I see my students once a week for 50 minutes. Yes, even kindergarten! There have been some recent conversations on a Facebook Music Teacher board concerning lesson planning when you have kindergarteners for an extended time. This post will share a few of my tips when lesson planning for kindergarten.
I usually try to plan 3 different activities for my kindergarten classes in order to keep their attention and minimize discipline issues. I include a variety of activities in each day which could include a listening activity or book, singing, instruments, movement (locomotor or nonlocomotor), dramatic play, dancing, play party games, etc. Today, I'm going to share a few books that are written with a specific goal to introduce a musical concept. I may begin a lesson with a book or use it as a transition activity between songs or games.
The first books I purchased were the Buzz and Ollie books.
There are 3 books in this series. In Buzz and Ollie's Steady Beat Adventure, the kids travel to their grandparents' house and discover lots of environmental sounds that make a steady beat like windshield wipers, a clock, and a dripping faucet. In Buzz and Ollie's High, Low Adventure, the kids get lost in the forest and meet lots of animals giving them directions. But, they were told they should only follow the sounds that are low to find their way back home. The animals with high sounds are trying to trick them. In Buzz and Ollie's Loud, Soft Adventure, the kids hear quiet sounds like a baby bear snoring and then loud sounds like a bear roaring. The symbols for piano and forte also appear in the book.
I bought the hard cover books about six or seven years ago from westmusic.com for 14.95 each. Unfortunately, these books are currently out of print. However, you may find some used copies online for a variety of prices.
Another great book that is still in print is Luke & Lori's Musical Journey
. You can find it at westmusic.com for $19.95
This book is a collection of 4 short stories. They could be read all together or you could read each story by itself. Luke and Lori, the main characters in the book, introduce the basic elements of music as they take a musical journey and meet different people who teach them about long and short sounds, tempo, dynamics, and high and low sounds.
As I said before, I try to plan a variety of activities for kindergarten classes to prevent discipline issues. Even if I cannot plan a movement activity in my lesson, sometimes simply changing locations in the room can help keep the wiggles to a minimum. Most of the time, my students are sitting around the edge of my solid blue square carpet facing the boards. When I have a book to share with the students, they get to sit on my alphabet carpet and face the back of the room near my desk and keyboard. The rule is only one person per square and everyone must be sitting criss-cross applesauce on their bottom so everyone behind them can see. Below, you can see a picture of my carpets. (For a full tour of my classroom, check out this previous post
My students love these stories. I try to include one story every few weeks throughout the entire year. They would be great for a substitute teacher as well! Do you have any of these books? If so, share your ideas and opinions below!
Coda: An afterthought regarding the carpets. The solid blue rug and the alphabet carpet are actually touching because the older kids are too big for one carpet and must sit around the edges of both carpets