Category Archives: Group activity

Inquiry into Pitch

I’ve just started a sound exploration unit in Grade 2, focusing on pitch (and later, duration and dynamics). Last week was an introduction week, where the students tried singing from graphic notation. What began as the same up-and-down siren sound … Continue reading

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Composing with Body Percussion

It’s a frustrating thing the day you realize that your Grade 4 students are still confusing beat and rhythm, and that they don’t read rhythms quite as well as you imagined they should. I dare say—and feel free to challenge … Continue reading

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The Listening Walk, Part III: Following a Score

Now that the students had inquired into how they could make their observed environmental sounds into musical sounds (inspired by Paul Showers’ The Listening Walk; see my Part I and Part II posts), we took it a step further. We visualized the … Continue reading

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The Listening Walk, Part II: Making Sounds into Music

Following our inquiry into environmental sounds (inspired by Paul Showers’ The Listening Walk), we explored how that might translate into music. Sitting together as a class, a few students shared some of the sounds they had drawn/written in their journals, … Continue reading

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Composing with Legos

Legos are great for so many reasons. But this year I discovered one more. The most basic LEGO Duplo bricks come in lengths of 2 and 4, which is perfect for all the work we do with 4/4. This wasn’t new … Continue reading

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Expression and the Elements of Music

In Grade 2, I do a focus on the elements of music, reviewing many familiar terms (tempo, dynamics, pitch) and introducing new musical terminology as well. It’s the common PYP cycle of analysis and synthesis: We break the music down … Continue reading

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Do the Locomotion

I went through a big overhaul of my curriculum recently, digging deep into cooperative groups, more creative composition, and authentically student-led inquiry. I was well into it, however, when I stopped to reflect and realized that movement—which had once been … Continue reading

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I Wanna Dance with Somebody!

Yes, I am a child of the eighties. I am also at a school with no dance in the curriculum, and I gather that many PYP music teachers are in similar situations. And whether or not there is a qualified … Continue reading

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HOTS for the Elements

I took a new approach to introducing the elements of music this time around. Inspired by oh-so-many PYP workshops where we split up the reading and then taught each other, I split up the students into groups so that each … Continue reading

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