Sunday, December 20, 2015

Week Fifteen in Review (Dec. 14 - Dec. 18)

Greetings from the music room! It was a another exciting week of singing, moving, and playing instruments! Here are some of the highlights:

Kindergarten students, in addition to reviewing the songs and concepts form last week, enjoyed moving to Trepak from The Nutcracker. Students learned a variety of movements that portrayed the music as well as the overall form of the piece. Students enjoyed this activity so much that many of the children joyfully asked to do it once again!  In fact, Mrs. Aaronson ended up doing this activity so many times that she woke up with very sore arms on Saturday morning! Students also played jingle bells and lumni sticks along with the song Jingle Bells. This provided students with the opportunity to keep a steady beat using instruments while also experiencing the verse/refrain form of the song. Students also practiced singing loudly and quietly to the song Oh My, No More Pie.

First grade students practiced reading quarter notes (ta) and eighth notes (ti-ti) to a song called Hanukah is Here. Students sang the song while one child created a four beat rhythm pattern on the interactive white board. At the end of the song, all students read the pattern out loud. Students also worked with a partner to learn a Dance for Hanukah. This fast paced song required the students to move quickly as they kept the beat and experienced the AB form of the song through movement. Students also played triangles during the song Starlight, Starbright, a song that will be used in January to practice decoding quarter notes and eighth notes. Lastly, students practiced writing four beat quarter note and eighth note patterns using popsicle sticks and learned a new song called Naughty Kitty Cat. This new song will be used to introduce quarter rest.

This student wrote a four beat rhythm using stick notation (music notes without the note heads).

Students worked with partners to write the same rhythm clapped by the teacher.

Second grade students worked together to successfully decode the melodic notes (solfege) to the song Snail, Snail. Students listened closely and discovered where their new high note (la) occurs in the song. Students also enjoyed adding bean bags to the song Plainsies, Clapsies. This song, which will be used to teach melodic note la, contains lyrics which give directions for tossing the bean bag. These directions include tossing the bean bag and touching your knees before you catch the bean bag and turning around and trying to catch the bean bag behind your back. This game can also be played outside by bouncing a ball against a wall. Students also practiced quarter notes and eighth notes through a body percussion and rhythm stick activity to Chinese Dance from The Nutcracker. Lastly, students worked in small groups to create a rhythmic chant containing a sweet holiday treat. Examples included chocolate chip cookies, red and white candy canes, and pumpkin pie. 

Third grade students learned a new melodic note this week - la! Students discovered that this new note is a step higher than sol by filling in the solfege to all of the notes that they knew in Great Big House in New Orleans. Students then focused on the unknown note and stated whether they thought the unknown note was higher or lower than sol and by how much. Students then discovered that all of the melodic notes they know thus far (do re mi sol and la) create the pentatonic scale. Students learned a new song called Burn Little Candles and performed this song in ABA form while playing tambourines, xylophones, and triangles. Lastly, students moved to March from The Nutcracker. This week students copied the teacher's movements, but next week students will create their own movements in a question and answer style format. 

Fourth grade students continued to test for orange belt (Merrily We Roll Along) and practiced the recorder note E this week in the green belt song It's Raining. Students also began learning the recorder fingering for low D as students will need to know this note in order to test for the purple belt song Old MacDonald Had a Farm. Students were also offered copies of the song Jolly Old St. Nicholas as this song can be played using recorder notes B-A-G-E-D. 

Fifth grade students were given the opportunity to practice Tomorrow Reprise and the two sections of the Annie script that had been selected for auditions. Students also began watching sections of the movie Annie in class. This week students watched the opening scenes and stopped at the scene where Grace Farrell asks Mr. Warbucks if they can keep Annie.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Week Fourteen in Review (Dec. 7 - Dec. 11)

Greetings from the music room! It was a another exciting week of singing, moving, and playing instruments! Here are some of the highlights:

Kindergarten began a loud and quiet assessment this week through the use of the song Listen, Listen. After each repetition of this song, one student was asked to play a drum either loudly or quietly. The class then had to identify whether the student played loudly or quietly. Students were assessed based on their ability to perform loud or quiet drumming. Students continued to study the difference between fast and slow through the chant Grandma Moses and the song Take My Little Car for a Ride. In Take My Little Car for a Ride the students get pulled over by a police officer for driving too fast! They must then drive slower in order to avoid getting pulled over once again. Students also began learning a Spanish chant entitled Bate, Bate and enjoyed working with partners to act out the chant's words. Lastly, students began learning the songs Dr. Knickerbocker and We Clap Our Hands Together. Both of these songs are being used to practice keeping a steady beat.

