sheet (So I can see what strengths and weaknesses as determined by each student are)
On a Scale of 1-4 Sheet (So students can reflect on how their playing is going)
Draw me a C Chord Sheet (So I can assess quickly their knowledge of fingerings)
Draw me a G Chord Sheet
Draw me an F Chord Sheet
Draw me an a minor Chord Sheet

These printables should help you teach your students to critique themselves while giving you a better knowledge of their individual strengths and weaknesses. 

I have my uke dots fixed up and ready to go.  My 6th graders can't wait to get their hands on the uke.  I'm sure there will be more uke tips and tricks to come!