I love fall!!!! The changing colors, the cool crisp air, snuggling up on a cold night. I also love all the music that I can do when it comes to fall. I am making this post in 2 parts so that it doesn’t get too long.
This first song I used with my first graders this past week and they loved it. I used it mainly as an inspiration for some creative movement with them. I taught the song by rote. Students were able to recognize that my voice and theirs were going down and then up. We then decided to move like the leaves. At first the students just waved their hands and arms like leaves falling. But, after a few times I asked them “do leaves just fall straight down out of trees? Or do they blow all over the place” Of course they blow all over the place.
Here is a link to pinterest where I found it: Falling Leaves
Then the students started to get more of their bodies involved in the movement. They were using arms, legs, hands, heads, and everything inbetween. They were floating and falling all over the room. The next couple classes I then used this as a quick warm up for their voices and bodies.
This time of year I start to introduce the concept of 3/4 time to my 3rd graders. We have done songs in 3/4 before but never talked about the meter and the notes involved. We discovered the dotted half note during this lesson as well. Students then worked to compose their own rhythms and can even put those rhythms on either unpitched or pitched percussion. See the full lesson ideas below as well as a link to my TPT store, where this lesson if FREE!!!
Movement: Begin the lesson by having the students move to different meters. I play the steady beat on my drum while students move around the room to the beat. Make sure to encourage them to move in “interesting” ways using different pathways and ways to travel. Then I try a meter of 2, having 2 different sounds (drum and tambourine) to show the strong and weak beats. Students have to show the meter with their movement. We change one more time to show the meter of 3. We talk about the difference in strong and weak beats.
Rhythm reading with bar lines: Now that they have the feel for the meter of 3, I show them the rhythm of the song on the board (powerpoint). We work to find out where to put the bar lines when we have 3 beats in a measure.
Dotted half note: At the end of the song is a dotted half note. This is the first time seeing it for my students, so we take a few minutes to talk about it. For my “higher” kids I do go through a mini math lesson talking about the way the dot influences the note values. My higher kids get the math of it and my lower kids just sit and listen, great way to differentiate.
Solfege: Then we sing through the solfege, warming up the pentatonic scale with some echo singing first. Then we echo sing the solfege patterns in the song. They are kind of tricky for some kids so it’s a good challenge for them.
Words: Up next we add the words to the song. Watch out for the students wanting to put a rest at the end of the first line.
Ostinato, Body Percussion and Instruments: After the students are comfortable with the song, maybe the next lesson, we add the ostinato part. We start by saying it and patting it on our lap. I had them pat the half note and then clap the quarter note. We work towards the students doing the ostinato and I sing the song. Then split the class in 2 groups, 1 doing the ostinato and the other singing the song. Repeat the same process when placing the ostinato on the instruments. This is a difficult thing for them but with practice it is a good challenge.
Composition: If you want to extend the lesson further this is a great opportunity for students to compose in 3/4 meter, something they don’t normally do. I start with the kids in groups of 2-3 and give them manipulatives with the notes on them.
We follow the directions of the composing sheet to form our own rhythms. Then they write in the boxes the rhythms they created. Together we make one on the board as a whole class. Then you can go even one step further and put some solfege to the rhythms. First use the whole class rhythm you created and follow the directions to add the solfege. The next class students can get back in their groups from before and add their own solfege to their rhythms. Then they can even try and play their melodies on the barred instruments!
A lot of stuff can be covered with just one simple song.