First grade students were formally introduced to quarter notes (ta) and eighth notes (ti-ti) this week! After learning about these notes through the song We Are Dancing in the Forest, students were introduced to a game called poison rhythm. In this game, one four-beat rhythmic pattern was designated as the poison rhythm. The teacher clapped multiple rhythmic patterns and the students echoed; the goal of the game was for the students to echo every pattern except the poison pattern. Students also learned a new song called Snail, Snail which will be used to help students practice sol and mi patterns. Students practiced sol and mi this week by reading four-beat rhythmic patterns from a series of flashcards. Students also practiced keeping a beat to the song Starlight, Starbright by pretending to gather stars from the sky and place them into a basket. Next week students will add triangles to this song and practice reading quarter notes and eighth notes in order to place the song's rhythm in the correct order.

Second grade students continued preparing to learn new  melodic note la through the song We Are Dancing in the Forest. Students sang the song using the 'words' sol, mi, and high while performing solfege hand signs. Students also learned a new la song called Snail, Snail and played a game in which students circled around and around just like the shell of a snail. Students also practiced Starlight, Starbright which is another song that will be used to introduce melodic note la. Lastly, students performed an ostinato (a short repeated pattern) to the chant 2,4,6,8. This ostinato was performed first by using body percussion and then played on xylophones. After students mastered the ostinato, it was combined with words to the chant. Students were divided into two groups: students who played the ostinato on xylophones and students who played the rhythm of the chant on rhythm sticks. In addition to helping students develop the ability to play more than one part to a song, this activity will be reviewed next week in order to begin introducing half note. Lastly, students began learning a new song called Plainsies, Clapsies. This bean bag tossing game will be used to practice melodic note la.

Third grade students added a sol-mi ostinato to to song Grandma Grunts this week. After successfully performing the ostinato and the song, students added a third part to the song by playing a half note pulse on the xylophones. Students also performed a do and sol ostinato for the song Remember Me on the xylophones. Students were led to discover that do re and mi are a step apart on the xylophone as well as on the music staff and that mi and sol are similarly a skip apart. Students also practiced do re mi and sol by playing a game called Steal the Bacon. In this game, students raced to find the music notation flashcard that matched the pattern sung by the teacher. Students earned extra points for their team by singing the pattern on their own. Students received one extra point for using the correct solfege syllables and another point for singing the correct pitches. Lastly, students played a quarter note, eighth note, and quarter rest rhythm game that required them to choose the correct answer from five different options.

Fourth grade students continued to test for yellow belt (Gently Sleep) and began learning the orange belt song (Merrily We Roll Along). Students also began to test for orange belt and learned a new note on the recorder - E! Students will need to know this note in order to practice their green belt song, It's Raining. As It's Raining is a rather challenging song, students were provided with copies of the song Rain, Rain which practices E but is less challenging. 

Fifth grade students began preparing for their Annie Kids auditions this week. Students were given a brief synopsis of the musical's story and a description of its characters. Students were introduced to the song Tomorrow by watching a clip from the 1999 version of the movie which contains this song as well as the scene between Lt. Ward and Annie which is found in the audition packet. Students then began learning Tomorrow Reprise. Click here to listen to a recording of this version of the song. Students were also given the opportunity to practice reading small sections of the script with partners. Please remember that auditions for solo singing and speaking roles are on Thursday, December 17th and Friday, December 18th. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Week Thirteen in Review (Nov. 30 - Dec. 4)

Greetings from the music room! It was a another exciting week of singing, moving, and playing instruments! Here are some of the highlights:

Kindergarten students learned a new song this week called Cobbler, Cobbler. This song is being used to reinforce the concept of steady beat as well as help students learn the difference between fast and slow. Students also continued their practice of fast and slow using the songs The Noble Duke of York and Rig-a-jig-jig. Students explored the range of their voices by following the shape of a pipe cleaner. After Mrs. Aaronson created a few letters and asked the students to follow their shape, then students were asked to offer suggestions of letters to try. Two favorite letters were 'O' and 'L'. Lastly, students continued to learn about the difference between loud and quiet through Robert Munsch's story Mortimer. In this story, there is a young boy who, instead of going to sleep, sings at the top of his lungs. Students began adding xylophones to this story as characters walked up and down the stairs to tell Mortimer to be quiet! 

First grade students learned the musician's syllables sol and mi this wee! In addition to learning the notes' names, students learned the hand signs and the staff placement rules for these notes. Students then practiced their new notes by decoding the teacher's hand signs and moving the first phrase of the song Bluebells into different positions on the staff. Students also entered the final stages of preparation for quarter notes and eighth notes by playing a body notation game. In this game, students worked in small groups to create patterns of longs and short-shorts (quarter notes and eighth notes). Due to the high rate of student success in this activity, students will formally learn about quarter notes and eighth notes next week! Go first grade!

