Let’s Learn About… Native Americans!

Hello everyone! Thanks for checking in with us here at Allegro Harmonies.

A student of mine is just starting to learn about Native Americans in her Social Studies class. Upon learning this, I was so excited to sit down and write a tune about the people who know the land in this country best! I was SO tempted to incorporate one of my favorite Disney characters/historical figures, Pocahontas, into this tune, but I ultimately decided I needed to leave that side of my personality out of the song equation. 🙂

Since this student is in the very preliminary stages of learning about the Native Americans, I kept the “key words” in the song simple: e.g. Tribes, Moccasins, and Reservations. I’m still deciding on a chord progression to accompany these lyrics, but I thought I’d share the words in the meantime along with the follow-up worksheet to accompany the use of the song. (Lyrics sheet + WS)

Enjoy! —Noa

This School Year is Gonna RULE!

Welcome back… to school!

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Noa and I have a lot of clients in schools, so we are back to being very busy! Here’s a little ditty I wrote to get my kiddos back in the groove. It’s pretty simple, and you can really change the words to suit each student. The song also has lots of opportunities for students to come up with their own ideas of things they can bring to school.

Have a wonderful 2012-2013 school year!!

This School Year is Gonna Rule! Audio

I’ve got my notebooks

I’ve got my lunch

I’ve got my pencils

all in a bunch…

 

CHORUS:

Back to school, Back to school,

This school year is gonna rule!

Back to school, Back to school,

Cuz school is really cool!

 

I’ve got my backpack

I’ve got my friends

I’ve got my markers

Even my pens…

 

Chorus

Because the Night

 

Ah, the 1980’s: So many poor hairstyle choices, and yet so many unforgettable tunes. “Because the Night” by Patti Smith is just one of those great 80’s tunes that you couldn’t forget if you tried. So, I figured why not embrace the everlasting “earworm” that is [all of the] 80’s music with open arms and create a session activity around it!?

Note: I chose to play the song on my iPod speakers to free up my hands for modeling different movements or rhythms, but I think this activity could be just as effective with live music [depending on the needs of your audience].

There are so many ways you could go about using this song in a session: Prior to the bridge and chorus, the song is very mellow, consisting of Patti’s ever-so-haunting voice and a piano ostinato. During said parts: For clients that like to dance or just keep moving, interpretive or choreographed body movements can be incorporated. Or, to stick with the rhythmic/instrumental theme, accompaniment [on a rhythmic instrument of your choosing] can be performed quietly, emulating the pensive-feel of the first section.

The visual aid(s), or “musical maps” as I call them, cater to the most notable part of the song: the chorus. I created this activity with a small group in mind, particularly students of mine with whom I continue to work on speech goals, and incorporating proprioceptive movement with speech. Clients who don’t recognize the song will catch onto the form of the piece very quickly because it is fairly repetitive — alas, the form that was followed by the majority of 80’s musicians. Brilliant.

Download the Musical Map!

– The “x” markings on the visual match up with the strike of the drum or shaker along with the lyrics “Because the night.” The music itself reinforces these pronounced beats, so feel free to crank the volume a bit to fully jam out!

– The icon depicting a girl singing for the opposing lines is a prompt to… SING! Switching back and forth between instrument and vocal tasks is not only a fun challenge for the students, further motivated by the song itself, but it also increases dexterity and clarity in both gross motor and oral motor skill areas.

I created musical maps for both hand-held drums and shakers/maracas. Feel free to use whichever map best suits the goodies found in your instrument bag! — Noa 

Hot ‘n Cold Visual

Here’s a quirky new way to approach the topic of “opposites” with all different ages and client populations using a popular song by… Katy Perry! A lot of my students are working toward learning various opposites, and the song “Hot and Cold” (by Katy Perry) leads into this topic quite nicely! I was able to adapt some of the lyrics to make it more appropriate, and created a flowchart visual depicting the different opposite relationships.

After the student has learned the opposites on the chart, I cut the pictures out and mix them up. Then, I have the student correctly identify the opposites using the visuals. My students really enjoyed this activity because it was often times a song they recognized from the radio.

Below, you will find the visuals that I used with my students. If there are different opposites you’d like to incorporate, you can easily substitute the existing material.

**For another song suggestion, “Hello, Goodbye” by the Beatles is a great choice for discussing opposites, particularly those that are less common or more abstract.

Hot ‘n Cold Visual

Nickel Frog

Hello, viewers! Noa here.

Like many of my students this week, you’re probably thinking, “…What is a ‘Nickel Frog‘?!” Counting in increments or by patterns (e.g. Counting by 5’s, 10’s…) is a tough task for some of my students, so I created the Nickel Frog to function as a fun and friendly guide on their counting journey!

When implementing the Nickel Frog activity, you may find it useful to supply some sort of number sheet that clearly depicts #1-100, so your student can have a concrete visual to accompany the learning process. To supplement the lyrics and number sheet, I made a Nickel Frog visual [with a front and back] to accompany the song that you can cut out and glue back-to-back OR laminate — I did the latter for durability. Because I don’t have a color printer, I colored the frog using markers post-printing. 🙂

Written in the key of C using the I-IV-V chords, the Nickel Frog likes to eat nickels instead of flies, and therefore loves to help you count by fives! The song provides the opportunity to incorporate movement in to the learning process via prompts — (e.g.) The lyrics, “So let’s hop, hop, hop!” followed by the numbers to and from which the Nickel Frog is “hopping.” My kids really enjoyed taking turns making the Nickel Frog hop around, and motivated them to listen closely as to not miss where the Nickel Frog is headed. Lyrics & Nickel Frog Cut-Out

Some of my students and their parents were gracious enough to allow for photography and audio footage collection during sessions, so I am very pleased to present you with this coverage of the Nickel Frog IN ACTION! Nickel Frog Audio

Thanks for hopping by!