Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valentine's Activities, Anyone?

Valentine's Day is almost upon us again, so I decided to post some activities I've done this week and last week that could be used for a Valentine's theme. If you look at the Kodaly Corner blog (linked on the right...a collaborative blog I contribute to), there are some more Valentine's activities if you're interested.

I have no idea where I learned this song, but my students love it! I've been using it this week, and I plan to link it to Saint Saens Carnival of the Animals Aquarium movement and the book Swimmy. The game is simple. On the first day I discuss with the class what the name of a group of fish is (school) and why do small fish travel in large groups (to not get eaten by big things like sharks). The first time we play, I lead, walking around the room with my hands swimming like fish fins and singing the names of students in the song (in place of Suzy). Each new student joins the line behind me (hands on shoulders or just walking) until the entire class is part of the school of fish, and for the last time through the song we sing, "Oh, everyone, everyone, we love you!). My students today spontaneously started giving each other hugs. Feel the love, people.

On another day when we play, the newly called student becomes the leader and must stop at their chosen person when we sing the long "Oh" so the class knows whose name to sing. If you want to, you could have each new leader be in charge of singing the last phrase of the song as a solo to assess singing voices. After the game was over, students froze with a shark fin on their heads. I then played the half step Jaws theme at various tempos and pausing at different times. Students put the notes in their feet moving when the keyboard was playing and stopping when the music stopped until all had returned to their carpet spots. One little boy today said, "I LOVE this part!"

Either the same lesson or another lesson the same week, I use the book, Swimmy (which shows the idea of a school of fish and different predators). I usually read the book the first time with the Aquarium music as accompaniment in the background. Then on another day when I introduce the Aquarium music, I ask where they've heard the music before and students can usually tell me from the Swimmy book. I then introduce briefly the idea of the Carnival of the Animals piece in which the composer wrote small songs to represent different animals. So what animals does this song represent do you think? Then I introduce a listening map for Aquarium. Here is a simple one.

To further familiarize the class with the piece, we make our own Aquarium. Half of the student use blue scarves with partners holding opposite ends to make the water waves, (you could do green seaweed as well if you need to) and the other half use bright, colorful scarves to pretend they are the fish swimming in the aquarium. Then they switch parts and the water students become fish and vice versa. We, of course, talk about moving like the music sounds. This will lead to learning about legato (and then staccato when we move on to doing the Kangaroo).

So, you could use these activities during Valentine's week, or not. It doesn't have to be Valentine's themed.

By the way, my meyersmusic visuals website I used to have set up is now defunct, but Blogger doesn't have a good way to post full-sized visuals for you to print out and use. I'm in the process of changing the visuals website over to a Weebly website which allows me to post not just picture files, but also other document formats. Check back and you'll find some of my older blog visuals reposted to the new site soon.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone. "Oh, Kodaly, Kodaly, we love you!"

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