Friday, August 29, 2014

It's A Star-Spangled Year!

I haven't posted a blog for quite awhile...since July!  It was a very busy summer for me, not home very much!  I will try to be more consistent now that we are back in the swing of the school year!  We have complete 2 weeks of school already!  Students and teachers are back into school routines, and time is already flying!  

This is our Star-Spangled Year!  Know why?  This year is the 200th anniversary of the writing of the lyrics of our Star-Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key! There is a very interesting story that goes with the adventure that Francis Scott Key had while writing these lyrics!  Ask your children about it!   To learn more details about the battle at Ft. McHenry and how Francis Scott Key came to be there to witness it, go HERE.
Adding to our local celebration will be a Star-Spangled performance by the 2nd and 3rd graders on October 21.  We are already learning some of the selections we will sing.  One of our favorites already is a song entitled, "Mount Rushmore" by Karl Hitzemann.  It's a beautiful song.  Many of the students have been to visit Mount Rushmore, so this song means a lot!  We have also explored how Mount Rushmore was made, how big it is, and what each of the presidents represented has done for our country.  They will be singing traditional patriotic songs as well as some new, star-spangled melodies.
We have been focusing on our breathing while singing.  These students are practicing their breathing while lying down.  Students are able to see the rise and fall of their diaphragms as they inhale and exhale.  We can tell it makes a difference in our singing when we think about these things!  We talk about phrasing and breathing as we sing our songs.
Kindergarten and first graders have been singing to the book "Brown Bear Brown Bear" by Eric Carle.  We put our own spin on the book by using the melody we sang and using our own unique animals!  
I have a collection of zoopal plates which are, unfortunately, not sold any more.  I think that music teachers bought all of the inventory!  These work well for reviewing not only our song, but colors, animals, and syllables (rhythm) in language. This is also a good way for me to assess their singing voices as we begin our year. Even if you can't buy zoopals, you can still play online games with them!  The kids love these games too!  They have been exploring them in technology class!  You can find them here!