Second Grade Compositions: Step 4

Composition with tempo and dynamics added

Composition with tempo and dynamics added

My second graders have completed the final steps in writing their compositions.  After choosing and writing rhythms and pitches, they added expression markings to their pieces.  Each chose andante, moderato, or allegro as a tempo (some more than one).  They also added dynamic markings, using at least forte and piano, although some who take piano lessons added mezzo piano, mezzo forte, crescendos, and diminuendos. Continue reading

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Class Dojo

Class Dojo is a behavior management system that tracks behavior, motivates students, and instantly connects with parents.  It’s very simple, but very effective.  I feel compelled to share my experience with Class Dojo with all teachers now, as it has changed my life as a teacher in the few weeks since I came across it while perusing the iTunes app store.

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Second Grade Compositions: Step 3

BEFORE:  Rhythm composition with solfege pitches

BEFORE: Rhythm composition with solfege pitches

AFTER:  Rhythms and solfege pitches translated into standard music notation

AFTER: Rhythms and solfege pitches translated into standard music notation

My second grade students have completed the third step in their composition process–translating their rhythms and pitches into standard music notation. They began by writing 16 beat rhythm compositions, using quarter notes, pairs of eighth notes, and quarter rests. Then they added solfege pitches of a pentatoic scale (do, re, mi, so, la) to their rhythms. Now, they’ve used their solfege pitches to place their rhythms on a staff.

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Second Grade Compositions: Step 2

Composition-Solfege

My second graders have continued their work on their four measure compositions. Since composing the rhythm of their pieces (see Second Grade Compositions: Step 1 for more details on that), they have been learning about pitch by studying the solfege scale. They’ve become quite proficient in labeling the solfege syllables of a song written in standard music notation, and then being able to sing the tune accurately without hearing it first. I was considerably older than second grade before I could do that! This new knowledge was applied to their compositions last week.

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Grammys

The Okee Dokee Brothers, Justing Lansing and Joe Mailander, with their well-deserved Grammy.

It seems that all Minnesotans are celebrating the Grammy win of the local kids’ bluegrass duo, the Okee Dokee Brothers, but none more than my students.  Ever since the Okee Dokee Brothers visited my school last spring and performed a concert, my students have been obsessed with their music.  They beg to listen to “Bluegrass for Breakfast” every day.  They regularly ask me when the band is coming back to the school.  Any time they hear a banjo, someone will comment that it’s the instrument that Justin plays.  So in honor of their victory, we held our own version of the Grammys in my classes. Continue reading

Second Grade Compositions: Step 1

If only all of the papers I have to correct provided such an ego boost!

If only all of the papers I have to correct provided such an ego boost!

My second graders are composers! They’ve just completed the first step in a process that will result in each student having created an original piece of music, written in standard music notation. So far, they’ve exceeded my expectations (as they often do), and they seem to really enjoy the work.

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