Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Carnival of the Animals Listening Unit in 1st Grade Music

When I student taught, my wonderful co-op introduced me to the world of Carnival of the Animals.  She taught the piece in such a lively, exciting way, and the kids ate it up.  They listened and described music.  They moved to music.  They impressed me.

It was during this time that I was introduced to the book by Barrie C. Turner and Sue Williams called Carnival of the Animals: Classical Music for kids.  This gem of a book first briefly introduces the composer and the instruments of the orchestra.  I teach this page on the first day of the unit.  We practice pronouncing Camille Saint Saen's name with our best French accents and we talk about the jobs of the performers.

In each proceeding class, I introduce one animal.  I go from beginning to end of the piece when introducing animals over time.  To intro the animal, I read the short paragraph the book presents, describing the animal and the music that is used to represent it.  I then instruct the students to prove to me that they are excellent listeners, while watching me move to the animal they are learning.  They see me crawl on the floor like a lion the first day, and I've got them hook, line, and sinker.  I then give them a chance to move silently like the animal we are learning.  Each movement I use clearly aligns and matches the music, to help students remember and correlate their learning. 

After we've learned a few animals over several class periods, I do some review, playing short clips of one of the animals, having the students show me without talking which animal it is.

I assess this learning several times throughout the unit.  I give a mid point assessment, where I mix up the animals we know, and the students write the number (1 for the first listening example) beside the picture of the animal and it's instruments.  I give a final assessment, where only some animals are pictured.  I have students color the animal they hear with a specified crayon color.  I just created paper puppets to use as informal identification manipulatives as well.  All of these assessments are now available in my teacher's pay teachers store

Through this kinesthetic unit, I am always amazed at how well students are able to listen and describe music.  Their parents often comment on how much they love this piece of music. 

Hope this sparks some ideas for getting your kids moving and listening jointly. 

Dreams, Wishes, and Fairy Tales 2014 Concert Theme

This year’s concert has come and gone again.  It’s amazing how fast the year flies.   It’s hard to believe another year’s choral performance is over.  I was really pleased with how the students performed and blended their voices.  The program had a nice variety, while keeping with a theme, and also kept audience interest.

This year, my concert was themed around “Dreams, Wishes, and Fairy Tales.”  I had three ensembles perform: the auditioned Orff Ensemble who rehearses after school, the 5th grade chorus, and the 6th grade chorus.  We did close out with all students singing a song together (which is always intentionally planned that way to help keep audience members and students through the entire concert.)

The Orff Ensemble performed the following:
Oh What a Day: A beautiful instrumental canon by Gagne about dreaming about the beauty in each day.
Heart and Soul:  Need I say more?
All the Pretty Little Horses, a gorgeous lullaby arranged by DeLelles and Kriske
In the Jungle: This fun tune can be heard in the fairy tale story of the Lion King
Ding, Dong: This canon comes from the Orff Volume 1
Rondo #31: This snazzy Rondo is very impressive and is in Orff Volume 1

5th grade chorus performed the following:
The Spirit of Adventure from Disney-Pixar’s Up: Giacchino/Arr. Shaw is a perky opener that talks about dreaming of adventures and travels.
Magical Kingdom by John Rutter is a beautiful piece that describes a magical kingdom of dreams and stories.
John Henry arranged by Dilworth tells the story of the folk tale about John Henry.  Students learn about John Henry in 5th grade at our school so this piece had some nice cross curricular opportunities.
We Can Plant a Forest by Papoulis and Greenly talks about dreaming of making the world a better place for the future, in a world music arrangement.  We used djembe with this piece.
Any Dream Will Do from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat by Rice and Webber and Arranged by Huff.  The kids loved it and had great energy. 

6th grade chorus performed the following:
Kusimama (Stand Tall) by Papoulis which talks about standing tall and believing in yourself.  Using two languages, this world piece sounds great with djembe.
Deep in the Meadow (Lullaby) by Collins, burnett and Arranged by Huff is from the Hunger Games.  The lulling tune is beautiful.  I told my kids to “make their momma’s cry” while they sang this one with heart. 
Dreams from the Triology of Dreams by Hughes and Dilworth was performed with violin accompaniment.  There are some tricky parts to fit together at the end of the piece.  The text encourages students hold fast to their dreams.
The Tailor of Gloucester Arranged by Geibler is a perky folk story tale of a tailor and the mouse.  Two partner songs occur in the middle and the lively tune is always a hit.
Over the Rainbow (with P/A CD) by Harburd, Arlen, Kamakawiwo’ole and arranged by Beck was a lovely way to end the 6th grade portion, when students were singing in our school concert for the last time in their elementary careers.  We used the P/A cd because the ukulele part was a bit too challenging for our students.  They kids loved this and provided them a great chance to practice legato singing with emotion. 

