Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Peek at My Week: End of the Year

It's almost the end of the year but we are still going strong surviving!! Here's a peek at what's going on in my classroom this week!

My 1st graders are learning "La" by using the song Bounce High, Bounce Low! This is a great song to physically feel the high and low and "middle" pitches. The game is fantastic for the kids to see the other kids hold the beach ball up when they are holding it down - they self-correct as they get another turn to hold the ball.

As we are learning the song, we all hold an imaginary beach ball in our hands and they "follow my beach ball" as I sing. I move the ball with the contour of the notes while we sing. Then we get in a circle and do the same thing, but I go get a real beach ball. This stirs lots of giggles and excitement!

I say, "I need to see who's ready to play the game." I hold the beach ball in my hands and walk around to each student (in random order) and sing the song. They put their hands on mine and move the beach ball "middle-high-middle-low" with me. Then I say, "She's ready for the game," and move to the next student.

By the time I get to about half of the class, they are whispering, "What's the game?" Then I join their circle and when we say "Shi-loh" I pass the ball to the student beside me. I quickly say, "When did I pass her the ball?" "On Shiloh" "Let's play!"

After about 4 students have moved the ball up and down with the contour, I say, "Freeze!" and when everyone is frozen I say, "I love playing with one ball... but I think it would be more fun with two!" Giggles. Screams. Titters of excitement.

We repeat this until they have 4 balls. Those go around the circle and back to me, and then back under my desk. Then we sit and face the SMART board, and tap the contour of the melody:

My first graders are in love with the interactive white board - they will do anything to get a turn! We use our mallets, fairy wands or a white board stylus to point to the contour.

The next week is aural questioning: "Which beat has the highest sound?" "Which beat has the lowest sound?" They have to verbalize what the pitches are doing.

The visual representation is the following week. That's this week! The students use the four beach balls to create a physical representation of the contour. It is so cute to see them try to hold the beach ball high or low or wherever their friend moves their hand. I have to help them a LOT with this - No, Susie, she put your hands up, you have to keep them there.

And of course we do individual assessments as well - they each create this phrase with unifix cubes. See pictures here. This helps me see which individuals need more help.

This week is also the time when I bring the game back with more beach balls!!! Remember we stopped at 4 beach balls last time? I do the same process again with 11 beach balls and it gets very silly, but it's so much fun. Here's what it will look like in my class this week:

That will leave me just enough time the last few weeks of school to present the sound, notation and play it on instruments!!


What are you doing at the end of the year?