Let me say first, I am jealous of those who are telling me you only have a few more days left of school. I have 4 weeks left starting next week and am trying to think about how to end the year with a bang. For most of you that means crazy kids, fun filled days with lots of programs, concerts, and assemblies, and the terrible horrible spring fever..dun dun DUUUNNNN. I decided to post some things I have done in the past to help combat the end of the year blues!
Floor Drumming– All you need is a bunch of rhythm sticks and a few popular tunes to be able to do this. I have a playlist of Kidz Bop songs that I use and just press play after I pass out sticks. I teach the students a couple of different ways to play before we get started and then just tell them to keep the beat any way they want on the floor and sing along. The kids get a complete kick out of it and its a great way to beat out some end of the year frustration.
Quaver Quests– If you’re a Quaver Teacher like me, then this is a great review. I wrote a bunch but you can always write your own. Gives the students some independence that they want towards the end of the year and is a great review for them as well. If you would like to see my quests check out: Quaver Quests
Free Computer Play– I put a list of websites the kids can explore during the period and bring in a computer cart and let them go (you can also have them in a computer lab.) Some website recommendations are: www.quavermusic.com, www.incredibox.com, www.sfskids.com, www.nyphilkids.org, www.dsokids.com
Recycled Instruments– I’m actually doing this with a class of 3rd graders right now. I collected scrap paper, cardboard, rubber bands, tape, paper clips anything I could find and dumped it on the floor after we talked about string and percussion instruments and told them to go for it. After they are done making their instrument they can color and decorate before we get together and just play. This is a great way to get rid of unwanted or unused office supplies!
Communal Drumming– I use to be very much into learning about communal drumming activities and still do some with my kids. My two favorite to play are from the Facilitator series by Kalani. One is called Rumble Ball and the other is a hot/cold game where students need to play faster when the seeker is closer to the object and slower when they are further away.
Drum Circle– I have a full set of kids percussion instruments, I have each student pick one (Or I pick for them.) We then carry them outside and we start by doing a couple warmups and playing rhythms together before dividing it up by instrument and start a jam session with each instrument playing their own ostinatos!
Found Objects Performance– Give them 20 minutes and a whole area to find something they can play as an instrument and bring it back to the circle before time is up. After, treat it like a drum circle and get playing.
Chalk Notation– I have a bucket of sidewalk chalk and permission from my principal and we go out and take up the black top on the playground and write measures of 4 beats. They then grab a partner and clap it together before adding more or going to the next free space and making another one. By the end of class the whole blacktop is filled with music!
Bean Bag Throw Composing– I had my Dad help me with this one. I bought him two large pieces of Plywood and he cut out 5 bean bag sized holes in each. I then painted a note or rest near each one. I put the kids into teams and give them a piece of staff paper for each team and a set of bean bags. They take turns throwing and must fill 4 measures of 4 beats each to win. If they get it a note that won’t fit then they must keep trying until they do! In order to win the whole team must say or clap their rhythms after they are done.
Outdoor iPad Band– I love this, we have a set of iPads I can rent out for the day. Each one has the Garageband app on it. I have kids each take one or partner up on them and choose on of the smart instruments in the app. We then come up with ostinatos each instrument can play. Then it turns into a giant jam session. I sometimes record it and they listen to it after to hear how great they sound!
How are you getting ready for summer?