O For Tuna Orff
Worried? Scared? Prepared?
Most of us are feeling some of each of these emotions right now. Worried about our own health, our families and students health, scared about the upcoming year and all the changes and unknowns Covid 19 has brought into our lives, and some of us are feeling scared AND worried at the same time as they are making preparations for what will surely be the strangest year we have ever experienced. Just remember (as I will be) that emotions are like waves and we don't have to choose to ride each and every one.
I have not posted a lot this summer and have been intent on taking all the wonderful PD and making connections with fellow music teachers. I have met and made some wonderful new friendships with teachers I wouldn't ordinarily have had time or energy to connect with and for that, I am so very grateful.
The 1 in 4
I also have to admit that I have been trying to stay busy so I didn't have to fixate on the fact that I am one of the 25% of teachers with high risk. I am immuno-compromised, which means that my Dr. does not want me teaching face to face with students this fall (and perhaps longer, depending on community spread and availability of vaccine). SO, this means my school is trying to accommodate me but they are unsure if they will be able to. It has been an emotional roller coaster and I have experienced every possible emotion in the last several weeks. To top it all off, my mother was diagnosed with cancer in early July and she lives in Arizona in the winter; and this summer, as they did not want to travel home to Maine for their usual spring/summer/fall months.
You probably already have had some successes with lessons last spring during emergency remote teaching and learning. Think of this year as a 10 month-long marathon, not a 5K.
Much depends on the platform (Google, Seesaw, Powerschool etc.) your school/district is using. I would also encourage you to do 3 things:
- Consistency in lesson flow/structure (younger children; more structure, older children; more choice)
- Relational Teaching (videos or lessons featuring YOU)
- Essential Concepts and Skills - focus on what you NEED your students to understand THIS year - not in a typical year
Face to Face Learning
This varies from state to state and districts, towns, cities, and even schools within a district! HOW your school instructs students face to face can mean many different things. The above three bullets still apply. Being consistent, relational, and focusing on the essential skills and concepts of your music instruction will be important.
Your classroom setup, management, and other details will likely be out of your control as administration and guidelines will dictate much of what and how we do things.
One big challenge for those of us teaching face to face will be what and how we do instruments. Many teachers are making Percussion Packs or Instrument Kits. I have a video on my facebook page @o for tuna orff with what goes in the packs and the kinds of activities I will use them for.
Keeping instruments clean and sanitized for future students will be important. Also maintaining the integrity of our costly instruments will also be important. My friend, Emily, has a great blog post
about Orff instrument covers that are easy clean made from clear shower curtains.
My friend, Elizabeth has a FABULOUS blog post
about planning in Covid times. In the post she illustrates how to create lesson "Banks" for multiple scenarios. Super smart thinking!
And Jennifer, another amazing friend, has this incredible post that says everything I have been thinking about singing in her post, "Singing in the Age of Coronavirus"
. I would also encourage you to create vocal files of yourself singing so students hear YOU as the model. Online you can use vocaroo.com, there are also many voice recording apps that are so straightforward and easy to use.
Join all the facebook groups and a local Orff chapter; most chapters are having workshops this fall and they will all be available virtually via zoom this year! Keep checking them out on facebook or the www.aosa.org page. Of course, you can scroll over on the right for hundreds of lesson tags (if on a mobile device scroll down to the bottom of the page and click, "View desktop version" which will bring up the tags for each post.
Let me know how I can help.
Ready for fall? Sails Up! Music Workshop
Register for one date only - space is limited!
Wednesday, August 5, 10:00-11:30 AM Eastern Time
Thursday, August 6, 1:00-2:30 PM Eastern Time
The global pandemic with Covid 19 has brought about so much pain, division, and negativity. BUT, there has also been some good that has come from this time of being home. Today I am going to focus on one of the positives that have come from our current circumstances.
This summer is unprecedented in so many ways. Levels courses, workshops, and summer professional development has moved from specific locations to being available everywhere. This Wednesday I will finish my Land Ho, Falling Forward, Not Failing Forward Workshop and I have had over 600 people from the US, Cypress, Ukraine, UK, Ireland, Scotland, Cypress, Spain, Finland, Greece, Germany, and Estonia! When else would I have been able to teach fellow music teacher friends from this many countries? It has been amazing.
International Sunday Sharing
JaSeSoi, the Finnish version of the American Orff Schulwerk Association began in May with a Sunday gathering of International Sharing for music teachers. In June my friend Thom Borden and I continued with a USA version. Every Sunday at 11:00 AM Eastern time we experience singing, dancing, playing, and creating with hundreds of fellow music teacher friends from around the world. The session is about 30 minutes, then most people stay for the 10 minute break out session (a lovely zoom feature) with a random group of music teachers from around the world. The presenters change each week and it has been SO WONDERFUL! How to join? On facebook, go to International Sunday Sharing USA and join. The link to the live zoom is published Saturdays. At the end of July JaSeSoi will begin again and we will continue the sharing from Finland!
AMIS Online Summer Sessions
The Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS) has wonderful (and free) PD EVERY Wednesday at 8AM Eastern time. Click AMIS Online Summer Sessions.
Can't go? No worries- it is all recorded! Check out the Getting the Most from SeeSaw session! SO good and shows how to create, share, and add skills to SeeSaw creations.
Sing, Say, Zoom and Play!
Looking for more? There is a HUGE list of PD from a previous post several weeks ago - go check it out!
My most lovely friend and fellow Orff teacher, Crystal Pridmore, shared a beautiful ocean canon on the facebook group, The Singing Space. Most of you know I am originally from Maine and have a pretty serious love affair with all things ocean. When I heard this lovely canon, I loved it for it's simplicity, but also for the orchestration and minor key tonality. Beautiful! Crystal so kindly gave me permission to share the song and also the activity she sent to her students remotely on making an ocean drum.
Originally pitched in a minor, I have written it in d minor as that would work for children's voices. Hope you enjoy listening and find a way to incorporate this into lessons with students as school ends or as a beginning of the year activity or anytime next year.
Make An Ocean Drum
By the Beach Canon
Have a wonderful day!
We have experienced the worst of times. We have also experienced outpourings of gratitude, appreciation, and love. We have seen a country divided over masks, race, and so many other problems. But we have also seen a coming together to help others in need and, especially in the music education world, an outpouring of sharing, caring, and connecting.
There have been so many wonderful webinars and workshops online lately! This summer the possibilities and options are richer than ever before.
So, here is a partial list - please let me know what courses you find and I will add them to the list.
Colorado Kodaly Tuesday Webinars
- varied presenters.
Facebook - International Sunday Sharing USA
- every Sunday Live only
Midnight Music Monthly Training
Southern Methodist University
Intro to Orff Course (offered 2x), Intro to Kodaly
Los Angeles Chapter of AOSA
summer workshop plans, cost to be determined.
Teaching With Orff
summer workshop plans, cost to be determined.
