Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Let's Talk About Books Linky (Little Green)

I LOVE books in the music classroom! When I saw other music teachers linking up, I had to join and share one of my favorite books for the elementary music classroom.

The summer after my first year of teaching, I went to our state-wide choral symposium. Normally, these are really set up for middle and high school directors. However, they had an amazing teacher named Aaron Hansen present. He still teaches in Iowa, I believe, but does clinics and performances throughout the United States. He is primarily an Orff teacher, but his ideas can be used in any classroom. All of Aaron's sessions were so fun and approachable for any teacher at any level. My favorite was his "Telling the Story" session, featuring folktales and children's stories. That is where I discovered the awesome book, "Little Green" by Keith Baker. It's all about a child watching a hummingbird he names Little Green.

I really enjoy using this book with my kindergarteners in the spring, but it's also fun for 1st grade, too. The first thing we do is read the story - the ending is super cute! The students really love finding where Little Green is in each page and discover what happens at the end. 

Next, we find our own space in the room and act out the story. Little Green goes up, down, in circles, zip zags, etc. It's nice for them to move around in their own space with the story and use their imagination. I also add in the finger play Five Little Hummingbirds for the kindergarteners:

Five humming birds flying in the air (Hold up five fingers)
The first one landed in my hair (Grab little finger)
The second and third were a pair. (Touch index finger and thunb together.)
The fourth humming bird didn't care. (grab ring finger.)
The fifth humming bird hummed everywhere (Touch middle finger and hum loudly)
Five humming birds flying in the air (Hold up five fingers)

The last thing we do is talk about vocal exploration. I really enjoy doing these more and more in all of my classes. I introduce vocal explorations with slide whistles, but this book is also a great review of all different ways we move our voice. First, we draw with our finger and sing the lines that Little Green makes. I usually demonstrate and then sometimes call up student leaders to do a few. 

The next part is up to you and your classroom resources. I like to let each student have a long piece of yarn, but I've seen other teachers use jump ropes, ribbons, etc. for vocal exploration practice. I have each student create their own exploration shape and practice following it with their voice. We share some as a class, but they also get into partners or small groups to share and vocalize together. This is also a fun way to demonstrate student centered learning and do a quick assessment of how the student's voices are changing. Here's an example from another vocal exploration story lesson from Stay Tuned!

I'm sure there are so many more ideas for this cute little book. It's only $6.95 on Amazon...I actually think I got mine used from an old public library, but it is a gem. So bright and colorful - perfect for spring! Please link up and check out all of the great books to use in your classroom!

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