Thursday, September 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday! (and an update)

Here's a "Throwback Thursday" to one of my first blog posts! I've also added some new things to it today, so check out the update at the end!

Bounce High, Bounce Low

I love the song "Bounce High, Bounce Low." It has so many things in it for the students to learn! I am using it with 2nd graders for concepts, but I hope to glue it to the 1st grade curriculum by the end of this year.

To start, we play a singing game. The students are in a circle, with one person holding the ball. We all sing "Bounce high, bounce low. Bounce the ball to Shi-loh," but replace "Shi-loh" with a student's name. The ball is bounced to that student and we keep going. Granted, it is not the most exciting game ever but the students like it and it is awesome for helping with names at the beginning of the year.

Next, we take it apart. I got this wonderful powerpoint collection of Penguin Songs from Emily F. at

The students review steady beat, as well as "ta" and "titi." Then, I introduce our new solfege hand sign "la." The students have already heard of "La" through the book series "So-Me" by Stuart Manins. I highly recommend you purchase these books. They are great! The kids love singing So-Me's name and remember it forever. They are pricey, but they introduce rhythm, melody, different sounds and high vs. low. They are also awesome for a sick voice day because the author reads the stories on his CD that comes with the books.

Anyways, we learned about "La-Me" who is So-Me's older brother. They now get to see where La is! We use the powerpoint to see the picture relationships, sing the song, show the handsign and see it on the staff.

Finally, we add instruments! The students love the boomwhackers and they are a great way to reinforce our district goal of student-centered classrooms. I divide the students, explain to them about boomwhacker notation and we get started! They are given 10 minutes to work together before performing in front of the class. It's also a nice way to introduce and reinforce audience etiquette. The students listen to one another, clap, and encourage each person's playing. I love it! They are so brave to get up in front of their classmates and play - I couldn't even do that until middle school! It really helps them out as we prepare for our program in December.

What other ideas do you have for Bounce high, bounce low? I love songs that teach so many different things :)


So, I was preparing to do this lesson again (it's a classic!) and found some new improvements! I stumbled upon a great blog post from Beth's Music Notes. Here, she uses movements to demonstrate the different levels of sound throughout the song. I love kinesthetic learning! We added in tennis balls to create this string of movements:

Mi = bounce to the floor
So = hold ball at stomach
La = hold ball straight up in the air

Once I modeled and we practiced together several times, I had them choose a partner/group and bounce to their partner on "Mi." When we received the song, discovered "La" and added the handsigns, it was so easy for them because they were used to moving their hands and adjusting to different levels. We also finished with the boomwhackers in small groups again. I really enjoyed this lesson! I thought I had it all figured out, but then more wonderful ideas from amazing teachers. Here's some updated pictures of my students in action:


  1. I love this song! When I do it with my students, we play over/under: the students stand single file (a circle would work too) and pass the ball to the person behind them in line... if they are passing on the word "high" they pass over their head, and if they pass on the word "low" they pass through their legs.

    1. Awesome! I should try that next time. I love how this one song has so many interactive ways to learn about it and its' musical elements. Thank you for sharing!!