Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Sorry it's been a long dry spell from me with the blogging thing. As some of you my or may not know, after many years of teaching full-time and going to grad school part-time, this year I have become a full-time graduate student at Arizona State University to finish my doctorate.  October was my month 'O travel, too. I've been in Minneapolis, Fresno, and Denver in the last month. So, Travel + Grad school = no blogging from me for a while. Sorry about that!!! I promise to post more often when I catch a few minutes between theory homework and philosophical readings. Foucault, Marx, and Green, Oh, my!

I'm back just in time for Halloween, one of my favorite holidays of the year. Why, you ask? Because my birthday is in October and I have fond memories of having Halloween-themed birthday parties as a kid. So here's a few Halloween activities for your classroom this week...or next year, since I'm late. :-) As usual, I'll put the visuals on my website linked at the right.

Miss White Had a Fright

I tend to stretch using a song or chant over several classes, but if you prefer not to, you are the queen or king high poobah of your own music class. So, I'm just sharing the steps I take over several lessons below.

Lesson 1: Class echoes the poem by phrases using different silly voices. While they echo a student draws a ghost song on the board. The class then sirens the picture drawn. Add instrument parts such as rhythm sticks play the rhythms of the words throughout, while drums play all of the words that rhyme with "White" and triangles play all of the words that rhyme with "ghost." Practice saying it with the chant, and playing it without saying the words, etc.

Lesson 2: Review the poem. Say the poem with different voices, and as they say it, they make “ghost songs” with their pipe cleaners. At the end of the poem, all sing their ghost songs together. After they’ve had some practice, individual kids can sing their songs for you. (Good assessment of understanding high and low and using the head voice) and they can make "ghost compositions by combining their pipe cleaner shapes with those of other students.

Lesson 3: Kindergarteners find the rhythms with the ghost icons. 1st graders transfer this to tas and ti-tis.

Lesson 4: Students get baggies with the icons or ta ti-ti patterns and they must show you they can put them in the correct order to fit the chant.

Pumpkin, Pumpkin and Pumpkin Man

OK. Here's something for older students, although you can use the song Pumpkin Pumpkin with younger students, the combination of these two songs is really more appropriate for older students.

If you want another extension on this game, you can have students switch which of the two songs they are singing when the teacher hits a hand drum. Or, have students switch from singing the words of the song to saying the rhythms of the song when the teacher hits a drum...or switch to melodic solfa. Students switch back to words again when the drum is hit again. Very challenging!
I hope you try these activities and find them successful. Happy Halloween, everyone! May your students nots come to school next week hopped up on Halloween candy. ;-)
Pumpkin, Pumpkin

Lesson 1: Learn the song and game. Stand in a single circle facing a partner who is beside you. Pat clap pat clap pat clap out on, “Pumpkin, pumpkin, round and fat.” Grab hands and switch places with partner on, “Turn into a jackolantern.” Jump and turn backwards to face a new partner on the word, “that.” Continue the game until you make it back to your first partner.

Lesson 2: Use the song to practice tika-tika rhythms in 2nd grade or older students for review once they know the song well.

Lesson 3: Use the song to practice d m d m d m s (notice, the hand clap movements mirror the melodic contour). Older students can use the song for fa.

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