Detroit Orff Chapter
Sharing session, Responsive Classroom for Music/Art/PE Teachers study, Book Study, $5.00-$10.00
Witchita State University
Kodaly courses - $16.00-$52.00
course "Advocating for Sound Music Learning in Fall 2020 and Beyond, $27.00
World Music Drumming
has MANY Summer Samplers - $20.00 per hour, most courses between 2 and 4 hours.
has three courses around music technology and online teaching $39.00-$99.00
Kansas Orff Chapter of AOSA
Online Workshop - $50.00
Kodaly Levels Seattle
- 4 courses - $75.00 each or all for $250.00
- various courses and costs
International Music Education Summit
The Artie & Denise Online Odyssey
Southern Methodist University,
many course offerings, $150.00-$300.00
World Music Pedagogy
course Teaching Music/Teaching Culture $195.00
University of Kentucky
four Orff course offerings - $215.00 each
Kodaly Music Institute
has eight course offerings - $275.00-$425.00
Anderson University Dalcroze and Ukulele
Anderson University Orff Curriculum and Orff Masterclass
George Mason University
has five courses - $310.00-$1336.00
Vandercook College of Music
offerings include Kodaly, Orff, Technology, and others. $350.00 per credit hour, courses are 1, 2, or 3 credit hours ($350.00/$700.00/$1050.00).
University of Bridgeport,
MSED 530X: Inclusion in the Orff-based Classroom, 2 graduate credits $1330.00
Can you relate to the question marks above? I think many of us are stumbling forward with Remote/E/Distance Learning but also looking to next school year and asking the question of "What will that look like?"
Are you feeling the pressure of all this uncertainty? Take a moment and watch and listen to Jimmy Fallon and crew (with pots, pans, glasses, even a toaster as instruments) perform Under Pressure:
We are all wondering and there are no clear answers. If you would like to see me talk about this, head over to these links - technology was not my friend today, so it is in two parts.
What We CAN Do Now and Moving Forward, Part 1:
Here's What We Know
- Comparing your lessons to others creation of padlets, flipgrids, SeeSaws, Google Slides, Google Classrooms, and Virtual Classrooms damages your
- Sense of Self
- Doesn't Help You Get to Your Goals
- Limits You
- Next year may include a mix or one of these teaching realities: remote, streaming live from our classrooms, face to face with small groups in our classrooms, face to face with large groups, traveling on a cart, with a mask, without a mask, with a face shield, without a face shield, seeing our students on a different schedule, remote one week or day, face to face the next, etc.
We Also Know
We are creative.
We want to be relational with our students.
We will teach children.
We will teach children music.
We will teach the elements of music; rhythm, harmony, melody, form, and expressive qualities.
Things to Consider
Some things will be more important than ever - a focus on social/emotional learning. Students will need music to heal, to celebrate, and to move forward in a positive way.
Structure and routine.
Students will have been out of school and away from tradition, routine, and socialization for almost six months. It will be a time of re-learning, particularly for our youngest students, and our more vulnerable students.
So, what can we do now? SO much!!!
Think about what you want your Kindergarten, Fifth Graders, ________ to know about one element of music - rhythm, for example. What would you normally teach your students to prepare division of beat? A song? Ok - If we are unable to sing the song together due to restrictions, make a recording of yourself singing the song to play during the class. Students can sing the song "in their heads and hearts". Perhaps they can sing specific words or the highest, lowest or "home" pitch. Learn the song the same way you normally would- maybe you record yourself teaching the song by rote in sections with space for students to sing "in their heads and hearts" until they can lip sync the whole song. Now of course, that is not the best and it will be awkward at first, but we are moving forward, right? Then maybe you may have had students keep the beat with the song - use body percussion or non-locomotor movement- jump, twist, wiggle, sway, etc. Perhaps students clap the "way the words sound". Then maybe you had them play instruments. Uh oh- sharing may be problematic due to virus.
But wait - what if each student brings in an empty oatmeal box, 4-5 pairs of chopsticks, and 2 plastic eggs filled with pennies, plastic beads, paperclips, etc. (no food items- bug/insect/vermin issue). If parents are unable, others could donate. No plastic eggs? Oriental Trading has 144 for less than $5.00. The best part - everything goes INSIDE the oatmeal box, AKA drum. These would be stored in classrooms along with art supplies, etc. They do not take up much space and everything for music class goes inside the oatmeal box. Play with lid only, use chopsticks as mallets or create rhythms using chopsticks as manipulatives or use as conducting batons, tap together for light wood sound, etc.
Hopefully, you are getting the point here - we can still teach music!!! No, it won't be the same. Grieve that, mourn it, and choose to move forward.
Obviously, there is some amazing tech, sites, and apps available to many of us that we will continue to use remotely or face to face.
If your students will not be able to use barred instruments next year or you are on a cart AND your students have access to tech in their rooms, Brent Geyer has created some fabulous internet based virtual xylophones for our students to use. Not an app, nothing to sign up/in, no personal info shared, and beautiful sounding! Many thanks to Brent for providing these for FREE!!!
G Major Pentatonic:
There is a line from my favorite medical drama that is in every episode. The director of the hospital asks a simple, yet powerful question - "How can I help?"
Let me know. I may not have an answer, but I am here for you.
We music teachers love our manipulatives, whether they are the mini-erasers from Target, stuffed animals, popsicle sticks, or printed items. Engaging students to actively create while in remote/3-learning is challenging. I have been using Google slides to create manipulatives students can move around and wanted to share these with you here. You can use these in many ways - the final slide has the ones you may want to use with students to go with the Bee Bee Bumblebee rhyme.
Here is what the moveable slide looks like - with cards the students can click and drag to create new rhythms based upon the traditional rhyme.
There are other slides to use as well in the classroom:
Hope you enjoy these and let me know how you use them!
Remote Learning has been a learning curve for me. As an Orff trained music practitioner active, hands-on music making and engagement is how my classes roll. It's not that I dislike technology, but rather that my focus is on activities, games, songs, movement, and very little technology. I also think our children have far too much access and interaction with technology and not enough with other humans, but that is a different conversation. My biggest hurdles with online/remote/e-learning have been using technology in a meaningful way. So, crash courses in imovie, screencasting, and google slides.
Our school leadership wanted to ensure that relational teaching stayed at the forefront of our thinking and planning activities and lessons for our students while they are not on our campus and our physical presence. School is still happening, and I am so thankful that our leadership made relationships our primary goal.
Knowing we were to keep our faces front and center made delivering content decisions easy - it was going to be me recording videos with songs, activities, and lessons. I already had a youtube channel (3 in fact) and one I had used for sub plans before where I recorded lessons, so that was an easy decision.
Powerpoint vs. Google Slides
I have used Powerpoint forever, but think I will be switching to Google Slides now for several reasons.
Obvious, probably, but whatever I make is automatically saved to my Drive.
Easy to create a link.
Many other reasons - the top two sealed the deal for me.
Google Meet vs. Screencastify
So far, I have found Screencasting to be the way to go. Screencastify is a free add on from Chrome and is truly ridiculously easy. My favorite features are the edit once recording is complete, and the highlight cursor!
I also like that once I record I can edit the recording. Free up to 5 minutes long, click here
for a tutorial and info on how to redeem the free coupon code for unlimited access.
