Thursday, February 9, 2012

When I Was a Baby

K-6, Music and Science (20-30 minutes)

“When I Was a Baby” from Jump Jim Joe: Great Singing Games for Children, New England Dancing Masters Productions (includes CD), life cycle handouts/visuals; my university class also recorded this traditional singing game on youtube (see below); some space for movement

Science (life cycles)
Music (traditional chant, creating new lyrics)
Dance (creating actions and non-locomotor movement sequences)
Language Arts (group collaboration, composing text)
Social Studies (the role of music in various cultures)
  • Learn “When I Was a Baby” and sing it as a class on multiple occasions
  • Discuss the purposes/functions of this singing game
  • Discuss the human life cycle relative to the game
  • Explore additional ways to keep the beat throughout the game
  • As a class, adapt the parts of the singing game to include additional or different parts of the life cycle.
  • As a class or in groups (depending on additional help available in class) review the life cycles of various animals or insects and adapt them to the singing game (It might be helpful to use this sentence and fill in the blanks: “When I was a (stage in life cycle) . . . this is what I did. I went (action) this-a-way . . .”)
  • Discuss elements of a quality performance; practice and refine performances

Video record the final performances, view, and discuss as a class

Singin' About the Food Chain

I developed this lesson for and with my son's class when he was in second grade. I played my guitar to accompany the singing. They loved the activity! And, the students remembered the song years after we sang it and wrote the original verses together in class.

Objectives: All students will adapt facts about the food chain as verses for the song, Skip to My Lou (see attachment) and create a rhythmic accompaniment to their verse using body percussion.

Standards: Music—Improvise simple rhythmic accompaniments; Science—Food Chains

Preparation: Food Chain handout or projected image (information about food chains and webs for students to read)

Anticipatory Set: Echo rhythms
Teaching (input, model, check for understanding, individual and group practice, etc.)
  • Give the students the food chain handout and read the first section together
  • Sing the food chain chorus for the students (to the tune of Skip to My Lou)
Food chain, food chain, food chain
Food chain, food chain, food chain
Food chain, food chain, food chain
Singin’ about the food chain.
  • Invite the students to sing along
  • Demonstrate and have the students imitate the actions for the song (roll arms until the last word of the line and then touch side of face with right hand and left hand to right elbow end of each line, clap the rhythm on the last line)
  • As a class, make up a verse that has a sentence from the food chain handout (such as “Carnivores eat only meat”) repeated three times and followed by “Singin’ about the food chain.”
  • As a class, add a repeated body percussion pattern along with the verse.
  • Divide the class into groups and have them each come up with a verse and a rhythm accompaniment for it. Maybe give each group a different part of the food chain to define.
Closure: Perform the food chain. Have each group perform their verse. At the beginning have all the students sing the chorus and then repeat the chorus after each verse.

Extension: Write down all of the verses and the chorus and repeat the song during subsequent class periods.

Found Sounds

This lesson is an easy (and free!) combination of music and science learning objectives. Students in fifth, sixth, or seventh grades will likely be able to accomplish the objectives of this lesson without lengthy preparation. It could also be adapted for younger students. The initial lesson can easily extend into additional projects. 

Objectives: Students will explore the properties of sound on improvised percussion instruments.

Standards: Science
  • Describe how sound energy is transferred by wave-like disturbances that spread away from the source through a medium, describe how changes in energy cause changes in loudness and pitch or a sound, predict how the properties of the medium (e.g. air, water, empty space, rock) affect the speed of different types of mechanical waves (i.e. earthquake, sound)
Standards: Music
  • Echo rhythmic and melodic patterns of increasing complexity on classroom instruments
  • Improvise short rhythmic and melodic patterns
  • Create and notate a rhythmic and/or melodic ostinato accompaniment within the teacher’s specified guidelines
Classroom space for discovering sounds

Anticipatory Set
 Find out what students know about how sound travels

Teaching Proces
  • Walk around the room and hit or scrape different things to make sound
  • Discuss why some things sound different from others (what they are made of, how thick they are, etc.)
  • Experiment as a class with ways to alter the sounds (use something different to strike an object, for example)
  • Have class members find their own sound somewhere in the room
  • Have the class echo four-count patterns initiate by the teacher or a student leader
  •  Have the class make up their own patterns to answer the leader’s patterns
  •  Have the class members each make up a complementary pattern to be played at the same time as the leader’s repeated pattern to make a class “groove.” In other words, start the repeating pattern and invite others to join in gradually, “grooving” with the initial pattern but not overpowering it
  • Divide the class into groups to develop their own grooves
  • Have the groups invent notation to represent their grooves
Closure:  Let each group play their groove for the class

Extensions: Use the grooves to accompany raps, poems, songs, or times-tables.