Hi everyone! This is Kate from Kate's Kodaly Classroom. This past weekend was the Colorado Music Educator's Association Conference in Colorado Springs, CO. It was great to see so many wonderful presenters (like our very own, Amy Abbott!) and spend time with colleagues making music and sharing ideas. It is so easy to feel isolated as a music teacher, which is why I am so grateful for opportunities to collaborate and for all the online communities that have popped up to keep us connected and supporting each other!
I am going to piggy-back on Karla's movement post, and add a few more ideas for you to try! I am a HUGE fan of movement activities. The more I learn and research, the more I am convinced that giving our kids chances to move leads to higher engagement, increased learning and many more smiles in your classroom.
One resource I have been using recently and loving is Lynn Kleiner's "Kids Can Listen, Kids Can Move."
Hungarian Dance No. 6 with Queen Caroline
Queen Caroline is one of my absolute favorites! Like many of you, I use this chant to teach beat, rhythm, high/low, inner hearing, quarter and paired eighth...it's a gold mine!
Given my love for Queen Caroline, I was so excited to find a listening and movement lesson to connect to it in my classroom. I have adapted the story from the book, to go something like this...
"Queen Caroline was throwing a birthday party at her castle for all the most important people in the land. She told her servants that they needed to be very proper and always bow or curtsy when they met a guest at the party. To prepare for her party she had the servants practice walking around the ballroom with their heads held high, bowing and curtsying to each other. What Queen Caroline didn't know is that when she would look away, her servants would dance and make silly faces to one another."
I then play the recording of Brahm's Hungarian Dance, No. 6 (click here to hear the piece on YouTube) and let them listen for when they think the servants are serious or silly. There is a clear contrast between the a and b motives in timbre and tempo. They then get to act out the story walking around. You can also add another level, saying that if the queen (you) catches them being silly when she turns back around, they have to sit in "the dungeon" or sit out. It is fun, fast, and a good listening example for same/different and fast/slow for your Kindergartners or 1st graders. Plus, my kids BEG to play it, so it is a nice carrot to have on a wild or crazy day!
There are many other great ideas for your younger students in this resource that you can tie into your folksongs, so I encourage you to check it out if you are looking for ways to meld listening and movement!
It is always fun when you can make a connection to your classroom literature in a movement or listening activity, but I also try to find ways to include opportunities for movement in day-to-day activities. Here are a few more ideas of ways to get your kids up and moving...
Movement with Flashcards
Body Scales and other Simple Games
Things like body scales (having your kids move to show the contour of the pitch), walking the rhythm, chair dictation, etc. are great ways to give your kids a chance to wiggle and move while getting in some extra practice or preparation for what you are working on.
Using Movement Canons to help with Part Work
My 2nd graders are pretty strong singers, but were struggling with rounds. In particular, I found that the 2nd group would often come in on the wrong pitch, matching the group that had already started. For example, in "Are You Sleeping," my students would start the round on mi instead of do. There are many strategies you can use to address this (maybe I'll get to that in a later post...), but one strategy I've found very effective is including movement. Movement helps kids visualize how the pieces fit together so well! You can break it down like this...
Step 1: Divide your class into two circles. Have both circles sing at the same time, walking around the circle and stopping at the end of the song.
Step 2: Repeat, but this time in a round. Being in the circle formation will help them hear their part, and the movement cues them to start from the beginning. I would recommend you join the 2nd group to start.
Step 3: As a challenge, you can repeat the round in concentric circles. I have used movement like this for programs before... it looks and sounds beautiful!
Adding movement like this, or even simple layered actions, gives your singers a visual representation of the harmony and keeps the active and engaged.
I hope you are having a great week and that you will find some of these ideas helpful! Happy moving and grooving!