Here is a lesson I made for my students that has been very successful as we have moved to Remote Learning:
4. Beatboxing Video - my kids loved this and sent me videos of themselves making up beatboxing rhythms which have been so fun to listen to!
I have also made many videos of myself singing and using childrens literature with songs. Lessons are following a flow of "steady beat or rhythm activity", "review" (song), "new" activity or lesson and always end with an invitation for students to send me a picture of their "Sidewalk Symphony" or "Clapping Challenge" or "make up a new verse" and have gotten some wonderful pics and videos from families.
What have your successes been?
There are many reasons schools may choose to close to on-site learning and move to remote learning. In times of flu or illness running rampant through our petri dishes, um ... schools we need to be careful about hand holding, instrument sharing, and taking care of our physical health. At present, COVID - 19 is spreading around the world.
Friends teaching overseas have already been teaching online for months as their schools closed in January. Some school systems around the US are closed and others making preparations and plans for possible closings. Teachers are being asked to create lessons students can access from home to continue learning.
This list is just a quick overview of some possibilities - many more exist and it has been amazing to see the camaraderie of music teachers joining together to help one another continue our students music education. Please add to the conversation - read on and you will see there are many places and spaces for you to join, ask questions, and find answers. If you are not on facebook and cannot access the groups, leave a comment here and I will post your question/comment on fb. Stay healthy, everyone!
Some of us will stay teaching in our schools and the rules and restrictions around contact, sharing instruments, etc. will be important to consider, particularly in our classrooms where so much of what we do is movement related.
Hands Off Dances/Movement
Click this link for a playlist of many no-touch dances. Please let me know what others you have and I will add them to the playlist. As of right now there are 35 videos.
For others, we will move to remote/online/e-learning formats where our students will be home and we will be using a platform to teach from. Our school uses Powerschool, and if we go to a remote format, we will direct students and parents to Powerschool and to our existing pages where we can record videos, add documents, and add links to Seesaw, youtube, etc.
Some teachers will use existing subscriptions (such as Musicplayonline.com, Seesaw, etc.) and others will be able to access some new ones - check out this googledoc of Education Companies Offering Free Subscriptions Due To School Closings.
Screencastify free up to 5 minutes of video, Chrome Extension (Use chrome web browser)
So, how to teach elementary music online?
Google doc with FREE General Music Distance Learning Resources & Activities
- First look at what is already done you might be able to use.
Short, Sweet, Specific
This is the message from many teacher friends overseas who have been remote/online/E-Learning for months. Will students receive lessons in an email or online platform your school uses, will you need paper/pencil activities or online activities? Lots of things to think about here:
Resources for Teaching Online (Not Music Education Specific)
Facebook Groups - Ask Questions, Get Answers, Info, Comments
Other Sites to Look At/Make Plans/Activities/Lessons:
Tutorial for Elementary Aged Students:
Sample Lessons or Lessons YOU Can Use
- Online Lesson using Children's Literature
My friend, Kathy, teaches at Seisen International School in Tokyo and while her school has been out she has continued the learning. She happily shares a very successful lesson we can model using A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle.
Her school uses Seesaw but anyone can see this. I love how everything is included right in the Seesaw app! This could also be done as a youtube or vimeo video with a link to materials in a google doc.
The New Victory Theater in NYC
This amazing theater has canceled it's amazing line up of shows, but is bringing lessons for ages 6-12 direct to us at home. The first week (March 16-20) is Percussion Week complete with Body Percussion, stepping, and a bucket or two! Their videos are very kid-friendly:
Teaching Music Digital Learning
Looking for something by grade levels to see what someone else does? Check out this great resource by David Row of Make Moments Matter.
Music Teacher youtube Videos
Laura and Daniel are music teachers in Hong Kong and are experts now at remote learning. They have a HUGE selection of videos to choose from and they are so clever! They deliver content through the home learning section of their music blog.
Here are two of their videos.:
Loose Tooth Music Note Reading
Mariana teaches in Tokyo, here is a link to her many videos. Here are a couple of her wonderful videos:
Grade 1 Lesson 5: Rhythm and Movement
Grade 4 Recorder Lullaby
Krista teaches in Hong Kong and she has several videos students can watch and write a response to - here are a couple:
Instrument Game Show - Do You Know Your Instrument Sounds?
Singing with Solfege -"Hey, Hey! Look at Me!" (Mi-So Edition)
Che Che Koolay - folk song (traditional) from Ghana
Students learn the song and then can play along with various parts - this would need short directions such as, "Find something at home that makes a shaking sound and play the shaker part when you see the four ta (quarter)notes." Or, "Find two pencils or wooden spoons to try playing the rhythm stick part when you see the rhythm rest titi rest ta."
Have students make connections to Ghana in this short video - chocolate, gold, and poisonous snakes - COOL!! Start the video at 1:00 (advertising before that).
Can Music Bring Joy When Times are Tough? Watch, Listen, and Respond
Check out this googledoc of a sample watch/listen/respond using google forms. Easy to recreate and so perfect for upper elementary to help them deal with the uncomfortable emotions surrounding the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Play along using a fitball (students could use a pillow on a chair and wooden spoons or chopsticks instead of drum sticks)
Hello Echo Rhythm Song
More from Kathy in Tokyo
Jump, Jump, Everyone:
Kye Kye Kule Movement and Song:
What other ideas do you have? Please join the conversation and let's all help each other continue to make music with our kiddos.
My daughter loves dragons and has ever since she was a wee little thing - first it was dinosaurs, then she "graduated" to dragons and has stayed there ever since. She is a pretty amazing artist and you can probably guess her favorite subject! These are some of her drawings, both digital and traditional. She is 12, by the way.
When I found this book I knew I was going to have to do something with it- the theme of not fitting in and being like everyone else resonated.
My daughter is Chinese- born in China and adopted by us. I am a musician in a family of dairy farmers and we are both artists. My daughters love for dinosaurs and dragons also resonated with being "different" and we heard from many people how "unique" she was as these are stereotypically considered male dominated subjects. Well, I have a sweet girl who loves them and so do I! Enjoy the lesson!
Each person has their own history and life is not a single narrative. We are a collection of people living in multiple environments with multiple identifiers. I am a White female, she/her, a mom, daughter, sister; I am a musician, teacher, artist, author, blogger, and crafter; I am also the mother of a child who was adopted from China so our family is Chinese American; I am a singer, actor, dancer, and jewelry maker. I was raised in Maine but live in the South and love to travel. There is no single story to me, no single story to you and no single story of the human experience.
Please watch "The Danger of a Single Story":
Recently there was a lengthy discussion on Facebook about White teachers using spirituals in the music classroom. Though there were many perspectives, it is important to remember that each of us teach from a place of our own stories; positive, negative, and somewhere in between. It is important to remember during Black History Month that it is a time to pause, remember, and celebrate the music of Black and African Americans. That is not a single story of spirituals and Civil Rights music, but so much more.
Today we have a guest blogger. We are going to learn from the amazing Franklin J. Willis.
