Valentine's is fast approaching, so I thought you might enjoy some "love"ly activities for use in your classroom. I hope you find something your students will enjoy.
I use this simple rhyme with kinder and first graders, and alter the game and activity for the students' age and ability. With kinders I often play a counting out type of game with them in which I walk around the outside of a standing circle and I tap students on the shoulder to the beat. The student who is tapped on "you" is eliminated and must leave the circle, choose an unpitched percussion instrument I have set out, and play it during the rest of the game. You may choose to have all students play the beat, all play the rhythm of the chant, or allow them to choose to play either the beat or the rhythm (if I choose this option, then I have 2 types of instruments available, such as hand drums for the beat and rhythm sticks for the rhythm). Play the game until all but one are eliminated if time permits. End with all students practicing the beat and rhythm on their instruments.
On another day in kindergarten, after they know the rhyme and have played the game, we use icons with single hearts, double hearts, and lips to make patterns. The first time I do this, it is a whole class activity in which the chant is said while one child makes a 4 beat pattern on the board, and then the class "reads" the pattern using the word hug for the single heart, kiss-es for the double hearts, and a silent hand kiss (think the motion you make when you blow a kiss) for the lips. We cycle through several different students making patterns for the class to read. On another day for a greater challenge, I give each kindergartener a baggie that has single and double heart and lip icons and each child is asked to make their own four beat pattern using the icons. We then go around the room and alternate saying the chant and having individual students read us their patterns using "hugs," "kisses," and silent blowing kisses. I can then asses which students are able to correctly create 4 beat patterns and read their patterns. At this point, I have found that a few students still have problems remembering to read from left to right, but because I have done a lot of icon work throughout the year, there aren't too many problems.
In first grade I play a similar elimination game, but at this point in the year, students are generally able to pass an object to the beat with some accuracy if we practice a bit first. If I have a particular class having problems, I will play the beat on a hand drum at first to help them. I just use a squishy, fuzzy pink ball as the object we pass, and eliminated students again play an instrument as the game progresses. You can also use the above kinder activity using icon patterns with first graders as a review. By February, my first graders have learned quarter note, eight notes, and quarter rest, but if yours have not, you can still use this chant. After students have played the game and perhaps mades some 4 beat patterns with the icons, on another day I will have them help me put the icons in the correct order to fit the rhythmic phrases of the song. They then tell me what the icons represent. One heart is ta, two hearts is ti-ti, and the lips are the rest (because cause we do the motion for blowing a kiss but make no noise). Or instead of having the class figure out the rhythms for the song together, you could give pairs of students baggies containing the rhythmic phrases and they have to put them in order to fit the chant themselves, and we check the answers as a class.
A further extension for first grade or older would be to create a rhythmic ostinato using the icons and the words that go with them, "hugs," "kisses," and the silent blown kisses, then have the class perform the chant with the ostinato.
Color and black and white icon visuals of the double heart, single heart, and lip cards can be found in color or black and white on the meyersmusic.com website linked to the right.
OK. Gotta run. Dinner time.
Fun Activities for December in the Music Room
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