Guest Post: Emily Quezada

My name is Emily Quezada and I am a Music Educator in Orange County, FL.  I am a graduate of the University of South Florida and this is my sixth year of teaching elementary music.  I have my Level I and II Orff certifications thanks to an incredibly supportive principal and I can’t imagine teaching without these amazing experiences.

Over the summer I started a blog about everything elementary music education.  After seeing all of the great ideas on Pinterest, I thought that a blog would be a great way to share some of the things that make my classroom unique, while networking with other great teachers.  If you haven’t explored the world of music education blogs, all I have to say is “What are you waiting for?”.  There is such a treasure trove of information out there!  Once you start looking, it’s guaranteed you will be hooked.

First Grade Lesson:  Seven Blind Mice

Recently I did a lesson on timbre with my 1st graders.  This lesson was inspired by a book I had inherited from a retiring music teacher; Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young (it’s available on Amazon).  Unfortunately, I don’t know how she used this book in her classroom, so I had to come up with my own lesson.

In the story the mice find a new “Something” by the pond and they try to figure out what it is.  The problem is, they are only looking at part of the “Something” and not the whole thing.  In this lesson, students had to choose instruments to represent each part of the “Something”.

Process:

-Introduce Story

-Teach poem.  (listen, discuss dynamics, echo a phrase at a time, echo whole)

A Something, a Something

What could it be?

A Something, a Something

We’ll go and we’ll see.

(note:  I start out piano and crescendo starting from the third line to the end.)

-First Read

Read the story the first time, speaking poem before each mouse tells the group what he thinks the “Something” is.

-Discussion

  • After hearing the story, discuss what the mice thought the “Something” was.  I list these on the board.
  • Display the instrument choices (wood block, maracas, conga shakers, hand drum, jingle bells, guiro, triangle) I draw a picture of their choice next to the part listed on the board.
  • Have students decide which instrument should be used to represent each part of the “Something”.
  • Move students to 6 seated lines.
  • Each line gets one of the instrument parts.  Line one gets triangles, line two drums, etc.

-Second Read

  • Students play their instrument when their part is mentioned in the story.
  • At the end when the Something’s identity is revealed (Spoiler alert:  It’s an elephant!), all instruments play.

This only took me about 20 minutes to do with my kids, so it was only part of my lesson for the day.  It was a great way to review instrument technique, discuss timbre, and dynamic contrast.  You could break this up between two lessons.  The first lesson could be the poem only and discuss talking/singing voice as a review and during the second focus on timbre and add the instrument parts.

I hope you enjoy this lesson and find a way to use it with your kids.  If you have any questions, feel free to email me at mrsqsmusicblog@gmail.com.

Emily blogs at http://mrsqsmusicblog.blogspot.ca/. You must go check it out! She has great lesson, ideas, and plans! I’ve added a link to her site on our blogroll so you can find it again and visit often!

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