Mr. Franklin J. Willis currently serves as the Elementary Music Coach for the Metro Nashville Public Schools district. For the past decade Willis has taught both general music and choir at the elementary and middle school levels. He is a three-time recipient of the prestigious Country Music Association Foundation Music Teacher of Excellence award. He specializes in providing musical instruction that will empower and engage all students and teachers to achieve their best through authentic culturally relevant learning experiences. Click on Franklin's picture below to learn more about Franklin and his advocacy for music education.
Aimee: Hi Franklin, thank you very much for taking the time to answer some questions from your perspective. The focus for many music teachers during Black History Month seems to be on slavery and the Civil Rights Movement. What do you feel is important for everyone to understand about Black History Month?
First, I think it is very important for students and teachers to understand the history of why we celebrate Black History Month. Mr. Carter G. Woodson [was] considered the Dean of African American History [who] worked tirelessly to educate the public about the achievements of African Americans. His life was dedicated to sharing the history of African Americans. I recently learned about a fabulous resource by two veteran Social Studies teachers, Lanesha Tabb and Naomi O’Brien that provides context on how Black History Month was formed and why we celebrate it. Download this free resource by clicking this link
Now that we have an understanding of what Black History Month is and why we celebrate it every year let’s discuss how we can celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans in the music classroom. African American music is diverse and has birthed musical genres throughout history. If a music teacher wishes to focus on our sacred slave songs, which we call spirituals I believe that it is fine. However, please give the spiritual the same respect and study as we would give a classical piece of music with our students. Give students the opportunity to ask questions about the music. Provide historical context for them to understand how the spiritual was created. Offer students an example of the evolution of the spiritual, like “Mary Don’t You Weep” by Take 6:
Including all of this information is very important because it just doesn’t focus on the pain of the spiritual. However, it shows through a horrific time in our history these songs were created, and this is how they have changed over time. Spirituals are just as varied as African American music itself. There are songs of sorrow, songs of joy, songs of despair, and songs of hope. Ensure that our students learn the depth and vastness of the spiritual.
Aimee: When done well, Black History Month should focus on ___________.
Franklin: Black History Month should educate students about the accomplishments and achievements of African Americans. There are many appropriate ways to celebrate Black History Month in the music classroom. Listed below are some of the themes I have used for my Black History Month Programs in the past.
· The Evolution of the Spiritual
· The Music of Motown
· The Women of the Civil Rights Movement
· The Music of the Harlem Renaissance
· Lift Every Voice and Sing: Music of the Culture
· Yo! What’s Up? The Story of Hip-Hop Music
· Music of Africa: The Beat of the Drum
· The Dream Lives On! The Words of Martin Luther King Jr.
In order to create these Black History Month programs, I started with the end in mind. Questions that I consider when planning a Black History Month Program are the following:
· Why do I want to present a Black History Month program?
· What did I want my students to learn?
· What do I want the student body or community to learn from observing the BHM program?
· How did I want students to experience this music?
· What grade level did I want to feature?
· What is my school ready for? (I could write a lot about this one!)
· What classroom teachers would be willing to help me plan this program?
· How will I inform students, teachers, administration, parents, and community members about this program?
The greatest question of all these is the first one. Why do you want to present a Black History Program? If it is to check off a list of things that you have done this year, please don’t do it. Take time to consider the importance of teaching the important history and contributions of African Americans. All students should learn about Black History Month. Black History is American History.
Aimee: Who would be your top 10 African American musicians for music teachers to focus on during Black History Month?
Franklin: My top 10 African American musicians, composers, or artists to teach to students would be the following: (These are not in a specific order.)
· Scott Joplin
· Nina Simone
· R. Nathaniel Dett
· Stevie Wonder
· Kirk Franklin
· Marian Anderson
· Margaret Bonds
· Quincy Jones
· Run DMC
Aimee: If you had 4-6 lessons to go deeper into celebrating the contributions of Black and African American musicians to teach about during February, who and what would you choose?
Franklin: If I had four to six lessons to dive deeper into a subject surrounding African American music it would be the subject of African American composers. Often times our students only learn about African American artists, however I think there is valuable information students and teachers can gain in the study of our Black composers. In my undergraduate Music History class, we studied several European composers and only studied one African American composer which was Duke Ellington. I did my own research and learned about many black composers before Duke Ellington who were trailblazers and virtuoso artists. Composers like Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Scott Joplin, R. Nathaniel Dett, Harry T. Burleigh, Florence Price and many others who opened the doors for future African American composers and artists to be accepted for their talents. Listening to their music was empowering and it let me know as a student that just because we were not studying it in class, doesn’t mean it is not worthy of learning. Many teachers simply teach what’s in the curriculum and quite frankly learning about innovative African American composers is not on the list important things students should know in music education.
So, if I were digging deeper with students, I would do a historical overview of African American composers in classical music. Complete listening exercises that ask students to think and listen critically to the music. Compare and contrast the music of these composers with the more famous European composers to find similarities and differences. Finally, I would have students write a personal reflection of what they learned about the composers and to choose a favorite selection that we listened to as a class and tell me why.
Aimee: What kinds of activities make sense for our youngest students?
Black History Month activities for our youngest of students could include story books, short melodic songs, and movement activities. Follow this link
to get ideas about books to utilize during Black History Month. Stories allow students to read and visualize a character in a personalized unique way. Moreover, when students can identify and see themselves in the literature they are more engaged and learning is relevant. This lesson plan
by Charissa Duncanson incorporates short rhythmic activities with the book Trombone Shorty by Troy Andrews.
Also an easy way to get younger students involved with African American music is by having them keep the steady beat to the music. That is a major standard for our Kindergarten and 1stgrade students. Can students keep a steady beat to R. Nathaniel Dett’s Piano Suite In the Bottoms: IV. Dance. Juba? Yes, THEY CAN!
Aimee: What are your favorite resources to pull from to ensure everyone feels included in the conversations in your music classroom?
Franklin: My favorite resource to use in the music classroom not only during Black History Month, but in general is Expressions of Freedom by Dr. Rene Boyer. This teacher resource does a wonderful job of connecting African American spirituals to the Orff music pedagogy. Every time I teach a song from this resource students absolutely love it!
Listed below are some great resources available from some African American music educators and composers specifically for the elementary music classroom.
Thank you so much for a rich conversation!
I am so excited to debut some new singing games this November at the National AOSA conference with two sessions on clapping games and singing games! I just found out today that both of my proposals were accepted so I will be presenting again at National conference - which is thrilling and terrifying all at the same time! I haven't done my Singing Games session at conference yet and can't wait to share some of my favorites with students!
