In first grade, several of the Common Core literature standards deal with participating in collaborative conversations, creative writing, and simple command of understanding details in a text. One of the Common Core Maps for first grade involves an activity in which the class collaborates to write their own ABC book, based on ideas from books such as Dr. Seuss’s ABC and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.
Because many kindergarten teachers (and kindergarten music teachers!) use Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, you can “pull” an Orff “take it and redo it another way” idea using the same book in first grade for basic beat patterns and for some creativity.
Review Chicka Chicka Boom Boom with students by telling them you
are reading a story from last year. Ask them to quietly find a beat however
they want to, except it needs to be two different moves. Demonstrate a couple
of different beat patterns.
After the first read-through, read it again, asking students
do show two-pattern moves while standing up with a partner. Again, use a
student for demonstration and show the students a couple of ideas. As the students
move with their partners, you can do simple assessment while whatever scoring
guide is convenient.
Ask the students to sit and tell them “What if the letters
weren’t up a coconut tree?” Guide them to brainstorm other scenarios or scenes
for this story.
As the brainstorming continues, students can then contribute
ideas as to what the letters do. Will they fall out? Run away? Cry? Ask
individual students to write ideas on Smartnotebook or large paper. (Large
post-it note pads work well for this.)
Students will then narrow choices down to complete their own
Chicka-Chicka Boom Boom style story. To complete this part of the lesson (or
begin on another day), students can decide what types of voices to use as they
read or say their story. (By the way, demonstrate some vocal inflection in your reading! Kids love it, and it will be easily for them to imitate vocal inflection and later, pitch match, when you do so).
Here are some extension ideas to this lesson:
1. Pass out paper to the students (whatever type the teacher uses for writing) and ask the students to copy a certain part down (depending on how long your “story” is). Emphasize certain words where the students would move on the beat and ask them to underline those words. (Common Core=getting into higher order thinking on Bloom’s Taxonomy. You COULD copy it and have it underlined for them, but where would the fun be for them?)
2. If your class can handle it, they could underline the odd number beats in one color and the even numbers in another color.
3. Using their written text as a “score”, students can play unpitched instruments or play a simple bordun on the underlined words. For a challenge, one group of instruments can play on one certain color line, and another for the other color. (You might also have this same visual displayed on an interactive board for assistance).
Remember to break this lesson up into small segments. First graders don’t have that great of an attention span. Devote 10-15 minutes tops on this lesson, then go on and do something else and return to this.
I plan on doing this lesson myself this week. Hopefully I can provide some video so you can see how it went with my own first graders. Waiting for those technology permission forms to come through!