1st Grade

My goal is to provide a sample of the artistic journey we experience in music class.  Please note that not everything we do will be posted!

Miss Mary Mack

When we sing we can add rich texture to our performance by adding ostinatos.  And ostinato is a short repeated pattern that we hear over and over again.  In this case, we choose the classic body percussion part that some many of us have known since childhood.  In the future, we will create our own ostinatos and see if we like them better.

Five Kites

The students worked on hearing the melody of the song and correctly matching a performance on instruments.  We learned that songs have a shape and that shape can be performed in a lot of ways.  Today we used our voice and instrument, but who knows tomorrow we may use dance and movement.



Recently the students have learned how to sing songs using solfege (la-so-mi).  Today we learned how to move that information onto instruments.  The students selected Boomwhackers (pitched tubes of various lengths) to perform the song.

Mr. Brown Can Moo!  Can You?

Today we celebrated read across America month by performing the Dr. Seuss book Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?  Each student got a different instrument and part and they performed when their character entered the story.  The students had so much fun selecting an instrument that matched their character/sound.

claireClaire de La Lune

In this activity, the students worked on using a giant parachute to create an ocean that moved to the music.  We talked about the types of waves that would match the song and even had a chance to add a bubble (beach ball) into the ocean to test out motions.

syncopatedclockThe Syncopated Clock

As the students learned this classic song they explored the form by using various motions and movement.  We discovered the form was repeating in a specific pattern and we were able to talk about how the composer used those building blocks to compose this song.

snailSnail, Snail

The students are beginning to read music on a staff.  In order to learn this skill, we do many kinesthetic, aural and visual activities.  One such activity is to have the students draw what they hear and what they think the symbols will look like.




In this activity, the students practiced taking a word, BINGO, and transferring that information into a rhythm.  In the education, world we call this word prosody.  It is an important skill to be able to trandslate words into rhythms and also to take rhythms and treat them as words.  By doing this we are able to make relationships between musical patterns of sound and also patterns in language.

image-1Farmers Dairy Key

This is a great song to explore a full octave as the students sing.  We also used this song to practice the new rhythms we learned in class this week. They also get a chance to play a traditional game that students their age play in England when they sing the song.  It works a lot like the game Duck, Duck, Goose that most Americans know.

leavesLeaves Are Falling Down

The students are working on exploring melodic contour (the shape of a song) by using scarves and motions to add visuals to the music.  In this song, they scattered throughout the classroom to create a forest that came alive and moved with the words to the song.  At one point they had to create their own movements by improvisation.

junio6 de Junio

As the students continue to explore the rhythm of a song they must keep pace with understanding the beat.  Today the students got a chance to explore an instrument of their choice as we kept a steady beat to this song from Peru.

first-rhythmFirst Rhythms!

Since Kindergarten the first-grade students have been learning to express a steady beat through movement, using instruments and singing.  They have also been learning to perform “the way the words go”.  In other words the rhythm.  Today was the first day that we moved from sound to a symbol.

Fall Rhythm Compositions

Today all the students had a chance to create their own songs based on symbols (rhythms) from the fall season.  Then we performed those patterns on instruments and shared our songs with each other.  These students are so creative!

image-1The Wide-Mouthed Frog by Keith Faulkner

The students have been reading this book and adding speech and percussion instruments to the story.  Today, every student created a special part to be played on instruments to go along with the story!


littleThe Little Shoemaker

The Little Shoemaker is a difficult Danish folk dance (“work song”) that the first-grade students have been working on.  We are using this song to learn about the form in music.  Today the students performed the song for the first time without my help!  Hooray!

Pumpkin Fatpumpkinfat

The students are working on reading melodic contours and begin to make the connection to music notation.  In this song, we are also working on basic intervals that are appropriate for first grade.  But really the best part is getting to make our pumpkin faces at the end of the song!



In this activity, the students had to create the ending to the song.  They created four verses and then had to act out the motions as they performed the song.  They really enjoyed this piece which is in minor (perfect for fall).  They are so creative, they came up with chasing mice, fishing, raking leaves, but their favorite one was rolling around.

Wee Willie Winkiewe-willie

In this activity, the students are tasked to create buildings with their bodies.  They created schools, skyscrapers, etc.  Then each group traveled around the classroom and interacted with the buildings as they performed the song.


Instrument Jam

Students love to take a percussion instrument (tambourine, rhythm sticks, triangle, sand blocks or jingle bells) and practice finding the steady pulse in the music!


shoeCobbler, Cobbler

In this song, the students are exploring the beat vs rhythm.  How do we compare the way the words go to the steady pulse?  We pass our shoes to the beat of course!


starStar Light, Star Bright

With this song, the students sing a poem as they pass around a star.  If they are holding the star at the end of the song, they get to tell us all what they wish for!  So what did they say?  They want to be a fairy princess, a superhero who shoots lava out of their hands (how cool is that), to meet a dinosaur, have a lego set and of course own a real pet UNICORN!




Here are the big goals for this year!

  1. Explore steady beat, step the beat and clap the rhythm to various duple-meter songs, this is done by singing and also using inner hearing
  2. Melodic contours including identification of repeated melodic or rhythmic motives
  3. Quarter and eighth notes, in groupings of two and four (in stick notation)
  4. Two note chant so-mi, with a clear articulation of words, correct posture, breathing, and expressive singing.
  5. Recognize and perform rest (quarter note)
  6. Three note chant la-so-mi (pentatonic as advanced material)
  7. Explore a two-beat meter
  8. Accented and unaccented beats (comparison)
  9. Explore phrases (comparison of like / unlike)
  10. Visually identify instrument families
  11. Improvisation on rhythm and melody
  12. Reinforce fast-slow, high-low, loud-soft for music and sounds
  13. Perform simple ostinato with performance of song (ta, ti-ti, ta rest and/or ta, ta, ti-ti, ta)
  14. Perform an easy melodic cannon
  15. Sing songs from memory

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