One of my favorite games used to be Chicken on a Fencepost, AKA Can't Dance Josey. I use the past tense because I will no longer be using that song. Last fall a fellow music teacher friend in the Orff world discovered the original field recording contained racist lyrics "n... gonna die" and "n... on a woodpile. The recording was on the Holy Names University Kodaly Center American Folk Song Database
(which is an amazing resource). I listened to it several times to be sure what I was hearing and what others said were matching up. The lyrics had been transcribed by an individual (their name was included) but the racist lyrics were omitted. I sent an email to Holy Names and heard back within 48 hours. They apologized and removed the song from their collection while they, like many of us, decide what to do with this kind of song literature. I can't unhear what I heard and have decided to no longer use the song in my classroom. BUT, my students LOVE the game! So I wrote a new song with completely different lyrics, melody, and kept the sixteenth note rhythms in the song as this was the song I used to introduce the concept of sixteenth notes. I wrote a couple versions - I personally have used Version 1 more than 2 and like it better but some teachers have liked Version 2. Use what you want and enjoy!
We all watched the wildfires in Australia and I don't know about you, but I have felt incredibly powerless. The people, landscape, and animals have been devastated.
In case you didn't see it, check out this visual of a map of Australia superimposed on the US and Southern Canada and this will give you an idea of the extent of the damage:
I am an animal lover - grew up on our family dairy farm and considered becoming a vet. My friend and fellow music teacher, Jody Petter and I wanted to do something that involved music and animals. We are starting a fundraiser and this one is the first of several to come!
Have you seen the book, "When the Beat Was Born, DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop? Click on the picture to see it on Amazon.
Here is a fabulous post by my friend, Elizabeth, from Organized Chaos, all about Bringing Hip-Hop to the Music Room.
The fundraiser part of this is as follows; you can win a hardcover copy of the book along with a lesson from my Painted Music book (pictured above). The lesson from Painted Music goes along with the story and uses the art of Keith Haring and breakdancing! Bidding starts at $20.00 and I will match the final bid. All proceeds go to helping care for Australian animals injured or orphaned by the fires. How to bid - go to facebook -@o for tuna orff, or on instagram -@Aimee_ofortunaorff and bid there!
Black History Month.
Those three words have power, value, and emotion. Though the story of Black History Month began in 1915, it was not officially recognized until 1976 when President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month, calling upon Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Want to read more? Check this out.
.Black History Month is a special "pause" in our year to reflect and celebrate the vast musical contributions of Black and/or African Americans, but it should not be the only time our students see themselves represented and reflected in the music we use in our classrooms.
Things to Consider
- Where is my focus? Who and what am I celebrating and honoring? Personally, I do not want to be the white teacher telling a single narrative about Black and/or African Americans as slaves and that they are only worthy of celebrating when talking about slavery or the Civil Rights Movement. How does this impact our students view of musicians and composers who are Black and/or African American?
- Sing, listen, and teach about music from a broad perspective; spirituals and Civil Rights songs are valuable, but they are not the only music to be celebrated and learned.
- If we teach these songs we should keep our community and parents informed of our intention to teach about slavery. I have known many music teachers who begin to go down this path and receive emails and phone calls from upset parents who have not discussed slavery with their child and now they are forced into a conversation they were unprepared to have.
- For me, I want my students to celebrate, honor and learn about Duke Ellington, BB King, Billie Holiday, Scott Joplin, Ella Fitzgerald, Leontyne Price, and Miles Davis. I also want them to celebrate, honor, and learn about Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Queen Latifah, Tina Turner, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Denyce Graves, Black Violin, Rihanna, The String Queens, will.i.am, Ne-Yo, Rhiannon Giddens, and Ranky Tanky, (who just won a Grammy and are amazing - listen to this podcast and you'll see why I love them for elementary aged students).
- Sister Rosetta Tharpe - do you know her name? I didn't until this past year. Learning about her was eye-opening and a bit shocking- how did I NOT know her name until now? She was a pioneer and laid the foundations for Rock 'n Roll. Read more about her here from NPR.
Here are some of the things my students and I will be using throughout the year, not only during the month of February.
Rap a Tap Tap: Here's Bojangles - Think of That
Change repetitive words to "Rap, Tap, Tap, Think of That". (3 quarter notes, 1 quarter rest, repeat same rhythm).
I use this with Kindergarten students after we first do some movement preparation to "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder.
1. Read Book, encourage students to speak repetitive words, "Rap, tap, tap, think of that".
3. Videos - Tap Dancing Group - I like this one - you will only watch until 1:20.
Next I show Savion Glover - this is such a cool commercial- just skip the end (commercial for a fridge).
How to Tap- this is really good for my younger kiddos - very slow, sequential. We only watch to about 3:00 and we stand up and practice tapping.
4. Then I break out the Heart Chart
and we go back to the book of Bojangles - the Heart Chart is amazing and many music teachers have them or something like them - it is the perfect way to introduce quarter and eighth notes. Once we have explored, ""Rap, tap, tap, think of that" and learned how to clap it, etc. and have discovered quarter notes, we tap it on rhythm sticks. That leads into eighth notes, and before we know it we are reading stick rhythms with quarter and eighth notes.
Ruby Sings the Blues
I love the animated video here
with jazz music in the background. It is really well done!
Great lesson to go with this from my friend Charissa! Check it out here.
Another great animated video
There are so many other books I use! Here are several:
Songs to Celebrate and Sing
Let's Slice the Ice - A Collection of Black Children's Ring Games and Chants
by Eleanor Fulton and Pat Smith, available from West Music.
Step it Down: Games, Songs, Plays, and Stories from the Afro-American Heritage
by Bessie Jones and Bess Lomax Hawes, available here
(not a complete list)
Head and Shoulders, Baby
Just from the Kitchen
I Got a Letter this Morning
Green Sally Up
Go In and Out the Window
Draw Me a Bucket of Water
Little Sally Walker
Miss Mary Mack
Hope this was informative! More to come next week!
It is almost Chinese New Year and I needed a few more songs to round out our songs from around Asia. These songs are generic songs and could be used any time - not specific to Lunar New Year.
1. Jan Ken Pon Yo
This is a Janken, or hand game song using "Rock, Paper, Scissors". It is a great mixed meter song, check out the previous post by clicking on the picture below.
2. Hao Peng You
This is from my Sing a Song, Play a Game Book, and is such a fun game. This one is easy for even young singers!
3. Cha Tsubo
This is from my Hands to Hands book and is a deceptively simple hand game that is really fun! Great for recorder also. My students create a B Section using names of teas!
Hope you have fun with these - and that you find some things new for you and your students to sing and enjoy!
My family is Chinese American - our daughter was adopted from China so we celebrate many Asian holidays including Autumn Moon Festival and Chinese New Year, AKA Spring Festival. This year CNY begins January 25, 2020, just a couple weeks away! As CNY is a lunar holiday and based on the full moon, the date changes each year. The animal changes each year also, with this being the year of the Rat!
If you are born in the year of the rat, you are known for having quick wit, being hard working, being clever, successful, and great with money! Good for you!!
My students will learn about the holiday in many ways, including using all of this from previous posts:
Once we get through the videos and the book, we will learn about The Rat through the song, "The Quartermaster's Store" which features a rat!
Then it's on to learning Xin Nian Kuai Le, or "Happy New Year" in Mandarin.
The song and activities are all included in the older post above or click here.
I will also be using these Chinese Zodiac Rhythm Cards with quarter and eighth notes - free from TpT and available here!
I also really like this craft project and can see using it as a melody pointer. There are many others with free printables - click on the picture.
Happy Asian/Lunar/Chinese New Year! Xin Nian Kuai Le or Gong Xi Fa Cai!
This is a beloved folk song I learned long ago at a workshop and have loved ever since. The original folk song's words are, "I dont care if the rain comes down, I'm gonna dance all day". Needing a song for our holiday concert with a winter theme, I played around with this one and my students helped develop an easy orchestration and form we have loved using.
Sing the song as written, each time students sing the word, "dance" they strike a dance pose.
Clap "hey, hey" and patsch "carry me away".
For alternating sections, students came up with the idea of continuing the orchestration and humming the tune while doing dance moves. Here's how it worked out:
A: Song with orchestration
B: Hum melody, orchestration continues; perform Macarena movements (this works out perfectly with the song and the dance can be performed twice).
A: Song with orchestration
C: Hum melody, orchestration continues; perform the Floss (YUP.. what they voted for!).
A: Song with orchestration
D: Hum melody, orchestration continues; freestyle- students perform movement of their choosing.
A: Song with orchestration, end with "I'm gonna dance all day" 3 times followed by a final glockenspiel, "plink".
This was SO fun and really had my students moving and grooving. Good for any winter fun!
Hope you enjoy this one now or later!
Hi everyone! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving last week - we stayed in our pajamas all day, watched the Thanksgiving Parade, played games and watched movies! It was so fun and relaxing and my family loved it - I did, too!
Week before that I was in Salt Lake City at the National American Orff Schulwerk Association's (AOSA) Conference which was amazing! Truly love these peeps and the creativity and collegiality is very special and heart-warming. I attended some incredible sessions and loved reconnecting with folks I took Levels courses with and those who I have taught at Chapter workshops and State Conferences. This is also the one time of the year I see my editor face to face - Brent Holl of Beatin' Path Publications is a friend and amazing musician! Working on a new book can be stressful - and the editing process is difficult and full of discussions about which way to present material and what to leave out and what to include but Brent makes it easy!
One of my favorite finds at conference were the new musical sit spots! There are several packs but I can see using this one the most frequently. For a quick assessment, lay them out on the floor and as students come in direct each student to stand on a specific note - Josiah, stand on a quarter note, etc.
Outside the conference center there were these amazing signs- so fun
We were also invited to attend a free open rehearsal of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Singing with this group would completely ruin anyone for singing with a small choir ever again. Full orchestra and seating for 90,000 in the hall. AMAZING!
This morning on my fb site - @o for tuna orff I posted a video with a cup game to Trepak from Nutcracker. Click on the picture to go to the video. There is also a book/song/activity to use for Hanukkah season as well called "Shabbat Shalom".
Enjoy! Happy Holidays!
Grab your partner and promenade. I can't help but think of this when I hear the word, "Partner".
We often ask our students to partner or pair up for dance, movement, instrument play, and other activities in the music classroom. Some of us have "work buddies" that are permanent or semi-permanent partners and others are more random and allow for student choice each time.
My students are able to self-select and most of the time do a great job with this. Of course I am always aware of who will most likely need help or those that need a different kind of partner - a non-human one. AKA: Works Better Alone.
Here are some things I have learned over the years about partnering:
1. Expect Some Bumps
Expect some issues and be ready with strategies to help THAT group that may not be excited about working together. Know who to watch and who to encourage. Also know who is likely to dominate a conversation and try to influence/push/bully their ideas or thoughts in activities. This is especially important when working on creative ideas - someone will always think their idea is better and will be unable/unwilling to let others voices be heard.
2. Self -Selecting Partners
I train my students from a very early age (Kindergarten) to find a partner "sitting next to them". When my students self select partners, I know if there is an even or uneven number of students ahead of time. I am also looking for the student that may need some help in finding a partner. If an even number of students, everyone will have a partner. If an uneven number of students, I ask ahead of time who would like a buddy from the buddy basket. Depending on the activity and materials, I also allow students who might work better with a non-human partner to get a buddy from the buddy basket.
3. Buddy Basket
Many moons ago I asked parents to donate Beanie Babies. I love using "Beat Buddies" and have several ways I use them. Along with the Beanie Babies came some super special animals and I have found others over the years that have made their way into a special musical basket called the "Buddy Basket". This basket is at eye level and students are able to choose a "buddy" from it.
There are many favorites, including the super soft panda and the silly monkey we call "Kissy Monkey" as he likes to kiss everyone on the neck and arms when he comes out for folk dancing. He has long arms with velcro and is a perfect partner for folk dancing or other movement requiring a partner.
4. The Beauty of Rock/Paper/Scissors
I am fortunate to have enough Orff instruments for each student. My class sizes are small and I have been at my school for 23 years and have built up my instrumentarium and unpitched percussion instruments.
Often, and especially the first time we play something, I might want to have less sound and for students to learn from each other so they will partner. Immediately after partnering my students know they will need to rock/paper/scissors.. shoot! We do this for SO MANY THINGS. It solves disagreements about order and other things. Once we have a "person who won" and a "person who did not win", I pick one or the other to go to the instruments and it isn't always the "person who won". Those students select an instrument to play and of course, everyone moves to the back row to play the Basses. If two students are first to get there, they rock/paper/scissors to decide who will stay. It is a quick and effective means of determining who is going to play that particular instrument. There are other rules in place about how often people go to the back row and we are constantly moving between instruments so no one gets the instrument for a long time.
I have a lot of tambourines but do I want everyone in the classroom to play this instrument all at the same time? No, I don't care to have a headache for the rest of the day. Sometimes too many instruments creates too much sound so we partner. Same process as above with rock/paper/scissors which determines who plays first and who has to wait a turn to play.
5. Use a Rhyme to Switch Between Partners
I have several nonsense rhymes I use to switch partners and my students know when I say, "Intry mintry tribbledy fig, deema dima, doma dig, howdy powdy, noma nouchy, olliga bolliga boo" that it is time to switch. This allows for me to move partners without saying the words, "Please switch" and losing the beat of the song. We move from song and instrument play with first partner to the nonsense poem immediately into the song and instrument play again. Nursery rhymes work perfectly, too, in case you don't want to learn a crazy nonsense rhyme -though it impresses the kids and they are AMAZED at these funny rhymes!
Here's to partnering with positivity!
Hope you enjoyed this post, how do you use partnering in your classroom?
Over the past several weeks on my fb page -@o for tuna orff, I have been posting several live videos of the teaching process I have been using for a bucket drum piece to a piece of music my daughter found on youtube. She often listens to music while drawing (her favorite thing to do and she is an amazing young artist). It is a remix of Mozart's Turkish March and is SO awesome! I knew I needed to create a bucket drum piece for my top grade to perform at our Winter Concert and maybe a few other performances as well. Click here to see the final video performance on the o for tuna fb page.
Here is the score:
The pdf of the learning slides can be found here: Bucket Drum Mozart Turkish March Remix
They look like this:
The music can be found here:
Mmmm... pumpkin pie. Mmmm... pumpkin bread. Mmmm... pumpkin spice. A few weeks ago we were still in the 90 degree temps and I came across this fabulous pic:
Seriously, I do love everything pumpkin! I also love using the word pumpkin (a perfect eighth note pair) in many ways in the music classroom in the fall. It is also a very inclusive way to celebrate fall if you have students that do not celebrate Halloween. Here are a few of my favorites:
1. Pumpkin Chant
I just found this one yesterday and am already in love with this for my littles! It has such a cute ending and ties in nicely to the Lynn Kleiner song "Peek a Boo" to use with scarves. I also love this as a lead in to the book, Pumpkin Soup (see below).
2. Pumpkin Stew Song/Pumpkin Stew Book
I love this musical book-the cat plays bagpipes, the squirrel plays banjo, and the duck sings. Insert the song, Pumpkin Stew after each page. Click on the book to see it on Amazon. Here is a video with an idea for a game with solo singing to play with the song. I use this song with Kindergarten and First Graders:
I have a homemade fabric pumpkin with a zipper in the side and my students go on a hunt through the music room to find something small they can put in the pumpkin- mini containers of playdough, shaker eggs, castanets, finger cymbals, plastic spider and skull rings, markers, etc. have all made their way into our delicious stew!
3. Pass the Pumpkin
Check out the previous post here
with the full activity and song. My kids LOVE this one!
4. Pumpkins and Ghosts Game
This one uses foam ghosts and pumpkins (Dollar Tree or Wal Mart has these). Perfect for eighth and quarter note rhythm exploration! Original post here.
5. Five Little Pumpkins
This is a well known chant and fingerplay. It is wonderful to act out, add scarves and movement, too! Click on the book to link to amazon.
6. Pumpkin, Pumpkin
Original post here
- fun game and song!
7. Vanishing Pumpkin Book
This one is great for adding sound effects for each character.
8. Big Pumpkin Book
I have long loved this funny story of a witch who wants to make a pumpkin pie and can't get her pumpkin off the vine. Along comes a ghost who tries, and then a vampire and several other characters. Of course, it is the bat who finally gets it off the vine. Each time another character comes along students decide on an instrument sound for their character. Of course it is great for adding scarves, movement, and dramatic play also.
What are some of your favorite pumpkin activities?
Recently I organized and hosted a workshop for our local Orff Chapter. It wasn't my typical workshop of singing, speaking, moving, creating, and playing, but a Make and Take. The workshop was inspired by the St. Louis, MO chapter who hosted one last school year.
A Make and Take workshop is where participants come to make manipulatives for the classroom, explore how to use them, and take them home.
Our local chapter has been struggling for a few years and I was hoping this would bring our chapter together and boost membership. It did- we had 37 teachers sign up and many new members!
Interested in having a Make and Take Workshop? Here is what I did:
1. It's All in the Details
Date of workshop, time (I would recommend 4 hours), and place. You will need a space large enough for tables, chairs, and materials. We used our library and it was a perfect space as there were auxiliary areas we could use for specific projects that needed hot glue. We charged for materials only but wouldn't know the specific cost per person until everyone registered. There was a cut-off date for registration and we had several people inquire after the cut-off date. I did not charge a fee for hosting or presenting so it truly was a "materials only" fee. I let everyone know the cost would be no more than $40.00 per person and chose projects and materials accordingly.
2. Project Choice
I wanted a variety of projects that I use frequently and that students enjoy; some rhythmic, some melodic, games, instrument recognition, etc. I also wanted some material heavy projects and some paper projects. The participants needed to be able to take the items home immediately, so nothing that needed significant dry time (paint, wet glue, etc.).
I narrowed down my initial list to six projects with an "extra goodie" of some apple erasers:
Materials: 150 pipe cleaners per person to make a class set of 25 Bundles, scissors, one large baggie.
- Top left corner - Bundles of Joy (activity from Artie Almeida) and Noteman (activity from local chapter members Shari and Ashley)
- Top right corner - Music Memory/Concentration Game
Materials: Cardstock and 2 sets of (color) printed sheets of game pieces, glue stick, scissors, one small baggie.
Game pieces available with and without names of instruments:
Materials: Apple erasers purchased from Target Dollar Spot, one small baggie.
- Middle Right - Apple Erasers to use with song, "Apple Tree"
- Bottom Right - Rhythm Dice and Roll & Create Rhythm Worksheets (not pictured)
FREE download of Worksheets
, Sharpies and small baggies.
- Bottom Middle and Bottom Left - Rhythm and Melodic Monster Magnets
Original idea here from Elizabeth at Organized Chaos.
Materials: Tin Cookie Sheet, 1/8" Grid Tape , Magnet Circles, (Or Pom Poms), Googly Eyes, Hot Glue (we used Gorilla Glue hot glue sticks). Everyone made 8 cookie sheets with 64 magnets. Each cookie sheet needed an accompanying baggie with 8 "monster magnets"; 3 eighth notes (2 small googly eyes on each), 3 quarter notes (1 big googly eye on each), and 2 rests (no googly eyes), scissors, hot glue guns.
- Middle Left - Solfege Texting Sticks
Materials: 25 Large Craft Sticks per person, 2.5 pages of printed solfege papers, scissors, glue sticks, one small baggie.
3. Order Materials, Determine Costs Per Person. I ordered everything myself as our chapter is struggling, then I communicated costs to all who had signed up and asked for payment. Our costs came to $29.76 per person!
Get everything ready and try to separate as much as possible - I put the 64 magnets each in a big baggie and had helpers at the workshop an hour before to get everything laid out and separated so materials would be easy to pick up and count out. I also put signs above each material to let people know what they would need and a visual of what the finished project should look like.
5. Participants Arrive
Once everyone was present, I quickly went over where materials were (scissors, glue, and pens/Sharpies were on a separate table, hot glue station was in a different room, etc.), showed the visuals, reviewed the projects and let them know we would spend the last 30 minutes going over materials and how they would be used. This 30 minute time at the end was when I went over the Apple Tree game with the apple erasers, demonstrated how they could also turn these into magnets by gluing mini magnets on the back and use the cookie sheet boards to show the melody.
I also had a QR code to scan as participants came in which had a pdf of all directions, links to projects, visuals, and many extras to use to make more manipulatives at home. This was helpful as several used this document throughout the workshop to make sure they understood the project directions and final product.
It was a very successful workshop and I enjoyed the conversations with other music teachers. We rarely get time to sit and chat with each other and many others commented on how nice it was to have time to "talk shop" while at a workshop. I encourage you to give it a go!
Let me know if you have questions.
Form is one of my favorite things to teach. This year I decided to teach Theme and Variations a little differently and ran across my friend Elizabeth's blog post and knew she was on to something. I loved what she had done but needed to tweak it a bit for my Orff -sensibilities and decided to add a movement component using non-locomotor and locomotor movements already learned.
I began by playing the main theme from UP and had students sing it on "la". Then we watched this video in which the theme is clearly heard and changes based on the scene shown.
I ask the students to turn and talk about the words, "mood" (which we have learned about previously), and how the mood changes affect the music.
As a class we discuss instruments, tempo, dynamics, and introduce Theme and Variations. We sang a song already learned and created four variations. We had already done some other things and this was the final activity on day one.
The next class I had this video ready. It is so perfect for older elementary. There will be one or two they probably don't know but have heard the music to before. I ask my students to wait until the countdown shows "3" before guessing the title (which they get so excited about shouting out!). It was hilarious! This is 10 minutes long, show as much or as little as you would like.
Small groups were created and each chose a theme to use - anything was up for grabs and Spongebob Squarepants, Row, Row, Row Your Boat, and several others showed up but many groups chose theme songs from the Movie Theme video. Everyone in the group had to agree on the theme song.
Groups were then tasked with creating four variations on their theme song and everyone had to sing.
Over the years I have collected many "Sing Like A ...." cards similar to the ones here (free pdf).
I gave students the option of using these and demonstrated (and reiterated) the need for the SOUND to be different each time. We also talked about changing dynamics, tempo, etc.
Groups decided on variations and wrote them on individual white boards, then practiced these. We also added a movement component where the movement should reflect the mood of the variation.
Students decided order of performance and everyone watching responded with two thumbs up (they heard four different variations), or one thumb up (they heard some variations). It was so much fun and they were incredibly engaged and everyone was singing! Music to my ears!
Hope you give it a try and let me know how it went!
When I first heard Ye Toop Doram I realized what a great game song it is. I always thought it was traditional until a conversation with my friend, Marilyn Shepard, a 49 year veteran (!!!) of teaching children music who lives in California. Marilyn is an amazing teacher, musician, and collector of songs from around the world she has learned from students in her classroom! Oh- and one she learned while sitting on an airplane next to a woman from Ireland! She has a true collector's heart!
Following is an interview with Marilyn about Ye Toop Doram.
Marilyn (red shirt) and her twin sister, Nancy (black shirt).
Aimee (me): How did you get interested in music from cultures not your own?
Marilyn: My twin sister, Nancy Paxson and I have had a passion for collecting folk songs, singing games, and instruments from around the world since we were very young - as well as composing songs for children.
My training was Orff and Kodaly and ethnomusical multicultural classes as well as vocal/choral. Traveling with choirs to Russia, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, China, Costa Rica, Spain, and Portugal have added to my collections.
I am a Past President of our San Diego Orff Chapter and was a presenter at the National AOSA Conferences in 1991 and 2015. The sessions were titled "Indonesian Folklore for the Classroom", and "Children Sing and Play Music in Worship".
Now I am retired from the classroom, but work at the "Museum of Making Music" in Carlsbad, CA (an extension of NAMM) as a docent for student tours and still direct my Children's Choir at church. Many anthems are sung in non-English languages and use instruments from my collections; Hawaiian, Native American, Chinese, Indonesian, Kenyan, etc. My choir kids all play dulcimers, ukuleles, and recorders as well.
A: How did the song Ye Toop Doram
come about? Were you inspired by students or a family at your school?
M: Yes! Inspired by two students- one from Iran and one from Afghanistan. Both families with Persian language background.
I looked for very easy, repetitive music so that my primary age students would make connections with these girls (from Iran and Afghanistan).
I had seen a song, "My Ball" (Yeh Toop Dooram) in a book by Mary Lee Walker, A World of Children's Songs,
Friendship Press, 1983. I had made recordings of my Iranian student singing her very long and ornate version of the song and we agreed that it was not "accessible" to teach to other kids in her classroom, so we composed a whole new song.
My twin sister, Nancy, who also is a music teacher in Minnesota where we were raised, suggested the "hot ball" game for the rolling part of the song. Our melody started out super basic and then invited variations with more ornamentation. The song text evolved over the next years as I taught with an Iranian teacher at an International Baccalaureate School. We added instrumental experiences and varied language and rules.
A: How did the song spread?
M: I first presented it in 1999 at the Inland Counties AOSA workshop. As you know, music teachers like to share "fun finds" so it was passed along in Orff and Kodaly circles. A teacher friend from Iran wrote out the Arabic version we ended up using.
We changed the B Section text to "ghelesh bede" ... roll the ball away, and drums other instruments accompanied changing from a steady beat during the passing part, to the rhythm of the text on the rolling part.
A: How did you play it?
M: We always did it in a seated circle. Using a small 6" playground ball. The person in the middle closed their eyes as we passed it. They would not know if we were passing clockwise or CCW. Then open their eyes on the third count and quickly assess their jumping/dodging needs. If they were not tagged or caught by the rolling ball after 8-10 rolls they became a "champ" and chose another jumper.
A: What is the translation?
M: Toop = Ball, Doram = mine, so "The ball is mine" or "It's my ball".
Yek Doh Seh = One, two, three.
Lol-beday - = roll it away, Toopeh to cha - small ball.
Ghelesh behday = roll away.
Many thanks to Marilyn for sharing her information, pictures, and songs with us! Hope you have enjoyed learning more about Ye Toop Doram and if you haven't tried it, give it a go with your students- it is a perpetual favorite in my classroom!
I love the beginning of the new school year - all the excitement and the exhaustion combined in one. 😂
This year I have tried a few new things I have found on instagram and wow, I have really loved how these have worked out.
First, and this is not from instagram as I have done this for a couple years now, let's talk oils. We have a couple people really into doTerra oils at my school which has, of course, gotten many of us interested and using oils. I have a diffuser in my classroom and it is so cute- my kindergarten students especially love to come in and make a line by the diffuser so they can smell what is in there. The following comments and conversations are hilarious - "I wish she put lime in today" or "I love that one - smells like Christmas!" or "mmmmmm... orange.. I want to lick it". SO funny! I also have a certain third grade student who I had a difficult time connecting with - until I found out he LOVES the lime oil. So guess what goes in the diffuser before his class? He knows I see him, and that I care about him now and our relationship is completely different- all because of oils! Who knew?? I wish you could see the look of pure bliss on this kindergarten students face!
Last year I had seen these touch lights on instagram and I wanted to do something like this as an Exit Ticket/Quick Assessment/Review before lining up. So I made them this summer and it has been wonderful and gets my kids thinking and talking with each other using the language of music. I use these with my older grades and they have really enjoyed using them!
I think it was in August that I saw this idea using the song, "Aiken Drum". I have always left this song for those extra few minutes of class when I needed a quickie and use it with my Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten students. Well, this week with first grade I started singing it and all my returning students immediately jumped in but in place of the usual "and he played upon a ladle" I stopped the song and told them that since they had moved to first grade, Aiken Drum also had moved up and now he was going to play on "instruments". Then I told them we were going to make Aiken Drum on the floor today using instruments in the classroom. First we placed a circle on the floor for his head, then we sang, "and his hair was made of ______" and I chose a student to go pick out an instrument for his hair. It was hilarious and one of the best things I have done in a long time. At the end everyone got to pick up the instrument they chose and we played to the beat as we sang, ".. and he played upon the instruments". Great fun! These are by two different classes- I love the ears complete with earrings - triangles!
Hope you try some of these ideas!
Happy back to school!