Music With Mrs. Tanenblatt

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Autumn Manipulatives

Despite the fact that it's still tee shirt weather in Maryland, there's no denying that fall is here. With it comes the opportunity to use some great seasonal manipulatives in the classroom. For the past few weeks I've been using some fun objects to celebrate the season...

1. Fall Leaves
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I found these great foam cutouts at a local crafts store a few years ago and they have been my go-to fall prop. I have my Kindergarten and first grade students wave them around to follow the contour of one of my favorite fall songs, "Down, Down, Yellow and Brown." I don't have sheet music for this song; I learned it aurally in college, but here are the words (the melody for the first verse is a descending major scale, and an ascending one on the way up):

Down, down, yellow and brown,
The leaves are falling all over town.
Up, up, up, they fly,
Over the roof, back into the sky.

The students love to make their leaves sway back and forth as we sing the song in triple meter and move the leaves up and down to match the pitches in the song.

2. Autumn Clip-It!
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I first saw an activity like this on pinterest and I loved the idea that you can give the students clothespins to clip the rhythms that they hear. I wanted to make one with an autumn theme so I found some great fall backgrounds and made this Clip-It! game. Fortunately I had a bunch of clothespins left over from my wedding d├ęcor over the summer so I was able to bring those in for the extra sensory input.  It was a great formative assessment for me to quickly walk around the room and see who could identify rhythm patterns as I read them.

You can purchase this and more rhythmically complex versions of Autumn Clip-It! from my Teachers Pay Teachers store here.

3. Halloween Bat Buddies

I am currently in my third year of teaching, and my position has been split between multiple schools. Because of this, I have had the rare opportunity to experience the school culture at four different elementary schools. Some of my schools completely avoid the subject of Halloween; they have "word parades" instead of Halloween costume parades and do not allow any mention of the holiday whatsoever. I also teach at one school that completely embraces the holiday! In fact, I'll be at that school this year and because of their Halloween parade and class parties, I won't even be teaching regular music classes at all that day.

During the weeks preceding I love doing Halloween activities like this one: I have written spooky words on some of the bats and the rhythms that match them on others. The students will get one bat each and need to find their "bat buddy." They have to clap the syllables of their spooky words and figure out what rhythm would match it. I love any activity that gets students to randomly match up with a partner that they might not have worked with otherwise.

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These are just three of the ideas I've been using so far this fall. I hope to find even more seasonally inspired activities that my students will enjoy!

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