Ms. Martin's Music Room

Resources and reflections on what my classroom teaches me.


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L is for Listen

Our book, I am not sleepy and I will not go to bed, by Lauren Child, features so many ideas for music listening and activities! For this lesson, I decided to focus on birds.

Materials needed:

Listening Journals and colored pencils or crayons OR

construction paper (or small “lunch-sized” paper sacks), glue, scissors, beady eyes, and colorful feathers

(substitute and get creative with the materials, such as using coffee stirrers for legs, as you desire)

OBJECTIVE: Student will identify bird sound themes in three pieces by different composers and either draw or create pictures of their ideas of the birds depicted. Older or more advanced students will identify the instruments used to create the bird sounds.

1) Re-read the book to the children, so the scene with Charlie trying to convince Lola to go to bed because “all the birds have gone to sleep” is fresh in their minds.

2) Have students listen to each of three short piece which feature bird sounds (take your pick of the several posted below). Encourage students to listen for the bird sounds, and to imagine what kind of bird might make them.

3) Briefly discuss the bird sounds presented with the group in each piece. Was the bird large and graceful like a swan, or tiny and quick like a finch? (Students may respond well to pictures of birds, but be aware that if you show a picture of a finch, your students will create pictures of finches for you, rather than creating their own image. The purpose of this exercise is to encourage students to use the cues from the music to determine what the bird will look like.) Was the bird regal and fierce like an eagle, or sort of clumsy like a penguin on land?

(Older or more advanced groups of students: discuss the instruments created to make the bird sounds, and perhaps include a rhythm exercise to imitate them here.)

4) Pass out materials – either a listening journal, where students can draw and color their imagined birds, or bags or construction paper for larger, more elaborate models, depending on time and resources. If the more elaborate models are created, make sure to display them proudly (once everyone has made their own) for all the world to see!

Here are some of the fantastic short bird songs I found:

(Papageno the birdcatcher has finally found his love Papagena again, and they plan the many children they will have together – The Magic Flute, by W.A.Mozart).

(The Goldfinch – “Il Cardellino,” by Antonio Vivaldi)

(Theme for the Bird from “Peter and the Wolf,” by Prokofiev)

(Tchaikovsky, “Song of the Lark”)

(Modest Mussorgsky, “The Ballet of Unhatched Chicks” from “Pictures at an Exhibition”)

Have fun!

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I is for Instruments

Goodnight Lola

Good Night, Lola

Students will play “Good Night, Lola” to demonstrate ability to read music and play basic notes on the recorder.

By this point in the story, Lola is actually beginning to be very tired, but not so tired that she’s making things easy for Charlie.

Goodnight Lola 2

As part of the “Instrument” lesson, allow the students time to practice and play the song(s) they composed during the “Create” activity last week.


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C is for Create

Student will participate in composing and performing a song based on the action words and story elements in the book “I am not sleepy and will not go to bed.”

Here’s a fun and silly bedtime song to get things started:

1. Remind students of the action verbs and the rhythms created in the class in the previous lesson.

2. Either read the book again, or have the students participate in a “recap” of the events as you turn pages.

3. Divide the class into groups. Encourage each group to create a short song using the story elements and the previously created rhythms as they wish (some classes may need to work in a large group if they are new to this type of Create activity). Students can use instruments in their songs as they desire.

4. Have each group perform their songs. This is a good time to work on being a good audience member. Record the songs for later playback, and as a record of the activity.


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R is for Rhythm

The student will clap or play rhythms for the action words in the book “I am not sleepy and I will not go to bed.”

Image

The class will go through each action word, miming the action and then determining a rhythm pattern for each. These rhythms will be written on the board and practiced by all. Use questions like “Is this a slow, regular pattern, or a fast, irregular one?” and “Is this a hard or a soft sound?” to help guide the students.

These rhythms will be saved to use as part of creating a song in the next lesson.


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M is for Movement

Behavioral Objective: The student will work with classmates to create a dance using the action words found in the book I am not sleepy and I will not go to bed  by Lauren Child.

Selections from “The Dance of the Hours” by Amilcare Ponchielli would make grand music to imagine to:

1. Read the text (this should be a review of the text, not a first reading). Have students help keep track of action words and make a list.

2. For each action word, allow the students to work together to create movements. Younger students may need to choose a few of their favorite words from the list to avoid being overwhelmed.

3. Play key sections of the music, encouraging students to fit their movements to it. It may help to decide what “mood” each section has with the students before they select movements. Encourage students to play with the idea of telling a story with the music and movement. A list of “key” elements in the piece are listed below.

4. If time and student interest permit, put it all together: play the ballet, allowing students to express themselves and helping them to remember what movements go where. If students are losing interest in one section, skip ahead. For the finale, let them cut loose and dance freely until the big finish.

Key time marks to remember:

1:36 – big “attention getting” dramatic chord progression

2:05 the “hello muddah” section begins – a great place for animal dances or action verbs

3:30 shift to the slower motive, perhaps “oh, but aren’t you sleepy, Lola?” pantomime with older children

4:09 back to main “hello muddah” theme

4:28 the bridge (Take me home) section

5:36 slower section, perhaps we’re winding down, getting tired, putting on pj’s

8:28 Beginning of Coda/Finale section – everybody MOVE!

Once the unit is complete, if time and student interest permits, it might be fun to watch the actual ballet:

Or the Disney “Fantasia” version with the dancing hippos:

Older children would probably get a kick out of this version: