Friday, August 21, 2015

Little Sally Water - add shapes!

Many of you know the folk song "Little Sally Water."  It's in the good old 150 American Folk Songs (orange book), and I've used it for years.

It's wonderful for teaching so-mi-la - and especially for isolating so-mi on the "turn to the east" part.  I've used this with my kinders for high/low and then labeled the solfa in 1st grade.  Great, great song.  The original game is also fun for my kids:

The children stand in a circle, joining hands.  One child stands in the middle as "Sally," covering his or her eyes as the rest sing the song.  "Sally" imitates the song throughout, pointing at another player at the end of the song, still covering their eyes so the choice is accidental.  The chosen player becomes "Sally," goes to the center, and the game starts again.

Fine.  Simple game, and the kids do enjoy it, but do get bored easily.  So, I've been trying to think of different ways to do this, as I do love the song and it is great for teaching so many things.  And then it came to me - movement!

As I've been going through my Orff levels (I completed Level 2 this past summer) I've really been trying to incorporate a lot more movement in my classroom.  I love using Kodaly approaches to music literacy and beautiful singing, but the Orff improvisation and movement really speak to me as well.  I feel that really, you can tie both approaches together, and your students end up better musicians.  Anyway, one thing we worked on a lot in my Orff classes was creative movement, and creating different kinds of shapes with our bodies.  The Laban Movement Analyses words for the 4 basic kinds of shapes are ball, pin, screw, and wall.  Here are some pictures of my adorable daughter demonstrating these types of shapes:

Ball shapes are rounded shapes.  

Pin shapes have sharp angles.

Screw shapes are twisted. 

Wall shapes are large and flat.

So, as a class, we decided that "Sally" was going to find a shape he/she liked.  Students sang the song and walked around "Sally," as regular, but on the words "east," "west," and "best/next," they created different statues.  "Sally" would then walk around, find a statue he/she liked, and copy that shape.  The student whose shape was copied would then become the next "Sally."

I loved this, because the kids were improvising/arranging what they already knew.  They were practicing making different types of shapes, and we were labeling them with new vocabulary!  I also loved that it really eliminated any kind of talking we had going on before - because their statues had to stay still (including no talking!)

How else would you improvise on this?

I've also created an analysis file you can use to present ta/ti-ti or so mi la to your kids on Teachers Pay Teachers here.

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