Thursday, July 12, 2012

Once Upon a Musical Pair

As we are approaching the end of the summer, I thought some of you may be examining your wishlists and ordering new materials for your classroom. I thought I would share some recommendations.

I absolutely love these 2 books:

"Once Upon a Folk Tale" and "Once Upon a Mountain Tale" by Linda Rockwell High and Carol Kindt. 
They are each $14.50 at They are each $15.95 at but eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping. I suggest you visit Amazon to take a sneak-peak inside  "Once Upon a Mountain Tale" to view a few pages and see if you like it. Both books are formatted the same way.

Each book has 8 stories set to music. 
"Once Upon a Folk Tale" includes:
Chicken Little 

3 Billy Goats Gruff  
How the Camel Got His Hump
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
The Fox Who Lost His Dinner 
The Gingerbread Boy
The Old Woman and Her Pig 
Silly Jack

"Once Upon a Mountain Tale" includes 6 Jack tales and 2 Grandfather tales set to melodies from Appalachian folk songs and fiddle tunes. (I teach in Kentucky so this book was an awesome addition to my resource library!) 

Orff Arrangements

When it is time to insert a song, the reader will see a treble clef appear in the story. Although you could sing the melodies with an accompaniment, the songs include very simple Orff arrangements. Due to time constraints, sometimes I teach only the bass part. You could adapt the arrangement to meet your need by omitting or adapting some of the instrument parts. You could also play some of the parts on the piano to accompany the singing. If you are a string player, you would definitely want to bring your instrument to accompany the Appalachian folk tunes!

Sound Effects

 The characters in each story have specified sound effects with a variety of percussion instruments. The selection of includes: claves, cowbell, finger cymbals, guiro, hand drum, maracas, tambourine, temple blocks, vibraslap, wood block, cabasa, chime tree, gong, log drum, metal shaker, piccolo blocks, ratchet, recorder, sleigh bells, snare drum, suspended cymbal, timpani, triangle, wind chime, bass drum, conga, slapstick. If you don't have some of these instruments, you could make some substitutions. The characters that have sound effects appear in bold in the story to signal to the reader to pause to hear the sound effect.

Visual Aids Included!

The appendix of each book includes visuals for each character you can copy, color, and laminate to serve as visual aids during the lesson. I always glue mine onto cardstock and laminate them so they will last from year to year. I lay the visual on the carpet in front of each instrument group to remind them which character they are representing. I store them in ziploc bags and use a binder clip to keep them with the book.

Drama Integration!

The stories are short and simple and could very easily lead to dramatic performance in the classroom or for a public audience. Elaborate costumes and props are not needed, just an active imagination! I have never performed this for parents, but have often invited classroom teachers to come to a few minutes early to see a special performance. Unfortunately, I have never recorded any of these performances on video. If I ever record one, I will share it with you.

Substitute Teacher Plans!

The instructions are very simple. I have the "Chicken Little" story on stand-by as emergency sub plans. The substitute could very easily incorporate the percussion sound effects but would most likely omit the Orff melodies. I have recorded my voice singing each of the melodies so they can listen and play them for the students, since the sub most likely won't be able to read music. 

If you order one or both of these, I'm sure you'll be happy with your purchase!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the idea - these look good for the younger kids!