Tuesday, October 28, 2014

H-A-double L-O-W-double E-N spells Halloween!

Ha, sorry! I learned this song in elementary school to the tune of "Danse Macabre" and it's stuck with me ever since. Here's the video from YouTube that I like to use.

Anyways, I thought I'd share some Halloween activities my classes have been doing.

In the Hall of the Mountain King - Grieg
This is the first year I've really delved into Grieg. I love the music and the melody really sticks in the kids' heads! I start introducing it in Kindergarten and 1st grade with Eric Litwin's (Pete the Cat!!!) song from The Learning Groove. It takes the melody and puts in words like "I can shake my shaker egg and sneak around the room." It's fun to add egg shakers and a little movement once the students have learned the melody.

As they get older, I show my intermediate students a short cartoon of the story.

It's only about 5 minutes, but also adds in the "Morning Mood" music, which many of the students recognize. In the future, I'd like to add a literature connection. I've seen some great picture books online, but haven't picked one up yet. Soon!

I also add rhythm sticks to the main theme, with the help of Malinda Phillips' great active listening resource! Check it out - it's free :)

From there, we move on to actually feeling the beat, tempo and dynamic changes in the music. If you follow my blog, you know I LOVE Artie Almeida. She has a wonderful guiro and kickball lesson for this piece. I tried it with my third graders last week and we had so much fun! I used basketballs because we don't have enough kickballs and it still worked out just fine. Here are some pictures from my students engaging in the music:

It was Character Counts week, so they're all dressed up in the careers they'd like to have.The basketball coach had to come get the balls for practice at the end of the day, but we had a good time while it lasted. Artie's lessons are truly wonderful resources. I encourage you to check out her videos on YouTube and purchase this resource. You won't regret it!

Some other activities we are doing this week are:
  • singing the story "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat!" with melody from Kristin Lukow
  • Halloween melody patterns from Aileen Miracle's 13 Nights freebie
  • Halloween vocal explorations and "create your own" template from Amy Abbott
  • Witch Witch (so-mi activity) and game from The Yellow Brick Road
  • Spooky Music listening & rating from Music with Sara Bibee (this one is a fun activity for the older kids!)

The last game we are playing is a favorite of my primary students! I discovered it on Pinterest last year and the students just love it. I can't seem to find the right recording for it, though. There is a faster version and a Denise Gagne version that has a different melody. I kind of plunked it out on my own and adapt it to my student's singing ability. Here's the video of the song I use and the game:

It's really fun and a great way to reinforce steady beat. What Halloween or seasonal activities are you doing this week with your students?


  1. Is there somewhere I can get more information for using the kickballs for "Hall of the Mountain King"? Do you just do the pulse or other elements to for dynamics etc? Thanks! Great ideas.

    1. Hi Nicole! I found the activity in Artie Almeida's "Parachutes, Ribbons, and Scarves, Oh My!" If you click on the picture of the book above, it will take you to a place to purchase it. It is really a wonderful resource and you can even view sample pages. There are videos on YouTube from the publisher to preview some of the activities. Basically, you alternate where to keep the beat with the ball as the song progresses. I didn't use guiros to keep the beat, but that is an additional role the students can have. Best of luck!

  2. Hi there! I found a recording on iTunes that I use for this game. There is some talking in it, so I dragged it into GarageBand and edited it so that it's just music. Here's the link to the iTunes page: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/dancin-mr-bones-halloween/id268390909
    Here's a video of my kids playing it just this morning! :)

    1. Yes, I've heard that recording. I didn't even think to eliminate the talking with GarageBand. Thank you for the idea! Looks like your students had fun :)