All of the rain in South Florida lately has prompted me to share one of my favorite rainy day activities. I do this mostly with my little second graders.
1. We all learn the poem “rain, rain, go away, come again another day!”
2. We transfer the rhythm to body percussion (patting with alternate hands).
3. We quickly notate the rhythm of the poem (sometimes I leave this out).
4. We sit in a circle. I give every 4th or 5th child a glockenspiel set in C pentatonic (you can use bells and tell the children to just use the ones that the top).
5. We say the poem as a group and then the students with the instruments play the poem using whichever notes they like! I maintain a steady drone using a bass metallophone and I often pass the rain stick around the circle to add a little color.
We will also turn the lights off and let the little natural light come through window. It creates a nice calm environment for both me and the children.
Below are the NGSSS that can work with this lesson:
MU.2.S.3.2 Play simple melodies and/or accompaniments on classroom instruments.
MU.2.S.3.3 Sing simple la-sol-mi-do patterns at sight.
MU.2.S.3.4 Compare aural melodic patterns with written patterns to determine whether they are the same or different.
MU.2.S.3.5 Show visual, gestural, and traditional representation of simple melodic patterns performed by someone else.
I know some of you are thinking, “She doesn’t have singing simple patterns using la-sol-mi-do” in her plan. Why is it listed? I’ve included other NGSSS that may not be explicitly included so that you can see jumping off points for exploring other content.
Something that you can do after this experience is to tell the students, “I heard some very pretty melodies using these different pitches on your instruments last time. They are so lovely, I’d like us to write them down so we can remember them next time we’re looking for a nice melody. Can you help me figure out what we played?” When you ask the students to remember the melodies they played last time (you may need to do a mini-version of the lesson beforehand) you hold the accountable for remembering what they did in class. They love to “remember” their melodies (who cares if they aren’t exactly what they did before, it’s not important) and share them with the class. Here is also an opportunity for you to add some basic ear training (are these same, different, which part is the same, do they borrow from each other) and varying levels of notation.
What are some other NGSSS that you can work into this experience to extend it beyond simply playing on the glockenspiel?