Monday, September 26, 2011

HHM la segunda parte (Part 2)-- La Raspa

"La Raspa" is a traditional dance from Mexico, often taught to school children.  (It is sometimes referred to as the Mexican Hat Dance, but this is incorrect.  The Mexican Hat Dance is a more complicated, flirtatious dance performed by adult dancers.)  I like to show the students a video of children dancing, to give them an idea of the final product we are aiming towards.  They really enjoyed this one:

This is just a home video of someone's school program, but it shows the steps well, along with the traditional costumes and some pretty good little dancers. 

We discuss the form of the piece (rondo), then learn the steps for each section.  I list ABACA on the board, with steps for each, to help them remember.   We partner up, and dance! Sometimes I have kinder and first dance in a circle instead of with partners - it depends on the class. :)

La Raspa is great exercise!  Get extra PE minutes, learn Rondo form, and learn multicultural music all in one fun activity.  It's a great way to start class for a few weeks.   Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's Hispanic Heritage Month!

National Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15 - October 15. (I find it odd that it is not an actual calendar month, but whatever.)  I love HHM--we have so much fun in music!  Over the next three weeks I will be posting some of my favorite lessons and activities for this month. The first is a book that I read in Kinder and First Grade classes: The Best Mariachi in the World by J.D. Smith.

It's about a little boy who wants to be a mariachi, but he's too little.  Until one morning when the village hears him singing.  Awwwww! Happy endings, spanish words, and mariachi music.  :)

In Kinder, we learn the names of the instruments in the mariachi band and color a picture while listening to mariachi music (click here for coloring page).  In first grade, we study the differences between the instruments (guitarron vs. guitar, vihuela vs. violin) and enjoy the same music.  The kids love it! 

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Timer is My Friend

Okay, so this is more of a mom post than a teacher post, but it made my morning so much better I had to share! 

My 10yo son is a dawdler.  Big time.  He can cram a 2 minute task into 15, easy peasy.  This makes mornings at our house a bit frustrating.  Since I drop him off at school on my way to work, he has to be ready to go on time, or mom will be late. Lately I have found myself stressing out every morning, hurrying him out the door, and still getting to his school just in time to get stuck in drop-off traffic. Not cool.  So this morning, I had a brainstorm.  The online stopwatch timer.

I used the Wii in our living room to go online and show the timer--full screen--as it counted down the seconds until time to go.  I didn't even say anything to him, just let it run.  Guess what?  He was ready 5 minutes early!  AWESOME!  I'm thinking Mr. Timer will be our new morning helper.

BTW, this is also a great tool to use in the classroom.  Give students a set amount of time for a task (centers, putting things away, share time, etc.) and let the timer be the bad guy.  There's also a Bomb Countdown that blows up when it gets to zero!

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Beary Special Friend

I have a special friend who visits my kinder classes each year.  His name is Mr. Bear (creative, I know).  He loves to hear children sing, especially his favorite song......."Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear" of course!   He even directs the song, showing the kids the tempo he wants to use before we start.  Sometimes he gets mischevious and gives us really FAST tempos, or really S-L-O-W tempos.  You never know what he'll do next!  When we finish his favorite song, he likes to watch the class from the sidelines.  If he's really impressed with their work, he will give everyone a hug or handshake when they line up.  But noisy, rowdy classes make him nervous.  We have to be careful not to scare him!

I had one class this week who could not get enough of Mr. Bear.  They thought he was so funny!  His arms/paws move, and every time he started to conduct the music, they would bust out laughing!  They nearly died when he touched his toes!  LOL!  Gotta love kinder babies.

The Good, the Bad, and the Average

This week has been all about choir auditions.  I have a 3rd and 4th grade choir that meets after school on Tuesdays all year long.  Last year, I had 55 kids in the choir, and it was really too big.  At least for my school, with just me, it was too many kiddos.  So this year I vowed to stick as close to 40 as I could....<sigh>.  It's so hard to tell a 9-year-old that you didn't choose them.  I'm always worried that they will be scarred for life--but then, it's a life lesson that we don't always get everything we want, right?  Right.  Okay.  They get their results in a sealed envelope, right before they leave school on Friday.  By Monday, most of them will have gotten over not making it, and the ones who did make it will be so excited to "tell" me about it, I'm sure it will be a good day. (But I'll still worry about it until then. I can't help it.)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Orff-Schulwerk Awesomeness

Eric Young, at The Orff-Schulwerk Classroom, is a teacher and presenter.  He shared this video on his blog about building marimbas at your school.  I can't even wrap my brain around all of the logistics of making this happen yet, but I know it's awesome!  I especially love the teaching tips after the photo section of the presentation.  For those of us who are Orff-challenged (okay, just less experienced), it helps to see it broken down into baby steps.  I see myself using this soon...I hope you enjoy it, too!