Second grade students began improvising during the song and game We Are Dancing in the Forest. In the game, students dance in the forest while the wolf is far away, but he may soon come and catch them! Solo improvisers answer the question "Wolf are you coming?" by responding "Yes, I am coming." or "No, I'm not coming, I'm ______." Students created great responses to "No, I'm not coming" such as "I'm practicing ballet," "I'm cooking mac and cheese," and "I'm eating the three little pigs." Students also improvised during a chant called "Mabel, Mabel." In this chant, students needed fill in the blank: Mablel, Mabel set the table don't forget the _______. Answers for this activity included pizza, ham, pumpkin pie, cheese, and table cloth. In addition, students continued to practice sol and mi by singing a sol-mi ostinato during the song Grandma Grunts (For an extra challenge, students played the half note pulse on xylophones). Students also decoded to the rhythm to the chant 2,4,6,8.

Third grade students practiced their new note, sol, through the songs Grandma Grunts and Remember Me. After moving to the beat and to the half note pulse, students were asked to aurally discover the location of sol in Grandma Grunts. After the location of sol was discovered, students sang the song and performed the sol hand sign during each occurrence. Many students also discovered the location of the pattern mi re do in this song! In addition, students learned the song Remember Me and a do-sol ostinato which was performed at the same time as the song. Next week, students will transfer this ostinato to the xylophones. Students also continued to practice the song Great Big House in New Orleans as it will be used to introduce the melodic note 'la' later this month.

Fourth grade learned a five step process for practicing the recorder. In class, we went through this process step by step and discussed how practicing in small sections and isolating problem areas leads to successful practicing.
  1. Name the letters.
  2. Name the letters in rhythm.
  3. Repeat step #2 and press down fingers.
  4. Play.
  5. Locate problem areas.
In addition, students began learning the song Gently Sleep and testing for their yellow belts. Students were also encouraged to begin practicing the orange belt song, Merrily We Roll Along, at home to prepare for the upcoming week.

Fifth grade prepared for their rhythm post-assessment this week. Students listened to the beginning of Bach's Little Fugue in G minor and discovered that it contains many dotted quarter and eighth notes. Students also reviewed a series of rhythms studied in the rhythm unit by writing the correct rhythm on a white board from eight possible choices. Students also reviewed syncopation through the song Alabama Gal and had the opportunity to play syncopated patterns on the xylophone. Students completed their rhythm post-assessment on Thursday. Next week, students will begin preparing for Annie Kids auditions.

Below is the cast list of characters for the Annie Kids musical.

Annie Kids Cast List
Annie (solo singing)
Oliver Warbucks (solo singing/speaking)
Molly (solo singing)
Rooster Hannigan (solo singing/speaking)
Kate (solo singing)
Sandy (howling/barking)
Tessie (solo singing)
Drake And Servants
Pepper (solo singing)
Apple Seller (speaking)
July (solo singing)
Lt. Ward (speaking)
Duffy (solo singing)
Bert Healy (speaking)
Orphans (singing in group)
Bundles (speaking)
Miss Hannigan (solo singing)
President Franklin D. Roosevelt (speaking)
Grace Farrell (solo singing/speaking)
Louis Howe (speaking)
Lily St. Regis (solo singing/speaking)
New Yorkers (group singing)
Stars-to-be (group singing)

Usherette (speaking)

New Yorkers (group singing)

Friday, December 4, 2015

First Grade May Informance

Dear Parents and Guardians:

I hope that you all had a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving break! I am writing to invite you to please take out your May calendar and mark down a very special date. During the third week of May, each first grade class will be hosting an evening ‘informance’. What is an informance? I am so glad you asked! It is a family participatory event in which families are invited to sing songs, dance, and play musical games alongside of their first grade students. This will be an opportunity for first graders to shine and truly show-off all of the musical skills that they have developed this year. As first grade is a time in which students develop basic music reading skills, you will be able to see your child read and perform simple rhythms and melodies. I am so proud of the progress that our students have made thus far this year and I cannot wait to show you a year’s worth of progress in May!

Please get out your calendar now and mark down these very important dates:

Tues. May 17th from 6:30-7:15 p.m. in the LLE gym - Mrs. Bandy's class

Wed. May 18th from 6:30-7:15 p.m. in the LLE gym - Mrs. Doran's class

Thurs. May 19th from 6:30-7:15 p.m. in the LLE gym - Mrs. Tisdall's class

I look forward to seeing you in May! Please feel free to email me if you have any questions.


Mrs. Aaronson