Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sail for Boomwhackers

My 3rd graders are loving boomwhackers right now and so am I! These things are one of my favorite classroom instruments! This summer I added some additional tubes to my collection and now have 6 sets. That seems to be enough to accommodate my largest classes of 24 students. That being said, having more boomwhackers means I can write new songs!

Last year, we played "Somebody That I Used to Know" and everyone enjoyed playing a pop song. So, last week I arranged "Sail" by Awolnation for boomwhackers and we started working on it. The boomwhacker part is the chordal accompaniment and I play the melody on the piano. I did have to transpose the piece because I don't have chromatic notes so we can't play with the recording but everyone seemed to like hearing it on the piano.

I've found when teaching boomwhackers to younger students it is easier to group them and have them play by color. That is how I arranged this piece. Group 1 is A minor, Group 1+ is the A minor chord with D, Group 2 is G major and Group 3 is C major. Then I added the group numbers to the rhythmic notation. To my surprise, this was INCREDIBLY EASY to teach, even the group 1 to 1+ change! They picked it up with no problems.

Just like the groups below, I have the students sit in their groups in a line facing the smartboard. This is easy for them to see when it is their turn to play. The next page in the file is the rhythm with the group numbers. You can download it HERE.
Finally, here is a short clip of a 5th grade class demonstrating this piece. We finished early and they were interested in learning it! I didn't have enough students in the class to fill out the entire chord (they are split between music and library for the semester) but you can still hear the general idea.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Melodic Dictation

So far this year, fourth graders are building skills for playing the recorder. Our recorders should be here next week! We have worked on rhythm and rhythmic dictation and last week we started melodic dictation. Our focus is learning B, A and G this year.

Last year, my first recorder class ever, did really well learning B, A and G on the recorder but many of them struggled to correlate the notes on the staff with the notes on the recorder. So, to fix that, we have worked hard learning about the staff.

My first activity was using Mr. E's Musical Apartment to teach B (Bad Boy), A (Always Awful, the ghost) and G (Good Guy). I drew the characters from the book and laminated them with magnetic tape on the back so they stick to the white board staff. The kids love these characters and have no trouble remembering their names.

We then talked about how Bad Boy and Good Guy have to go to the right apartment or else people would confuse them for each other and Good Guy doesn't want to be confused for Bad Boy.

I used words like BAG, GAB, AB, GAG, BAA to discuss how we read music, left to right. I used the characters to help the students write the notes in the correct order. In BAG, Bad Boy came home first then the ghost was awake, then Good Guy came home. That seemed to help and keep them from stacking the notes when they wrote them.

In my first activity, the students were paired up with a xylophone, a clipboard with a dry erase staff and marker. I would give them the order of the notes and they would write the letter names on the correct lines or spaces. I only used B, A and G. They worked together to write them out and then we played they notes on the xylophone.

To make it harder, I played a pattern on my xylophone and they had to figure it out and write it out on the staff. They did so well with this and really enjoyed it!

Last week (and continuing lessons this week), we all had a dry erase staff. I gave them letters to write down in the correct place and the first correct answer won a prize. My classes love this game! I also threw in some melodic dictation patterns, too.

Here you can find a pdf of my rhythmic dictation worksheet and melodic dictation staff. I put these papers in a page protector and attach them to a clip board to create a dry erase board. They work great!!

In order to connect both the note names and the rhythms we played Rhythm Football. I saw this on Pinterest and bought it from Teacher's Notebook. The kids loved the game! When the scored a touchdown, they earned 6 points and in order to earn the extra point, they had to write B, A or G on the staff.