Thursday, January 28, 2016

Bring On The Strings

Violins, cellos, and harps...Oh, my! There was so much to talk about with stringed instruments, we spent a couple extra days and extra time on projects related to this category of instruments.

We talked about the number seven, and the kids traced the hands-on number in their little journals to create a harp with 7 strings. They counted/drew seven musical notes and made up their own little tune on the opposite page.

I started using the daily coloring page provided by Mother Goose Time as a self-directed activity during centers. I encourage them to cross out the Spanish word and write the word in Japanese if they know it. Since I have a mixed-age group, the older ones often help the little ones with that part. Then they are free to decorate and color the page (front and back) however they want. One student took a particular interest in cellos, so he changed the guitar on the coloring sheet into a cello with the little stand on the bottom. I loved that creativity!

The violin art prop was really fun! Some groups spent lots of time decorating their violins, so it took us several days to get them all done. They enjoyed "playing" along with the string parts of the the Sights and Sounds of Winter CD.

We are blessed to have multi-talented staff at our school. One of the administrative assistants in the front office is also a worship leader in the church, so I invited him one day to come to the class and play his guitar for us. They loved having Daiki sensei as our "special guest musician"!  I found some little mini guitars at the 100 yen store (Dollar Tree equivalent), which, when tuned, worked surprisingly well. They made up songs about Jesus and took turns playing and singing into the echo microphones.

One of the favorite activities actually happened unintentionally. I had a so many empty tissue boxes I was trying to think of a way to use them for homemade instruments. I put them out on a table with a bag of colored rubber bands and the hands-on numbers. The instructions were to choose a number and count that many rubber bands to put around the box. In reality, they just added as many rubber bands to the box as they could fit, and one student actually "tuned" her bands so she could play a song on her instrument. I was so proud! (even though they didn't follow my directions! Ha!)

For an open-ended 2-dimensional art/music project, we looked at examples of sheet music from the back of several of our story books, and I gave them popsicle sticks to trace five lines for the staff and music confetti with treble clef, quarter notes, and eighth notes to arrange however they wanted to create their own musical score. The results were totally adorable. I often invite the students' input on where/how to display their art work in the classroom, as well as how to label it on sentence strips. I read several different scripture verses about making music, and finally they decided we should just write,"I will sing to the Lord a new song."

Sometimes simple and sincere makes the biggest impact: in art, music, and life!

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