Thursday, 25 April 2013

Yellow Belt - Lucy Locket


Lucy Locket's sparkly, orange purse
I wanted to make a concerted effort this year to ensure that I play more games when teaching the recorder. Instead of just going through the method book I thought I would focus on the Karate belt songs and come up with some sort of interesting activity for each one. Here's what we did for the Yellow Belt - Lucy Locket.
We started the lesson off with the classic Lucy Locket game:
  1. Teach the words and melody for the song.
  2. One student waits outside in the hallway.
  3. Another student hides Lucy's "purse" (I used a lovely, orange bag as her purse).
  4. Call the student in the hallway back inside.
  5. The class sings the Lucy Locket song, increasing the dynamics as the student gets closer to the purse and decreasing the dynamics when they get farther away.
I made sure to stress the fact that singing loudly is not the same as shouting and warned the students that the game would end when people started shouting.

I put the rhythm for Lucy Locket on the SmartBoard and we clapped the rhythm together. We then played the rhythm on our recorders using "B" only.

I had the students figure out which notes BAGE went with the rhythm of the song and then we played the whole song together.

All in all this was a succesful lesson. I was surprised by how much the Grade 6s enjoyed playing the Lucy Locket game although I will admit I did not play it with one of my classes. I was probably in a bit of a bad mood because before their class I found out that we'd probably have to walk away from buying our dream house since there was mold in the attic that would cost $10 000 to remove along with another $10 000 for a roof so needless to say I wasn't happy and a little sensitive. So when I started off the class by mentioning that we would be playing a singing game and the kids groaned I ended up just saying "Forget it!" and launched into a lovely lecture about attitude. They did play Lucy Locket very well just without the joy that would have come with playing the game.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Recorder Karate 2013

I started Recorder Karate a few weeks ago with my 5s and 6s. I thought I would share the songs that I use for each belt. Below is a copy of the poster I put up by my Recorder Karate door.


The colour of belts is solely based on the colour of construction paper I had available to cover my door with. (Look for another post soon about my Karate door.) The songs that I use are from the Recorder Resource book. My students all have their own copies of the book, along with the CD, so they are able to practice at home as well as at school.

I usually give the students until the end of May to try for the belts but I will probably add a bonus week depending on how far the kids have gone (or not gone. Whatever the case may be!). I have to start writing report cards at the beginning of June so I like to have all my assessment done ahead of time.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Around the World

My husband and I are in the middle of house hunting right now and things have not been going well. I'm writing this post as a way to get my mind off the house I'd mentally already moved into possibly going down the tubes. 



Source: Picture Paradise
One of the GPS tasks for my intermediates is to hold a long tone for 15 seconds (10 for flute and tuba). This task asks them to think back to when they first started and to see how their stamina has improved since the beginning of the year. 

I had a flashback the other day to playing a math game called "Around the World." I thought I could adapt it to this long tone task. Here's what I came up with:




  • Students sit in a circle (we did it today in rows and it worked out just fine)
  • The starting student stands in front of the person closest to them
  • The teacher counts them in and each student holds their note for as long as possible. (I had them play on the 5th note of the B flat concert scale).
  • The student that holds it the longest is the winner and faces off against the next person.
My Grade 8s had a blast with this today! I suppose they liked the competition and a few students who are usually harder to motivate did very well with this challenge. I had to consider what to do with the flutes and percussionists since they are special. Before we started we discussed why the flutes would have a harder time with this and a few flutes even wanted to have a "Flute Face-Off" but we ran out of time. The percussionists played a drum roll on the snare. They automatically won but before the class ended we did a showdown with all the students who had beaten at least two students. One of my alto saxes won it and he and a percussionist faced off against my rock-star Music Itinerant. They lost to him but it was a great activity. 


*** The globe clip art I used came from Picture Paradise. Click here to download it for free. ***

Friday, 12 April 2013

Vivaldi Lesson Plan

I was supposed to be going away on a weekend trip with the Grade 6s today but the bus was cancelled because of our lovely spring storm. We will be going tomorrow, hopefully! Since I was going to be absent for two days I thought I'd tie in my "Composer of the Month" with activities that I would leave for my supply teacher. I had two lessons planned - one for grades 4-6 and one for grades 7-8.

Listening Kit 2 (Grade 2)
Source: Musicplay.ca

Junior Vivaldi Lesson

  1. Read the Vivaldi biography as a class. (I found a biography in Listening Kit 2. I photocopied one set, to save paper, and will use it with all 10 classes.)
  2. Ask students to make a prediction about which season this piece is based on. Listen to "Adagio molto, Autumn" by Antonio Vivaldi. (Don't accidentally reveal the title!)
  3. Use scarves or ribbons to show the direction of the melody.
  4. Have students draw a picture (see below) of what in the music makes them think of Autumn.



Intermediate Vivaldi Lesson Plan

  1. Play "Allegro, Autumn" by Antonio Vivaldi but do not reveal the title of the compostion.
  2. Have students do a "Quick Write" (more information about this Total Participation Technique is found at the end of this post) based on this prompt: This piece, written by Antonio Vivaldi, was inspired by one of the four seasons. Which season do you think inspired this piece and why? Make sure to include information about what you heard in the music in your answer.
  3. Read the Vivaldi biogrpahy together.
  4. Split students into groups of three. Students will rank (see below) what they feel are the two most important details from Vivaldi's biography and give reasons for why they think so.
  5. Students join up with another group of three and share their rankings.
  6. As a class, discuss what students noticed.
TPT #3 - Quick Writes
  • select a prompt for students to respond to
  • give them 3-5 minutes to jot down a response
  • follow up with a Think-Pair-Share or Chalkboard Splash
TPT #4 - Ranking
  • select items or paragraphs that could be ranked
  • have students rank the items according to predetermined criteria
  • students need to defend their choices
  • follow up with a Think-Pair-Share

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

When Things Don't Go as Planned...

