Fall is here! I love fall weather and all things fall. Except for Pumpkin, I’m one of those few Americans who doesn’t like the flavor of pumpkin. But give me some apples and I will go crazy!
I love doing songs that can be used multiple years with the idea of spiraling the curriculum. One of the ones I use in the fall for this concept is Let Us Chase the Squirrel. The simple melody and rhythm can be used for so many different activities and lessons it is great for different age levels. Here are some basics of how I use it in my different classes, if you would like to find out more you can always check out my version on my Teachers Pay Teachers site : Let Us Chase the Squirrel
At the beginning of the year I like to start with how voices and melodies move up and down. Having a squirrel climb up and down the tree is a great way for students to visualize this. When we sing the song and have our squirrels chase up and down our “tree” arms. Then I take the students to the barred instruments and we look at them like they are trees and play a glissando going up and down when the squirrel goes up and down. Then we move the instruments so that they are sideways, like normal, and see if we can still go up and down the tree as before.
After reviewing the song from 1st grade, even taking some time to review up and down on the instruments, we move on to doing the song with new rhythm notes. At the beginning of 2nd grade we are reviewing ta, ta-di, and rest, but also getting ready to introduce half notes. I use this song to introduce those half notes to my 2nd graders. Since there is only 1 half note and it is at the end of the song it is easy for them to find. I use icon symbols first when finding the rhythm then transfer it to notation for them to learn. We even practice putting the rhythms of the song in the correct order.
Our review at the beginning of 3rd grade centers around the Pentatonic scale. We review Do, Re, Mi, So and La. This song uses DRM & S. After reviewing the rhythm, we then can place the notes on the staff using icons or notation. I also have my students transfer the “Let Us Chase the Squirrel” melody to the barred instruments. We play the 1st and 3rd phrases and then just sing the 2nd and 4th ones.
I love songs that can be used multiple years because the students already feel successful when they are starting out and then you can see the lightbulbs light up when you show them something new about the song. Have a great week and a happy fall!!