Friday, November 14, 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner walk

Have you ever had your kids walk the rhythm to their songs?  It is such a great way to practice and internalize rhythms.  My kids absolutely love to do it.

Recently, I've been teaching my 3rd graders about Bach, especially through his music.  I've used some of Amy Abbott's great ideas on teaching Musette in D from her blog post here.  She also has some great tech tips on how to use Audacity to slow down YouTube recordings.  Read it!  You'll be glad you did :)

Anyway, I had the opportunity to retake Orff Level 1 this past summer.  I'm so glad I did.  The first time I took it, I hadn't even graduated or started teaching yet, and though I loved it then, it was so much more valuable this time as I've been teaching for a few years so I have some background.  I decided to use Amy's ideas but throw in an Orff twist.

I created the following words for Bach's Musette in D that go along with Thanksgiving:

The kids walk the rhythms and say the words.  It also helps when I play recordings of the piece - they can immediately identify the form (so helpful).

I then threw in a Thanksgiving twist.  I created some food cards and laminated them, and spread them around the floor (the cute clip art comes from  I used 9 different "food stations."

Some examples:

The kids walked the rhythms to the piece (I occasionally play them on the piano, but not always - I really want them to internalize them) and have to stop on a food station.  I then drew a card with a food word on it, and the students on that station, as well as the food are eliminated.  The game continues until only one station is left - and those students are declared the winners!

Sounds so simple - but my students absolutely loved this activity.  I extended it to 5th grade, where we are talking about micro beats and macro beats, and they would have to sing a song and walk either beat - depending on what I said.  When I blew a signal on my recorder (which I wear as a necklace at all times), they had to switch to the other type of beat.  When the students were eliminated in this grade, they came to the side, chose a rhythm instrument, and had to play either the micro or macro beat, depending on what was indicated.

You could extend this so many different ways - but my kids had a great time.  Hope you can use this!

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