Today my recorder lessons did not go as planned. Sadly, I could not place the blame on anyone but myself. Last week I spent a few hours making up these really cute "I Have...Who Has..." cards to play with my class. I was so proud of them (and will be sharing them with you soon) and emailed them to myself to print off at school. Or so I thought when I went to print them this morning. Yup. It turns out that I did not actually attach the document or send it. Super. 

Luckily Emily at The Sweetest Melody Blog saved the day. I had been looking at her Recorder Mega-Set this morning before school and was thinking about purchasing it. So since I was stuck and really wanted to play a game with my class I downloaded it. 

Source: The Sweetest Melody Blog
I took her Recorder Dice Game and put it on my Smart Board. I found an interactive die tool and put it up beside the game. My students sit in three rows so I made each row into a team. I would have one student from each team come up and touch the die to roll it. Whatever number it showed was the pattern that the whole row of students would play. I counted them in and they played together. If it wasn't quite perfect I would shout out "Steal!" and any student (including anyone from the first team) who raised their hand the fastest would get a chance to steal it by playing the pattern solo. Then the next team would have their turn to roll. I kept track of points for fun but there was no prize except the classic prize of learning something. 

This was a great way for me to do a quick assessment to see who was really struggling. I made it easy and just showed the letter names. Next time we play I will move to the notes placed on the staff. Sometimes it all works out even when things don't go as planned!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad!



I am happy to announce that I have completed two out of three of the upcoming projects that I wrote about last month. Okay, so I may have combined two of them into one, but that still counts right?

If you will remember, here is the ugly bulletin board that is on the wall right outside of my room:


And here it is now:


It probably took me about an hour and half to finish because my computer was being a tad bit slow but I am happy with the results. I decided to include my Joke of the Month, Composer of the Month and Musical Opportunities all on one board. 

Music Joke of the Month

I found this hilarious joke on Pinterest. 








Composer of the Month
The picture frame I found at Michael's in their "As-Is" section for $1.67. Score! It doesn't have any glass on the front so if it falls off it won't shatter, however it leaves room for vandals to add a mustache to poor Vivaldi's face. It hasn't happened yet and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it won't! I attached the frame by sticking a thumbtack into the bulletin board and hooking the little hook on the back of the frame right on to the thumbtack. 



 The picture of Vivaldi and the Vivaldi Facts I borrowed from Kelly Riley's Music Classroom. This blog also includes links to videos and playlists. The frames for my facts came from Mercedes Hutchens and I downloaded them for free from Teachers Pay Teachers. You can download her Polka Dot Rainbow Dot Frames here

I am also planning on doing at least one lesson with each of my classes on Vivaldi. One lesson will be suited for Grades 6-8 and the other for Grades 4-5. Stay tuned!


Musical Opportunities
This is where I will post any board related musical events that might be of interest to my kidlets. I sometimes forget to hand those notices out so I will feel like I am at least doing a little bit to promote fun opportunities. 


My goal is to change out my joke and composer each month (hence Joke and Composer of the Month) so I will do my best to post my ideas for May and June and then, "Woo hoo! It's summer!" I will definitely get this up and running sooner next year.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Hot Cross Buns

Recorders with the Grade 5s and 6s have gotten off to a good start! Motivation is high and I am going to be doing everything in my power to keep it that way. In previous years the 5s and 6s actually played band instruments but now that my school is K-8  that just isn't a possibility (as in I'd have 4 or 5 kids sharing each instrument. No thank you!). Sadly, recorders aren't perceived to be as cool as "real" band instruments. Go figure. 

Last year was my first year teaching recorders and I pretty well just stuck to the method book. This year, I decided to spend some more time focusing on the songs the students were going to be playing for their Recorder Karate belts. I wanted to include some games, movement activities and other instruments. Here is my lesson for Hot Cross Buns. It took about two class periods to complete. I adapted a lesson from an Orff resource put out by my school board for Part 1 and the Boomwhacker/bass xylophone accompaniment was adapted from Fun with Boomwhackers by Chris Judah-Lauder.  

Part 1

  • Sing Hot Cross Buns while patsching the beat
  • Sing while clapping the rhythm
  • Play the "Switch Game" - have one half of the class patsch the beat while the other side claps the rhythm of the words. The teacher randomly calls out "Switch!" and the groups switch from patsching the beat or clapping the rhythm. 
  • While students are patsching the beat, the teacher draws quarter notes on the board to represent each beat. As a class, figure out how many beats each word gets from the song. Add bar lines and identify any patterns between the measures. 
  • Teach Hot Cross Buns from method book

Part 2

Hot Cross Buns in "Fun with Boomwhackers" is designed for two Boomwhacker parts (melody and harmony) plus a bass xylophone bordun. I put the accompaniment on my Smart Board (pay no attention to my messy writing) with recorders playing the melody instead of Boomwhackers. I also changed the rhythm (half notes instead of quarter notes) to match the song in the students' method books. They always want to play Hot Cross Buns super quickly anyway so anything I can do to slow them down is a good thing. 

  • Review Hot Cross Buns on recorders
  • Teach Boomwhacker harmony part. (I put octavator caps on my B Boomwhackers so it would actually sound like the harmony is descending). 
  • Add bordun accompaniment on bass xylophone.