Together, to finish up, we sang:
When You Wish Upon a Star from Disney’s Pinocchio by Washington and Harline and arranged by Rhea is a simple arrangement that joyfully shares the famous tune in a manner that encourages everyone to dream of a better tomorrow.

This concert is over and now it’s time to start ordering music for next year already.  I’m already getting excited about what is to come next!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

5 Favorite Pins of March

I'm again linking up with one of my favorite music ed bloggers to share my favorite pins of March.  Enjoy!

1.  Another one of my favorite blogger, Amy Abbott, has just created a treble clef set that I've pinned and can't wait to buy!  So cute.  I know my third graders, who love the new Lego movie, will be all over this! 
2.  This great pin shares a whole list of free downloads from music sellers.  With this one pin, there are tons of freebies available to you!
3.  Loved this bulletin board for music in our schools month, or really any time of year.  We just performed a piece from Up in our choral concert, and this would've been fun to have up for the concert or on the program.
4.  Sometimes it's great to have quotes to remind us why we do what we do.  I thought this quote was a powerful reminder. 
5.  I liked this idea for organizing recorder karate belts.  I use thinner embroidery string, so I wouldn't need as big of a bucket, but I think I could do this in a smaller plastic tub.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Song Tale Giveaway....Enter to WIN!

I decided it was time to get the Treble in the Classroom fans excited, so what better way to get enthused, then to win?!?

The winners of this contest will be mailed one of two picture books at the end of the contest.  Both books are "Song Tales" which I absolutely love.

The first is John Feirabend's There's a Hole in my Bucket.

The second is the newly released Octopus's Garden picture book.

For this contest using rafflecopter, you can enter several ways.  The first two are mandatory, and the other two can get you extra daily entries.
1.  Like Treble in the Classroom on Facebook
2.  Follow Treble in the Classroom on Teachers Pay Teachers

Then, to gain more entries, you may:
3.  Tweet about the contest
4.  Post a comment somewhere on the Treble in the Classroom blog page.
5.  Pin your favorite item from the Treble in the Classroom Teachers Pay Teachers Store and share the link with me.

a Rafflecopter giveaway Thanks for supporting my blog and store.  I'm excited to see you all enter.  Enter until 3/11 at 12 AM.  Winners will be announced on the Treble in the Classroom Facebook Page.

Circling Up to Practice Rhythm Reading and Performance

I took video and pics this week (without kid's faces to identify them) to share with you one of my favorite ways to practice rhythms. 

I have created a Teachers Pay Teachers set for this (at three levels, one with quarter and eighth rhythms, one adding in half notes, and one adding in 16th notes), but you may want to just use your own rhythms on sentence strips too.  If it is easy to buy the set ready to go with suggestions, go for it.  If not, create your own :-)

To start this activity, I help the kids discover that each card has the exact same number of beats (some have to be coached through the value of each note and the math to totally get this concept.)  Then, we practice all saying our cards at the same time.  I walk around to clarify and assist students who are struggling with their patterns.  We hone this until we all start and actually end together!  After mastering that, we move between the cards, using 4 beats to chant, and 4 to move to the next pattern.  Once they can do this together in time, we add music to the performance, using the beat of the piece (song suggestions in the Circle-Up Sets in my store).  I assess student performances informally by standing by a card and hearing every student perform it as they walk by, or by walking and listening to several perform at one time. 

The video below shows you an early step in the process of perfecting this activity.  You'll hear my voice coaching them for the moves.  I like to get them to the point where they internalize the four beats between and don't need my constant counting to keep them together.  It's a building process to get there.  

The kids think they are rock stars and it really helps them solidify some early ensemble skills, along with important rhythm skills.

Hope this sparks some ideas for rhythm practice for you.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Another Fun Children's Literature and Music Picture Book Connection

I've been loving coming back to some classic children's literature to bring it to life in my music classroom.  Since I just love stories, adding stories and music gets me super excited.

This newest set uses one of my favorite early literacy books, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie."  Using half note, quarter note, quarter rests, and eighth notes, this set adds four beat rhythm phrases after each "demand" of the mouse.  Students can read and perform the phrases on text only or using rhythm syllables after performing the text.
Each page has a four beat ostinato that has text correlating to the mouse's most recent demand.  These patterns can also be transferred to unpitched percussion or a xylophone set in pentatonic.

Happy "Kid-Litting!"