This lesson is great for teaching or reviewing all sorts of things in the music room. I have used it with 1st-3rd graders depending on what my goals were for the lesson. This year we are using it at the beginning of 2nd grade for all sorts of review. We start by learning the song and then moving around the room to find different rhythm fish. When the students find a fish at the end of the song, they then clap and say the rhythm on the fish. After a few classes of playing the game this way, I use this as an assessment tool to see how students are doing on performing their rhythms.
After playing the “game” for a few classes, I like to assess my students understanding of the rhythms in the song. I have the students work on decoding the rhythms of the words and filling out a worksheet to show this.
After 2nd grade works on their rhythm review, we then move into our melody review of So La and Mi notes. Students help me figure out the melody of the song and see how it looks on the staff. During the next class students then transfer their singing of the melody to the barred instruments. Depending on the year, I will have them either attempt the whole melody or just parts. This year we are just working on a couple of the phrases, not the whole song.
The students and I work together to determine which notes on the instrument correspond with the melody notes. Then doing small chunks at a time I lead the students towards playing the melody of the first phrase. We practice it over and over together while singing the solfege. I do some quick formative assessments with my kids to see how they feel they are doing with the playing of the melody:
Mallet facing up – I got it, I’m good to go
Mallet in the middle – I understand, but I need more practice
Mallet facing down – Help Mrs. Croskey I don’t understand what we’re doing
I really try and emphasize with my students to be honest with their mallet voting and not just copy their friends, becasue if they really need help they need to tell me that so I can help them. My students do a fairly good job of this, but I’m also watching their playing so I know how they are doing even when they aren’t honest with themselves.
Once the students are comfortable with the melody of the first phrase we repeat the process for the 3rd phrase. It is very similar so they usually are able to catch on rather quickly. When we go to put the song together I will either have them just sing phrases 2 & 4 or click their mallets to the rhytnm for those phrase. You could even have different groups play the rhythm on un-pitched percussion as well.
One of the final steps I do is to have my students compose their own phrase. I use a blank fish to have the students write a 4 beat rhythm. Then they get to pick solfege notes to add to their rhythm notes. I have them all start with So, just to make it easier for composition and playing purposes. Once they have practiced playing it on their own , they play it for me. We do all these steps first as a whole class, with me writing it out on my fish. That way they can see what each step should look like. Here is an example of one of my student’s compositions:
If they have time at the end, I also challenge them to share their song with a neighbor. Playing for each other, and also trying out each others songs. This gives them more practice with reading rhythms and melodies together!
You can find more detailed descriptions of these lesson ideas, as well as powerpoint, worksheets, etc. in my Teachers Pay Teachers lesson. Or you can just use some of the ideas listed above in your own classroom! Ickle Ockle Lesson