Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Let's go fishing!

I recently came across this really cute Guatemalan folk song:
If anybody knows me, I love all things Latin American - except beans.  For some reason, I just hate those!

Anyway, this is a great song for teaching ta rest for your 1st graders, or bringing it back later on to practice low so.  I wouldn't really use it to present that, because the interval is always re-so, but it would help enforce I-V accompaniment, and is really good for practicing that interval.

Latin American folk songs often have an uneven feel to them, because a lot of the time, their phrases are a little uneven - just different from what we're used to here in the good old U.S.A.  This song has that uneven phrase thing - sort of.  It has 4 equal-in-length phrases, but each phrase is 6 beats long.  That's a little unusual - but cool.  Something that you can point out to your kiddos!  The form is ABA'B - so it's great for pointing that out as well.

The words are:

1. Vamos a la mar, tum, tum,
A comer pescado, tum, tum.
Boca colorada, tum, tum,
Fritito ya asado, tum, tum.

2. Vamos a la mar, tum, tum,
A comer pescado, tum, tum.
Fritito y asado, tum, tum,
En sarten de palo, tum, tum.

The meaning is (not an exact translation, but this way it can also be sung in English)

1. Let's go to the sea
To get fish to eat.
Mouth as red as ruby,
Grilled and fried and crispy.

2. Let's go to the sea
To get fish to eat.
Grilled and fried and crispy
In a wooden skillet.

There is not a game that I can find, but you could have the kids create their own (mine love doing this).

I found a cute little video of some kids adding body percussion to this song.  They do it a little differently - they add an extra measure of rests to make the phrases even.  Find that video here.

Also, since this song is so great for practicing/presenting ta rest, I came up with a little game I call "Fishing for Rhythms."  Basically, you print off a set of these cards:
Cut them out, laminate them, etc.  Then, you can spread them around the "pond," face down.  A student has to "fish" for a rhythm and either you can do individual assessment - that student performs it by themselves, or you can have their team perform it.  Either way, if it is performed correctly, they get a point.  If it is incorrect, have them throw it back in the "pond," and continue playing.

You can also use these cards for games like "Post Office" or the fly swatter game - you know how much I love that one :)  I've provided a set of these cards (12 in total, practicing ta, ti-ti and ta rest) in both color and black and white.  You can get my whole file on this song (and support my adoption savings) here.

OR, you can wait until next week, when I'm throwing a big Cinco de Mayo sale and get this for 20% off, as well as all of my other Spanish language files :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Cotton Eye Joe

Do you know "Cotton Eye Joe?".  I have this wonderful folk song in a couple of my books - the standard (orange) "150 American Folk Songs," and in "My Singing Bird."



This song is great for teaching so many things - cut time, low la, practicing half notes, etc.  I like to use it in 3rd-ish grade for low la.


We talk about la in relationship to both low so and do.  Then, we notate it on the staff:


The rhythm can get a little tricky - in my primary sources, it is in cut time.





But, sometimes, this meter can be a little tricky for kids, so depending on where my kids are, I've also done it in 4/4 time:



Or, I've also actually done it where I use both versions for a compare/contrast meter thing.

Now, the first time I actually have ever heard this song was back in college, when I used to go country dancing every Thursday nigh.  I don't really even like country music, but I had so much fun dancing that I ignored that I didn't like the music :)

I used to dance to the version by Rednex, but since that's a little inappropriate for elementary school (some of the lyrics), I've actually stumbled across another great one for line dances by The Chieftains:


You can learn the line dance here:


Of course, this one is based off a different version of the song, notated here:


That version has lots of possibilities to use with your older students - syncopation, fa, etc.

What I like to do is teach the kids the first version, then introduce the second version with the line dance.  They love it!

Of course, you can help support my adoption fund by getting my file of the song here :)