Sunday, September 30, 2012

Doggie Doggie Beat/Rhythm/Melodic Direction Bones

I've been focused on making good quality manipulatives lately, which is a more tactful way of saying I'm a bit obsessed with manipulatives lately. (Can one be a "bit" obsessed? Maybe...)

I'm going to blame my friend Amy Abbott for this obsession/inspiration; she churns out more quality ideas and manipulatives in the span of a week then any teacher I know. (You probably already visit her wonderful blog, Music a la Abbott. If not, you should be checking in with her blog weekly. She posts often.)

I stopped by the teacher resource store Beyond the Blackboard this week looking for post-it notes in the shape of leaves. I did not find those, but I did find some stickers and paper bones.

Beyond the Blackboard and Teacher Created Resources are NOT paying me for advertising.
(hmm... maybe I should contact them...)
I do not enjoy making everything from scratch. While I greatly admire crafty people, I would rather spend less time putting things together. This means I sometimes spend more money. You could easily make your own bones and paw prints. 

I thought these could easily be made into a great beat/rhythm/melodic tracking manipulative for Doggie Doggie.  This is not a new idea, just a good one that I thought I could make into a classroom set of bones. The pack of bones contained 30, exactly what I use for a classroom set. (My largest 1st grade class is 29, which is ridiculous. PLEASE support your local schools by voting yes for any bond or mill levy in your area. That's a different post for another day but many districts are making huge cuts. I'll just say now that smaller class sizes make a huge difference in quality of instruction. ALL instruction.)

One side is for beat tracking while singing the song:
(Notice the strong beats are the same color as the bone outline. I also want to prepare 2/4 meter with these bones.)

The other side shows the rhythm and melodic direction of the song:

Here's a short video of my son singing and tracking:

I am looking forward to using these with a whole class. (All 29 of them!)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tika Tika Tic Tac Toe

It's Tika Tika time 
(4 beamed 16th notes) 
in 3rd grade and we are busy practicing, chanting, singing and playing this fun rhythm!

While it's always an aim of mine to present tika tika in 2nd grade, I usually only have time to prepare this rhythm at the end of the 2nd grade year. Tika tika in early 3rd grade is what I usually do and it works well. 

Tika Tika Tic Tac Toe is one of those simple games that I always think the students will scoff at and then they love playing it and request it often. 
(I think it has to do with competition and the opportunity to throw things.)

All you need are nine cards of 4 beat rhythms featuring tika tika, bean bags, and some floor space. My rhythms are extracted from the tika tika songs the 3rd graders have been learning since school began. 

I set out the nine rhythm cards in a tic tac toe board formation on the floor. Students are separated into two teams and sit on the bar lines of the floor staff. (I have very large staff on my floor which functions as a seating arrangement when we're not in a circle. My floor staff is made with black velcro, ordered from a PE catalog.) The teams are designated the "red" team or the "blue" team, (those are our school colors.) A student stands below line E of the floor staff and chooses which rhythm card he is going to attempt. He chants the rhythm and the rest of the class repeats the rhythm. If he articulates the rhythm correctly, he can toss his team's color beanbag to claim that space. If the beanbag is touching the chosen card once it's landed, that team wins the space and their beanbag stays on the card. The opposing team then takes a turn.  The goal is for a team to get three spaces in a row.

This amazing simple game is a big hit with the students. There is individual and group practice of the new rhythm concept and we're working with rhythms from their song literature. I can think of several variations I could use to adjust the level of difficulty. To make it more challenging, the individual player must tap or clap the rhythm and his team has to identify which card was played. Another challenge could be the individual player must identify which song the rhythm is extracted from. (I would post the song titles on the board for students to refer to.) To make the game easier and more immediately successful, the teacher could chant the rhythm, the class echoes and then the individual player identifies which rhythm was played.

There are so many age-appropriate songs that incorporate tika tika.
Some of my students' favorite ti-ka t-ka songs:

  • Chicken on a Fencepost
  • In and Out Those Dusty Bluebells
  • Chanton Le Petit Moulin
  • Paw Paw Patch 
  • Tideo
  • Goodnight, Sleeptight

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Old House/Rhythm Review

I love the song Old House and I've been looking for something new to do with the song. It's a great la prep or practice song and I start by focusing on the call and response aspect of the song through use of a SMART Board presentation.

My SMART Board  lesson includes pages for students to fill in the boxes 
with just the melodic contour  shown with the words:
Additionally, there are pages for fill-in-the-box with the melodic patterns on the staff:

This year I developed a game to review rhythms with my older students. 
A few years ago,  some of our wonderful ROCKE members (now our ROCKE board!) presented a session at our state music ed conference in which they played Jenga while singing Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho. I loved the idea of using the Jenga pieces so I adapted their game for this song.

Beat passing/rhythm review reading game:

Students sit in a circle. A small wooden tool box is filled with 4 beat rhythm cards.
During the song the toolbox is passed on the beat. 
(We sing the "build it up" verse first so we can build with the Jenga pieces.)
The student holding the box on the last beat of the song chooses a rhythm card from the toolbox and chants and claps the rhythm. The other students repeat the rhythm. 

If the student performs the rhythm correctly, he or she recieves Jenga pieces to build the house in the center of the circle. 

I often tie the number of Jenga pieces to the difficulty of the card. A card with 16th note patterns or a syncopated rhythm is worth 6 Jenga pieces while a rhythm card containing quarter notes and eighth note is worth 4 Jenga pieces.

Bonus Jenga pieces can be earned if the student can answer a question about the rhythm.
"How many beats is syn-co-pa?"
"What rhythm is in the 3rd beat?"
"How many sounds is ti ti-ka?"
"Can you speak that rhythm again but change 1 beat?"

The students love playing the game and it's been a fun way to review rhythms and get back into the habit of making music!