This year is moving faster than I ever imagined it could! It is already November, and I just cannot believe it. I'm sure you feel the same way.
My goal was to have written a bit more often than this, but as a new blogger, I struggled after my initial posts. I thought what I had to say wasn’t important or that others are much more knowledgeable than me. I follow a lot of other fantastic music education blogs and I felt like I just couldn’t compare to them. Then after much time and thoughts, I decided to just do it, if only for myself. I am going to write my thoughts and if they should inspire or assist you at all, I will feel honored and blessed.
Each year I like to create new or even update some of my old PowerPoint products to supplement my lessons. I had a blast revamping my materials this year.
I find that students of all ages understand and grasp difficult musical concepts much better when it is related to everyday life. I recently began planning for a 1st grade unit on beat vs. no beat, and found myself needing some concrete real-life examples of things that had a steady beat and those with no beat.
Through discussion and listening examples of these items, such as ticking of a clock, jumping rope, brushing your teeth, blowing of the wind, etc., I felt that my students grasped the concepts a little bit better.
Somewhere on my journeys last year, I picked up an adorable book that matched this lesson perfectly. It is a short children’s book/poem called “The Wind Blew” (by Pat Hutchins). Along with the folk song “The Wind Blew East," I used it to help recognize steady beat and no beat within a piece of music.
I also added the traditional song "Who Has Seen the Wind" (Text by Christina Rossetti). An interactive listening game also helped me assess the students' understanding of beat/no beat.
Another activity I used for further practice was having students play egg shakers or maracas to the sound of a bouncing/rolling ball. I tossed a ball in an open space in my classroom, and the students had to shake their instrument in the style and speed that the ball was moving. Sometimes the ball would bounce off items or it would bounce high up into the air. Each movement the ball made had to dictate how the students played their instrument – with a steady beat, bouncy, free, with no beat at all, etc. They really seemed to enjoy it.
If interested, you can check out my Steady Beat vs. No Beat Lesson and Game here.
I want to thank you so much for reading this entry, and I will definitely be writing more often now. So stay tuned for some Thanksgiving lesson ideas – coming soon!