Tuesday, February 4, 2014

 We have been stuck inside a lot lately due to cold temps.  -30 and -40 wind chills are too much for little bodies' skin to tolerate.  Because they've been inside, they seem to have a lot of excess energy and are driving their teachers bonkers.  Instead of doing regular stuff for class, we have been doing a lot of moving activities during music time.  Today we did "pantyhose dancing".  Pantyhose you ask...
Yes.  I took a class two years ago about movement in the classroom.  Had nothing to do with music, but I've been able to apply many of them to music activities.  My friend that attended the class with me and I split a box of pantyhose.  We simply faxed Hanes company and asked for a box of irregular hose.  You get a box of 100 pieces which are single legs and open at both ends.  The kids get two legs and slip them over their feet and then the other end goes over their hands.  I play simple moving music for them to dance around the room.  Today I chose Saint-Saens Carnival of the Animals.
The pieces work perfect because they're short.  At the end of each song, I have them connect themselves to another person. 
 After the next song, the partners have to connect to another group of partners.  After another song, that group of 4 has to connect with another group.  Some groups catch on quickly, then I had others who still were trying to get them on over their shoes and are fighting the hose. 
 They discovered that when connected to other people, they had to work together as a team or people would get pulled along for the ride and eventually fall over.
 They look like giant spider webs.  Lots of fun.
 Another thing I did with my Kinders today is paper-plate ice-skating.  We played the song by John Jacobson, "Let's Go Skating".  The plates easily slide on my carpet and they are burning a lot of energy through their legs pushing them into the plates.
 My 2nd, 3rd and 5th graders have been working on a project.  We call them the "Froggy" projects.  We are using the Froggy books by Jonathan London.  The books have many onomatopoeia words throughout that lend themselves nicely to instruments.  So we are making sound stories.  Their first jobs were to read through the book and find all the words.  I created a spreadsheet for them to write them down.  Their next step was to decide what instruments sounded best for that word.  Enter the instrument testing.  I have multiple Orff instruments which they are very familiar with, but I have a great deal of miscellaneous percussion which we just don't use very often.  I found printable name cards so they could put a name to the instrument they were trying.  They obviously, wanted to try out everything before they made any decisions, so needless to say, I took a great deal of Excedrin before their classes.  It was fun watching them try an instrument they had never held before.
The next step is to assign instruments, and then the details.  Details meaning, which xylophone is it? soprano, alto or bass so they are learning some of the correct terminology.  Boomwhacker? which letter?  Then they decide on dynamics.  The final step is to start practicing reading the book with their instruments.  They will have probably 2 full class times to practice then they will be presenting them to the rest of their class.  If all goes well, we will invite younger grades in to come be their audience.

This is a new project for me and was very nervous to see how it would go.  The final performances will be interesting to see what they chose and if they make sense with the words.  Examples I gave were "would it make sense for kicking a soccer ball sound "bonk" to be played with an egg shaker?"  Responses were "no, but what about a drum", so they were doing some problem-solving and higher-order thinking.  I had the groups chosen for them before they began.


  1. Brilliant post! Thank you for sharing! So many good ideas that I will be using!

  2. Hey what do you use those cut up pool noodles for?

  3. I use them for rhythmic dictation. My husband cut them for me using an electric bread knife. The blue ones are 8" and they are whole notes and whole rests. The half notes are 4" and orange. The green ones are 2" and are quarter notes, quarter rests and paired eighth notes. The pink ones are 1" and are bar lines. I have students string them on rope and then they are either doing rhythmic dictation or are creating their own. I might give them some criteria such as "create an 8-bar rhythm and have to use at least one of each".