Lively Lessons

Little Bunny Foo Foo Hopping Through the Forest…

Little Bunny Foo Foo

If you didn’t finish singing the song while moving your hand like a bunny after reading the title of this post then there is something wrong with you. Just sayin’!

I am thirty years-old (shhhh!  Don’t tell!) and I still  LOVE LOVE LOVE Little Bunny Foo Foo!  I look forward to my LBFF lesson every spring!  Honest to goodness the kids can’t get enough of it either.  It’s one of their very favorites and they request it for weeks afterwards.

A few years ago I was bumming around beautiful Old Town Alexandria, Virginia and stumbled into a bookstore where I found this awesome version of Little Bunny Foo Foo by Paul Brett Johnson.  In fact my students loved it so much that they bombarded the poor librarian to check it out.  Unfortunately, she didn’t have my version–which, of course was a complete travesty–so she ordered a copy for the library.

Of course this lesson can stand along without the book.  Just teach your students the song and have fun telling them some version of the story and they’ll love it!

I like to use this lesson from PreK-2nd.  LBFF might seem young for 2nd grade but trust me, they totally dig it!

CLICK HERE FOR LITTLE BUNNY FOO FOO LESSON PLAN

It’s Spring!

peepsqueek

Okay, maybe it’s not technically spring, but we’re getting a little closer everyday!  The weather here in Utah has been lovely the last couple of days.  With our luck we’ll get hit with a massive snowstorm next week.  That’s how we roll.

In celebration of the beautiful weather we’re having–and the fact that I’m currently on spring break and LOVING IT!–I am posting another literature lesson (I know you’re shocked) based on the book Peepsqueak! by Leslie Ann Clark.

This is a great book for teaching melodic direction to your littlest students (preK-1st), and is ideal with xylophones or other melodic instruments. Hope you enjoy it!

CLICK HERE FOR PEEPSQUEAK LESSON PLAN

 

Literature Lesson: Click Clack Moo

clickclackmoo

Sorry guys! I’m a bit behind on posting. This month has been a little rough but I’m back and hoping to post more over the next few weeks to make up for my absence.

So I’m sure you have noticed that I have a thing for using books in the music classroom. During my first year of teaching elementary music in D.C. I struggled a bit with controlling the behaviors of some of my younger K-2 classes. I remember seeking advice from the school librarian one day regarding a couple of the classes in particular. After she kindly listened to my sob story about how nothing was working she commented that she really didn’t have too much difficulty with those classes. I can only imagine the look I shot her before she quickly amended her statement saying: “I’m lucky I guess. It’s just that I’ve never met a child who doesn’t love being read to.” The light bulb in my head immediately lit up. She was right. Kids love stories and if I could teach music concepts through stories then I could surely engage those difficult students. Literature-based music lessons became my obsession.

Last summer I had the opportunity to help teach a graduate early childhood music course and during that time I shared a bunch of my literature lessons with some of the students. Yesterday I received an email from one of the students inquiring about my Click Clack Moo lesson because she wanted to share it this week with her kindergarteners. Since it’s one of my favorites I thought it was time for me to post it on here.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE LESSON PLAN

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD ORFF ARRANGEMENT

I hope you enjoy it!

Here’s a little video of the story with the typewriter sound effects. Not sure how I feel about the ominous music in the background though…

Literature Lesson: Love Splat!

Love, Splat

I know, I know.  I’ve already posted about Valentine’s Day.  I can’t help it though.  I love holidays!  Last year right before Valentine’s Day I was walking through Wal-Mart wracking my brain for ideas my K-2 music classes and I spotted the little gem Love, Splat!

I had seen the Splat books before and had always thought that they looked cute so I picked up Love, Splat and started thumbing through it.  Unfortunately, as I read through it I didn’t really see any obvious way to turn it into a music lesson.  I bought it anyway–what can I say, I’m a bit of a shopaholic!  Once I got home I read through it again and decided that I would have to create my own refrain for the story.  I created a simple little So-Mi-Do song about Splat the Cat, decided the refrain would work best with an easy boomwhacker ostinato and added some incidental instruments for a few key words in the story.  I felt pretty good about the whole thing until it dawned on me that since the refrain isn’t really a part of the story there wasn’t a real seamless way for the students to transition from the story to the refrain.  I decided to cure that little problem with heart stickers.  I stuck a heart stick on every other page or so of the story where I wanted the kids to sing the refrain.  It ended up working out great because it gave something for the kids to be looking out for as the story was read!

The lesson is great for focusing on So-Mi-Do, ta and ti-ti rhythm patterns, keeping a steady beat, and instrument timbre–have the students pick out the best instruments to accompany Splat’s rumbling tummy and other fun words.

Click Here for the ‘Love Splat’ Lesson Plan

My Funny Valentine

It’s that time of year!  Every isle of every store seems to be dripping in pink and red!  With Valentine’s day a couple of weeks away I thought I would remind you that this is the PERFECT time to buy lots of these…

photo

So that you can make these…

ValentinesHearts

Rhythm hearts are great for rhythmic dictation and composition activities!

You can even pair them with a cute little song like this…

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 11.24.56 PM

But how would you pair the two activities you ask?  It dawned on me during my extremely lengthy commute this morning that you could use the song and the rhythm compositions to make a larger piece–great opportunity to talk about form!  First teach the song.  Once the students are familiar with the song have all of the students compose their own 8 beats of rhythm using the foam hearts.  Pick one student to walk around with a “valentine” (special decorated heart, note in an envelope, whatever you like) while the class sings the first verse of the song.  By the end of the first verse the student with the “valentine” should place it in front of another student who will then perform their rhythm composition (hands, rhythm sticks, orff instruments set in the C major pentatonic scale, your choice!).  Once the student finishes playing their composition they pick up the “valentine” to pass off to another student while the class sings verse two.  Rinse and repeat!

Download the ValentineCircleSong here

If you do this activity let me know how it goes!