Hello all and happy October! I'm shocked to say that this is my first blog post of the 2016-17 school year. It's been a crazy busy year for me because this is my first year teaching chorus at one of my schools. Much to get organized and many things to be learned (by the students and me!) I'm also very busy after school and on weekends now because I have recently started singing with the Baltimore Choral Arts Society. It's been a whirlwind of rehearsals and performances, but the thrill of making music at such a high level with some amazing musicians makes it all worthwhile.
All that being said, I couldn't let October slip by without sharing some of the fun new Halloween things I've been doing in my class this month! If you want to read about some of last year's Fall-O-Ween inspired lessons, check out this post.
I'll start off with some great books that have gotten me through this Halloween season. (Please note that some of these are affiliate links to Amazon and I receive a small commission on purchases made through them.)
Last year one of the books I mentioned was The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything. (The lesson on this one practically writes itself... each of the spooky objects can be assigned to a different instrument or body percussion for endless creative variations!) Check out my post from last year to see more.
My next new book, The Haunted Mansion, was something that I stumbled upon while on vacation with my family in Walt Disney World this summer. For those of you who don't know, I used to work for WDW as a part of the Disney College Program, so I go back and visit as often as I can! My niece, who is five years old, loved The Haunted Mansion attraction and I found this gem in the gift shop. It includes beautiful illustrations of each phrase of the song, along with a CD of the original ride soundtrack sung by Earl Ravenscroft (who, incidentally, is stuff of film/TV legend... voice of Tony the Tiger, singer of "You're a Mean One, Mister Grinch." Look him up!) I used this book to discuss high sounds and low sounds with Kindergarten. We talked about Ravenscroft's unique voice and compared it to some other voices we hear.
Last month when the Scholastic book fair rolled through town, I came across this Pete the Cat version of the Five Little Pumpkins. I've often used this song as a fingerplay with PreK, Kindergarten, and first grade. I was so excited to add the book to my lesson this year.
My last new addition this year is Saint-Saëns's Danse Macabre. I often play a recording of this piece and have younger students dance or move with scarves and imagine the storyline. With older kids I will have them complete a listening guide while the music is playing. Now I'm excited to be able to read this book, which is based on the true story of how the composer came to write the piece of music. Did you know that Danse Macabre originally had lyrics? What a great way to discover more about the history of a piece! I'm planning to read this to second grade and up later this week.
... Check back later this week when I'll be sharing a few more of my favorite spooky activities!